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These lock screen protections don't prevent you from remotely erasing your handset from afar though, so you can still wipe your phone using Find My Device or Find My iPhone without actually having access to it. Regardless of whether you wipe your handset, you should prepare for the possibility that you'll never see your smartphone again. That means you need to back up your data somewhere else. Thankfully, your apps and your phone's OS can take care of most of this for you: Install Instagram on a new phone, for example, sign in, and your account is right there where you left it.

To backup other data, like system settings and app data, turn to your phone's default backup system. On iOS, go to Settings then tap your name, then your device, then iCloud Backup if you've enabled iCloud on your device, which you should.

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You can augment these backup solutions if you need to; most apps will store files automatically in the cloud for you, but think particularly about photos and videos you take on your phone. Apps such as Dropbox and OneDrive can automatically upload these for you, or you can use the Google Photos or iCloud Photos options that come with your phone. Keeping photos and videos in the cloud.

You can always take out phone insurance of course, if you think it's worth it. Most insurance companies will cover you for loss, theft, and accidental damage for a relatively low monthly fee, which will vary depending on the cost of your phone. To help increase the chances of getting your phone back, you can leave a message on the lock screen, maybe including your email address or alternative phone number. If you use two-factor authentication to get into your key accounts, you might well use an app on your phone , or a code sent via SMS, to provide your identify.

Without your phone, that will be more tricky, so make sure you've set up alternative access options ahead of time. In the case of Google accounts, for instance, you can get a list of backup codes to use if your main two-factor method is compromised, or set up a secondary number.

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Those steps should go a long way to making things easier on you if and when you do somehow lose your smartphone. But there are some things you can still do even after it's gone. If your phone goes missing or gets stolen, your carrier should be your first call though you'll have to borrow someone else's phone, obviously. The network operator can make sure no one is running up a bill using your texts or call credits, or tried to impersonate you using your mobile number. They can lock your SIM card , and you'll get another. If the phone was pinched, log the incident with the local police.


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The chances of getting your handset might be slim, but they'll be even slimmer if the cops don't know that you're missing a phone. And if it does turn up, the police will be able to return it to you. Those of you who've taken out phone insurance will probably need a crime number to make a claim too, which is another reason to register the theft. And if you have taken out insurance on your phone, you will of course want to get in touch with the insurance firm as soon as possible too.

As mentioned above, you can use Find My Device or Find My iPhone to see where your phone is and remotely disable it if needed. Whether you're using the Android or iOS tool, the options are broadly the same. If you have another Android or iOS device, you can use that to track down your missing device; if not, head to the web and track from there. Again: Don't confront the criminal if your phone's been stolen. You'll see you have options to make the phone ring, if it's lost somewhere in the house.

You can also remotely lock the screen, if you think it might have been unlocked when you left it, or remotely erase the device. That's the safest option; just make sure you've got backups in place. Even if you think your phone is well protected against unauthorized access, it's worth checking your various apps and accounts on a laptop or another phone to make sure no one is accessing them who shouldn't be.

If you use Google Pay for mobile payments, locking your phone will prevent anyone from using your phone to make a purchase. If you use the Erase Device feature, you will no longer be able to track the phone once it's erased.


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Reserve this feature as a last resort. Should the thief turn off your phone, you won't be able to track it until it's turned back on and has a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Google will send you an email once it locates your device. Samsung Galaxy owners have the benefit of using Google's or Samsung's respective services to locate a lost device, but I recommend using Samsung's offering. As you'll see below, the added capabilities are invaluable. To track a lost device with Samsung's service, you need to visit findmymobile. There isn't a companion app, so you'll need to use a mobile browser on another phone or a computer.

Sign in with your Samsung account, then select your lost device on the left side of the screen. A map will display where your phone is currently located, and a menu of options will show up on the right side of the screen. Start by locking the phone, which will display a personalized message on the lock screen, suspend your Samsung Pay cards, and prevent the phone from being powered off.

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Next, create a backup of your phone. Should you lose it for good, you'll want to have a current backup of your phone. If the phone is moving locations, use the Track location feature. Enabling this feature will track your phone every 15 minutes.

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Finally, turn on the Extend battery life feature -- this will disable almost everything on the phone, outside of the location tracking. If your phone has been stolen and you're able to track its location, do not attempt to recover it yourself. Doing so could lead to you or someone else getting hurt, and despite the importance of a phone, it's simply not worth it.

Instead, contact local law enforcement and let them know you need help recovering a lost or stolen phone that you've been able to track to a specific address. Contact your carrier to file an insurance claim as soon as you realize you aren't getting your phone back. If it becomes clear that you're never going to get your phone back, contact your carrier and report your phone as lost or stolen. Doing this will blacklist the phone from the carrier's database, preventing another person from using it. When you call, your carrier will want to suspend your service as well. This is a good idea if you want to prevent someone from using your phone.

Finally, if you pay for insurance on your phone, you'll need to file a claim and pay the deductible to get your replacement phone. Get the insurance claim process started through your carrier, who will then likely refer you to the third-party insurance company who will replace your phone. Good luck! We hope you never have to go through the emotional roller coaster of losing a phone, tracking it down, and trying to get it back.

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Don't show this again. Here's how to get it back Losing a phone is a horrible experience, but it doesn't have to be. By Jason Cipriani. Now playing: Watch this: How to find your lost Android phone.

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