Kim Barloso

How to find a stolen (lost) phone


Loss of your Android phone/tablet is a solvable problem. If you have lost sight of your device, forgot it in another city or country or had your gadget stolen - try to find it. Android all versions above 4.4 has a special tool for this. We show you how to find your lost phone using the built-in features of the mobile OS.

Content :

  1. Remote phone management
  2. How to find your phone via Google Find my Device
    1. Stolen phone - first actions
    2. Call lost phone
    3. Remote lock via computer
    4. Remove sensitive information
    5. How to find your device after reset
  3. Other tracking software
  4. Protect against theft: Android's built-in features
  5. How to answer readers' questions

All Android's built-in "anti-theft" features

You can call your mobile device even if it has a different sim or the sound is set to minimum. Available remote management options also include:

  • Pulsory screen lock,
  • Sending a message to a lost phone,
  • Forced deletion of all the information.

This does not guarantee that you will find the lost data or protect it from leaking private data but the minimum chances should not be neglected. The instructions below are given for "pure" operating systems, however most of the described features are available in custom firmware as well.

How to configure remote management in Android

Tablets with phones normally show up on Google Maps by default. If you lost your phone in the street, for example, you can calculate the coordinates through the settings: item "Android Remote Control". In addition to this, you can lock your device remotely. This way an intruder or a thief will not have access to sensitive data.

Note . It is required that the lost gadget has enabled Internet and a Google Account. Without the account password you will not be able to access your mobile device. Enabling the location is desirable, but even without it you can determine where the gadget was recently.

The remote control option should be enabled by default. If not, please activate it as follows:

Android 5 > :

Settings - Security - Administration - Remote Management.

Android 4.4 :

  1. Find the "Security" (sometimes called "Protection") section.
  2. Go to "Device Administrators", check the "Device Manager" checkbox.
  3. Enable remote wipe, change graphical password, lock the screen.
  4. Click "Enable".

If you have already lost the phone, you cannot check if the remote management is enabled: you may only do this by directly starting the search.

Applications for remote management of Android

How to track your lost phone using the Google Find my Device

To find or manage your device you should open the official page of the service at the link. Log in to your account, select from the drop-down menu the type of device, indicate the task to be solved.

Find a device that was stolen or lost

Location (list of last visited places) see the map on the right side of the screen.

It is identified by cellular, wireless networks, GPS. This method works even if the intruder (or the person who found your phone) has changed the SIM. Usually the search is performed accurately but sometimes the system writes that it has failed to find the phone. Important requirements are a network connection and a valid account. If the account was deleted, again it is possible to find the device, but more difficult to do (how will be discussed later).

Remote phone call

Click "Call" and listen - it is useful if you lost the device at home and do not have a card, or just do not have someone to ask to dial you. This option assumes a call at full volume, even if the silent mode is activated.

Remote Lock

If the smartphone is connected to the Internet, you can lock it remotely and/or display a message. The text of the message is standard or customized and usually contains a request to return the lost item to the owner.

Removal of private information

Losing a phone is half the trouble. In some cases, the contents of the device are of special value. These are passwords, bank account details, photos, etc. An intruder may have direct access to all these.

Select the option "Erase Information" in the phone's user account - the settings will be reset to factory settings and all photos, videos, downloads, browser browsing history will be erased. Internal memory is completely erased, but sd-card (if present) is not always erased, it depends on the device model.

How to track a lost phone, zeroed through hard reset

No need to panic - in this case the case can help too, but it will require a different scheme. To begin with:

  1. Go to your Google account.
  2. Check your location history on Google Maps.

If the internet was connected before resetting or deleting your account, you will understand where the stolen/lost gadget traveled. The question is how much help this will be.

Further action:

1. Open the link // through your Google account.

2. In your profile menu with maps and select "Chronology".

3. Specify the day of disappearance (if you don't remember, check different dates).

4. Look at the row with the columns - they correspond to the saved and fixed locations by day. To find the last recorded location, click on the blue column closest to the current day.

If you have the factory box with the code and the personal data, you may ask for help to the law enforcement authorities. The quality of police work is a different matter, often the applications are not accepted at all, but some users have successfully returned the gadgets this way. Sites for search by IMEI usually do not work correctly.

How to find a phone by IMEI

Other software to search for a lost phone

In addition to the standard tools and Google Maps, it is possible to search for a lost device using special antivirus software applications. The Anti-Theft module is built into Kaspersky and Avast. This module is disabled in the basic versions but can be activated in literally one minute including after a lost gadget.

How to use Anti-Virus:

1. Open, log in with your credentials,

2. Under "Devices" select the phone to track.

Lock and control functions are available remotely. If the attacker hasn't uninstalled the antivirus, you can take a photo from the stolen phone's camera.

3. Log in to to find out the current location of your device.

4. Select the device and click the "Find" button: The antivirus will plot a route of the device's movements.

5. On the stolen device you can erase the data, display a message on the locked screen, activate the alarm.

Note . It is possible to download separate applications to control the location of the gadget - there are quite a few of them. But be careful - giving the program full access to your device data is not always possible. Please be guided by the Google Play rating and user reviews.

Family Locator - mobile device tracking for the whole family

Family Locator by Life360 is a GPS based phone tracker. Based on its name, the app will be especially useful for a family with multiple gadgets. Family members become a "Circle" and agree to track phones in real time. The members of the "circle" will be displayed on a map, in the app, as little icons. This way, you can see in real time where everyone is at any given moment.

Download Family Locator

Prey Anti Theft - three in one

The Prey Anti Theft application is impressive in that you can protect three different devices with one application. You will have the possibility to:

  • alarm your missing phone,
  • receive screen shots if the device is used by others,
  • lock your android device at any time.

How to use your Prey account to track your phone. The app itself is free and requires no additional purchases to access the features.

Download Prey Anti Theft

Lost Android - Remote Phone Connection

Lost Android will allow you to remotely connect to your missing phone through the app website. From here you will be able to:

  • wipe sensitive information if you are afraid that your phone will not be returned to the owner,
  • send messages to your phone in hope that someone will find and return it,
  • forward any missed calls to another number and keep a log of calls made, messages or photos taken by your phone.

Download Lost Android

Frequently asked questions

I lost my phone. When I got it back, I realized that they tried to reset it, but could not, as the Google Account got in the way. How do I sign in to my phone since I do not remember my password or my username?

First, restore the Google Account using the backup email or phone number. Then connect the account on your phone (you may reset it with the lost data or use the existing account).

I would like to recover the phone number that I lost a year ago. The period from 10 to 18 August last year.

Contact your Mobile Operator to obtain the old number. It should be taken into account that this number may be assigned to a new subscriber and therefore cannot be recovered. The second way is to find the phone and the sim card. See the article on the topic.

I have lost my phone. Bought a new one. Restored my account, but my video and photos are not in it.

The Google account does not store photos and videos. However, if you have synced your phone with Google Photos, Samsung Cloud, or other cloud service, the camera media may be stored there.

Two days ago I lost my phone. Help me locate it, at least approximately.

Use the Google Find my Device service. Your mobile device should be in a GPS / wifi / mobile network coverage area. You will then be able to call the phone, delete data on it or get approximate coordinates.

I had my phone sony xperia z5 compact stolen. It looks like it has been formatted and Google account deleted from it. Do I have any chance to find my lost phone?

The chance is zero if the phone is not linked to your Google Account. You should contact the police for assistance in locating the device.


“Hello. My name is Kim. I discovered that technology, when used with a purpose, can be pretty amazing. To share the wonder of tech, I’ve written for blogs like and With over three years of freelance writing experience in the technology and entertainment niche, I can write a storm about a software app, a cool browser extension, a new mobile device and other geek-centric stuf... “

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Kim Barloso