We’ve all been there. You go searching in your purse to find your phone, only to find it’s not there. After the moment of panic, then the step-by-step retracing of your day, the realization that you had it when you left the house, and then the resurgence of panic when realize you have no idea where it is, take a deep breath and follow these six steps to do your best to get your phone back and make sure your data stays safe if you can’t. If your phone is safe and sound in your handbag, bookmark this post for the day you need it, and see just how iPhone savvy you really are.
1. Call or Text Your Phone: You might find a good samaritan has come across it and is just waiting for your call. Try to call from a number that’s saved in your phone, that way whoever found it will see that it’s someone you know who’s calling, and they’ll be more likely to answer. If no one answers, send a text message to your phone with information on how to reach you and return your phone. That way it will display in the lock screen and make it easy to get your device back. (You can learn how to make the case shown above here.)
2. Change Your Passwords: On the off chance that you don’t have your phone password protected or that whoever has your phone is competent enough to hack into it, update any passwords that are automatically logged in on your phone and might contain sensitive information—think e-mail, banking apps, iTunes, and passwords to apps like Evernote where you might have stored private info. And let’s be honest, you’re probably overdue to change your passwords anyway, so it’s a good step to take even if you find your phone in the sofa cushions later.
3. Use a “Find Your Phone” App: If your phone is on and has enough service, track it down with one of the phone-finding apps. Hopefully you’ll learn that the phone is just at home, or at your boyfriend or best friend’s house. In fact, if you phone is within reach, go download and activate them on your phone right now. It will help you later, we promise. Here are the links to download: iPhone, Android, and Windows Phone.
4. Contact Your Carrier: The safest way to make sure no one gets a hold of your information and accounts is to go through your service provider and have them turn off the phone remotely. Be sure to ask them if they can just turn the phone off and not completely wipe all of your data. You don’t want to lose all your photos and contacts that you’ve saved on your device. If you think there’s a good chance you’ve just misplaced your phone and will be able to recover it, hold off on this step. But when it comes time to clear your phone, here’s how to report your phone missing at several of the major carriers: AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon.
5. Update Your Findables Profile: We told you about Findables last week; it’s an smartphone case with a QR code on the back that redirects to either a social profile or a profile that will show the person who found your phone how to get in touch. If your phone is M.I.A. log in to the Findables website and make your “lost phone profile” the one that’s front and center.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Accounts: Pay extra close attention to your bank accounts and your social accounts if you lose your phone. If you notice anything fishy, it’s time to get in touch with your cellphone carrier and have your phone wiped clean or locked.
Have you ever lost your phone? Tell us what you did and what you wish you’d done in the comments!