Published: 2023-02-06

How to find a lost device?

Although smart devices are brought along almost everywhere in everyday life, there are situations when they are accidentally left somewhere or in the worst-case scenario – someone manages to steal them. A lost phone definitely can cause a severe headache, so to make you feel more at ease, here’s some advice on what you should do in cases when a phone is lost and what could help you to find it. 

Which devices are lost most frequently?

The most frequently lost devices are smartphones, nonetheless, tablets, smartwatches and wireless headphones are devices that are lost frequently as well. Most often smartphones are lost by children, and as tracing their steps can be more difficult, applications that can track the device location can be helpful. However, in order to use these apps, the phone must be turned on (the battery cannot be empty). 

What should be done if a phone or another device is lost?

An application that can help in cases when a phone is lost or stolen is Find My Device. The application allows you to see the location of the lost device, play a sound from this device (even in cases when the sound has been switched off) and erase data from it so that the finder of the device does not have access to it. 


How to find your missing Android device? On Android devices, Find My Device feature is automatically enabled if you have signed into a Google account. To find and lock the phone or erase all the data, the device needs to be turned on, have connection to mobile or Wi-Fi network, have Location services turned on and is signed into a Google account. 

Sign into your Google account on Android website, choose your lost device and you will be able to view a map with an approximate location of your device at the moment or its last known location (in cases when the application is not able to find your device). Depending on the situation you can: 

  • Play a sound. This means that the lost device will play the set ringtone at full volume for 5 minutes. If the device has been lost somewhere at home, it will make the process of finding it much faster and easier. 

  • Protect your device by locking it with a PIN code, password, or a pattern (it is possible to set a password in cases when it has not been previously set). Additionally, Android offers a possibility to add a message or a phone number to the lock screen, so that the finder of the device can get in touch with you. 

  • Erase data. This action will be permanent, and it will not be possible to recover any data from the device (unless it has been stored on another platform). After all data has been erased, your Google account password will most likely be necessary to use the device. 


How to find your lost iOS device? If you have lost an Apple device, use application Find My. You can search for your lost phone from another Apple device, which has the latest iOS version and is signed into with the same Apple ID. You can also search for a lost device through Find My application from a family member’s phone if you are connected through Family Sharing, or through iCloud website.   

Each lost iOS device has slightly differing features that allows you to find it. For all of them it is possible to view the location and for most of the devices it is possible to play a sound. Unlike Android devices, to find a device it does not need to be connected to mobile or Wi-Fi network. The device just needs to be turned on (the battery cannot be empty) and the application Find My needs to be switched on. 

  • Similarly, to Android it is also possible to protect your device and contact its finder. In such case it is necessary to enable Lost Mode (mark that the device has been lost). The device will be locked with a password, and it is possible to enter a message, which will be displayed on lock screen, to inform the finder of the device on how it can be returned. 

  • It is also possible to erase data from your device. Find your device in Find My application and choose Erase This Device. In such case all the data from the device will be erased. If data has been erased from a device with iOS15, iPadOS15 or a newer iOS version it still will be possible to use Find My application to play a sound from the device. 

Is Find My Device always useful?

As mentioned previously, Find My Device application can only be used on both Android and iOS devices if the device is turned on. If a phone is lost and you are not able to find it by yourself (it is turned off) it is possible to turn to your telecommunications provider who will block the IMEI code of the device. This means that no one else will be able to use your device and only you will be able to unlock it. To block an IMEI code you need to visit your telecommunications provider’s customer centre, it will be necessary to bring along identity confirming documents and the phone’s purchase documents (receipt, invoice) where device’s IMEI code is indicated. It will be possible to block the device only after showing a valid device purchase document.