If you've ever found yourself tapping your pockets or rooting through your bag in search of your phone, this is the guide for you. There are plenty of ways you can track your phone, and a lot of things you can do to prepare for if it does happen. We've got them all covered here.
Your phone can use GPS, Wi-Fi and your mobile network to give you its location, meaning you can track it if it gets lost. Using software to track your phone is pretty easy, but you've got to set it up before you lose your phone. Once it's lost, there's nothing you can do.
You might already have set up two of the options using a Google account. If you have, just check the ‘find my mobile’ and 'location' options are turned on. There are lots of apps you can download that do tracking too, and we’ve listed a few good ones here.
If you lose your phone a lot, it might also be worth getting a dedicated hardware tracker. These are small bits of kit that you can attach to your phone or keys to help you keep track of them.
The first thing to try is Samsung’s ‘Find My Mobile’ service. It lets you track your phone from a computer so you can see where it is, and hopefully get it back. If it can’t find the phone, you can wipe it so that if anybody else picks it up, they won’t be able to see any of your private info.
From the Home screen, open Settings.
Tap on Lock screen and security.
Scroll down and tap Find My Mobile.
If you’re not signed in, tap Add account. If you are signed in, skip to step 8.
If you have a Samsung account, type it in and tap Sign in. If you don’t have one, tap Create account, and fill in the required info.
When you’re signed in, you’ll have to agree to the ‘Terms and Conditions’ for the account. Tap I agree to all to tick all the boxes, then tap Agree.
You can add a picture if you like, then tap Done
Make sure the switches for 'Remote controls' and 'Google location service' are turned on. To improve the chances of finding it, turn on 'Send last location', which will keep the phone’s last location saved online.
Once everything is turned on, you’ll be able to use the Find My Mobile website to track and locate your phone.
Put in your details, and press Sign in.
You might need to click Continue to agree to the new terms and conditions, then click Agree.
You’ll get shown a map, and the site will try to find your phone.
Once you’ve got the location of your phone, if it’s close by, you can click Ring My Device, and your phone will start making a sound you can follow to find it. If it can't be found, you can click Wipe My Device to make sure all your personal data is kept safe.
You can use 'Find My Device' to track your phone, make it ring, or wipe your data off it to keep it safe. If you know your account is already set up, you can skip down to how to use it.
From the Home screen, open Settings.
Scroll down and tap Cloud and accounts.
Tap Accounts, then Add account. If you’re already signed into a Google account, skip to step 9 to check your ‘location’ settings.
Type in your Gmail account and tap Next. Or if you don’t have one, tap Or create a new account and fill in the details for it.
If you’re signing in, type in the password and press Next.
Tap the arrow, then tap Next to keep all the services turned on.
When it’s added, tap the back button twice to go back to the main Settings page.
Scroll back up and tap Connections at the top.
Tap on Location, and make sure it’s turned on.
Sign in with your Google account.
You’ll get shown a map, and the site will try to find your phone.
Once you’ve got the location of your phone, if it’s close by, you can click Play sound, and your phone will start making a noise you can follow to find it.
There are plenty of different apps you can download that can help find your phone if you lose it. Most come as part of a security or antivirus app, and we’ve picked a few of the best:
As well as offering antivirus features, McAfee Mobile Security has a built-in tracker that you can use to find your phone if it ever gets lost. Once you’ve got the McAfee app installed, you just need to make sure ‘Theft Protection' is turned on in the app.
Open McAfee Mobile Security on your phone.
Tap Find Device, then tap Theft Protection.
Tap Activate, then on the next screen tap Activate again
You’ll see a screen confirming it’s on - tap Finish
Log in with your email address and password.
Click Locate and it’ll find your phone on a map.
When it's found, click the Lock or CaptureCam buttons to lock the phone and take a picture of whoever might have found it.
Lookout is a popular antivirus app used to track and locate your phone. The free version lets you use the ‘theft protection’, and it’s automatically turned on when you download and set up the app, so you don’t need to do anything more on your phone. Once the app is installed on your phone, go through these Setup steps:
Open Lookout from your Home screen.
Tap the right-arrow a few times to go through the intro, then tap Next.
Tap Continue to allow Lookout to use some bits of your phone.
Tap Allow on the pop-ups.
You need an account to use the tracking. Type in your email address and a password to set up an account, then tap Sign up. If you’ve already got an account, tap Sign in.
You don’t need the premium version for tracking, so tap Skip at the bottom.
Tap Turn on security to start the app working.
Click Locate, and you'll be shown your phone's location on a map.
Like the other services, you can make your phone make a noise by clicking the Scream button, as well as wipe your phone’s data to keep it safe.
Another popular app, Cerberus, isn't an antivirus app like the others, but simply a tracking app. So if you want the option to find your phone, but without all the other stuff, this one would be best. To get started, you just need to download the app onto your phone and open it. It can link up with your Android Wear watch, and give you an alert on your watch if it loses connection to your phone. You can also send ‘text commands’, which are text messages containing special actions for your phone, like remotely locking or wiping it. That can come in handy if your phone is lost and doesn’t have an internet connection. Once the app is installed on your phone, go through these Setup steps:
Open Cerberus from your Home screen.
Tap Grant permissions.
Tap Allow a few times to let Cerberus use some bits of your phone.
If you’ve got a Cerberus account, tap Login to Cerberus and fill in your details. If you haven’t, tap Create Cerberus account.
Fill out your account details if you’re making a new one, and tap Create account
You’ll also have to scroll through the Terms and Conditions, and tap Create account once more at the bottom.
Swipe through the introduction pages.
On the third page, tap Enable device admin.
Tap Activate to let Cerberus access some extra bits on the phone.
Click Login in the top-right and sign in using your username and password for your Cerberus account.
The website will start to locate your phone and show it on a map.
Once it’s found, you can use the menu on the left-hand side to choose from some different options, like locking or wiping the phone.
Instead of using apps or accounts, you can use hardware trackers to keep an eye on where your phone is. These little bits of kit can work in two ways: either pressing a button on them to make your phone chime, or by attaching it to your phone and tracking it on a map.
Because they use ‘crowd-sourced’ location rather than traditional GPS, the battery in them can last for a year or more. The way they work is by sending out a very small signal, and whenever one tracker passes by another, anywhere in the world, its location is saved so you can find it on a map.
Now you know how to track your phone, go through these extra tips which will help prevent it getting lost.
You should always put a passcode on your phone to keep your data on it safe - that'll stop anyone from being able to get to your pictures or other personal info if they were to get hold of your phone. You can also set up extra bits like the Fingerprint Scanner, Iris Scanner or Face Recognition.
You can set all these up by going to Settings > Lock screen and security and just tapping the one you want to use.
The IMEI of your phone is unique code that can be used to identify it. If it is lost or stolen you'll normally need to give this code to the police to file a report, as well as your network and insurance companies. The IMEI can help to track the phone if it is handed in, and your network can use it to block it, so that noone can make any calls or use up your data on it.
You can find your IMEI by opening your phone dialler, dialling in *#06# and your IMEI will pop up on screen.
You should try and backup your phone regularly, so that if it does get lost or you have to wipe it, then you won't lose all your pictures, settings and other data. There's a few different ways you can back up your phone, such as Samsung's Smart Switch software which can back it up to a computer, or using the built in backup on your Galaxy S8.
You can check if it's turned on by going to Settings > Cloud and accounts > Backup and restore.
If your phone is lost while it's on silent mode, then you won't be able to call it and listen out for the ringtone. Instead of using silent mode, you can use the phone's 'Do not disturb' feature, which you can schedule to keep the phone silent some times (like during the day at work), and switch it back to loud mode at other times. You can also add 'exception' contacts, and when one of these numbers rings you, the phone will ring, even if Do not disturb is turned on.
To set it up, go to Settings > Sounds and vibration > Do not disturb.
Putting some contact info on your lock screen, such as a phone number or email address, can be a good way to provide someone who might find your phone a way of contacting you to get it back. You can even leave a little message like 'if found, please contact me' which will hopefully encourage them to get in touch.
You can add the info by going to Settings > Lock Screen and Security > Information and FaceWidgets > Contact information.
Although older batteries might have suffered from 'overcharging', modern batteries perform best when kept topped up. Keeping the battery charged will also mean that if it ever does get lost, then the battery might last long enough for you to track it or call it. You can turn on your phone's battery saving features to make it last longer.
You can turn on the Power saving mode by going to Settings > Device maintenance > Battery and choosing one of the power saving modes.
Hopefully, with all these tips and bits of info, you should be able to keep track of phone, and keep it safe. If you'd like any other info or want to get in touch with our experts from Team Knowhow, you can do it here.
If you've got an issue with any of your kit, our experts are on-call to help 24/7 - in-store, at home, or over the phone.More info
When your kit's fully broken, you need it fixed fast. Our accredited experts will get you back up and running in no time.More info