Having a missing smartphone or tablet is the worst. Not only are they expensive, they likely have a lot of your personal information on them. It's enough to make you sick to your stomach.
But now, thanks to apps like Find My iPhone (and Android Device Manager for Android gadgets), you can easily locate your lost or stolen device.
These apps come pre-installed on your smartphones and tablets and can help you locate your missing gadgets, assuming they are still powered on. Here's how they work.
Find My iPhone
With Find My iPhone, you can remotely make the phone or tablet play sounds for a full two minutes if you think it is nearby, even if it's on silent mode. If your view is less optimistic, you can find your phone using its GPS coordinates.
The app includes Lost Mode, which locks your phone and displays a number to contact or custom message on the lock screen. Lost Mode will also keep track of your phone's location history.
Now you'll know exactly where you lost it or track the thief who took it.
Additionally, the app lets you wipe your device remotely. It might be too late to recover the gadget, but at least you can delete your sensitive data.
It was last updated for iOS 8, when Apple installed a new feature called "Send Last Location" that can help you recover your missing phone or tablet - even if the battery dies. You can also remotely see how much battery life is left.
To get started with this app, first you'll need to set it up properly on your device.
If you have a newer phone model, the app should already be installed. But you'll want to check to make sure that it's on and running.
To do this, take the following steps:
- On your device's Home screen, tap Settings, then tap iCloud. (You may be asked to log in to your account.)
- If Find My iPhone (or Find my iPad) is turned off, tap to turn it on.
If you'd like additional security, create a passcode that needs to be entered before anyone can access the app. To do this, go to Settings>>Passcode or TouchID & Passcode.
Once the setup is complete, you can use the app to locate lost devices.
Under Find My iPhone's settings, there will be an option to turn "Send Last Location" on. Once the feature is turned on, it will send the last location of the phone.
This is critical if someone turns off the phone or if your battery dies. Finding out where the phone was right before the battery died could provide some essential clues to help you get the phone back.
If you don't have access to a device with the app, you can also log in to your iCloud.com profile, then click on the Find my iPhone app to track lost devices remotely.
Note: Find My iPhone must be enabled in iCloud settings to work properly.
This app isn't just limited to phones; you can also put it on the iPad, iPod touch and your Mac. Find My iPhone can locate these devices if they're connected to Wi-Fi, and the Mac is awake.
Worried about losing an Android phone? Try this app. It does the same thing Find My iPhone does, except for an Android device.