Our lives are tied to our cell phones. We manage appointments, store our photos, and hold all of our contact information in the palm of our hands. Tap or click here for the five best budget smartphones under $400.
With so much riding on having your phone handy, it’s only natural that we begin to panic if our phone goes AWOL. Thankfully, technology has caught up with this potential issue and created several easy solutions.
If you’ve found yourself without a phone and can’t remember where it went, take a deep breath. Here are some simple tricks to find a lost phone, even if it’s buried under laundry or stuck under the couch.
If you own an iPhone
iPhone’s and Android-based smartphones are pretty different, so the process for finding them isn’t quite the same. For Apple, Find my iPhone has been around for ages, though it’s received several updates throughout the years.
You own an Apple watch
The easiest way to locate your iPhone is by using the associated Apple Watch that your phone is paired with. If your watch is powered on, you’ll need to swipe up on the watch. Once your watch is open, tap on the phone icon that has sound waves.
This will force your iPhone to emit a noise even if it’s on silent. This means that if your iPhone is hidden in your toddler’s toy box, you’ll be able to find it anyways.
With the Find My iPhone app
You can download the Find My iPhone app if you own another Apple device, like an iPad or a Macbook. Then if your phone is lost, you can open up the app and tap on your phone to force it to make a loud noise, just like with your Apple Watch so that you can locate it anywhere.
If you don’t own an Apple Watch or another Apple device, you can use iCloud to locate your iPhone the same way you would on the Find My iPhone app. Here’s how:
- Log in to iCloud.
- Locate the Find iPhone feature.
- Once you’ve selected Find iPhone, you’ll need to sign in again to use the feature.
- Click on All Devices to locate the phone you are looking for.
- Select the phone you’ve lost and select Play Sound.
iCloud also offers the opportunity to locate your phone or device on a map, which is very helpful if your device has been stolen. The erase feature also protects you if your phone gets stolen, allowing you to erase it digitally, protecting your sensitive information.
For Android users
While Android doesn’t have the Find My iPhone app, all isn’t lost. You can still locate your Android phone if it’s gone missing.
Find My Device is automatically turned on when you add a Google account to any Android device, but for it to be effective, there are a few things you must do first:
- Be signed in to a Google Account.
- Be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi.
- Be visible on Google Play.
- Have Location turned on.
- Have Find My Device enabled.
The take-away here is to ensure you’ve completed all these steps when you get a new Android device to ensure you can find it if it ever gets lost.
Just like with Find My iPhone, you can locate your Android phone using a few different methods. Here are some options:
From a web browser
If you’ve lost your phone, you can head to android.com/find to locate your device:
- Sign in to your Google Account.
- Click on the lost phone icon at the top of the screen.
- Your phone will get a notification.
- You’ll be able to see on a map approximately where your phone is located.
- Choose Play Sound to cause your phone to ring at max volume for five minutes so you can find it.
With the Find My Device app
If you have a second Android device, you can download the Google Find My Device app and use it to locate your missing device.
- Download the Find My Device app and open it.
- Choose Continue on your profile.
- Follow the same steps as listed above from your web browser.
Using a Wear OS Watch
Like an Apple Watch, you can use your Wear OS Watch for Android to locate your phone in certain circumstances. To use your watch, your phone must be powered on and connected to your watch by Bluetooth:
- If you can’t see your screen, wake up the watch.
- To see your list of apps, press the Power button.
- Tap Find my phone.
- Your phone will ring to notify you of it’s location.
My phone is dead, what can I do?
All the above tips are beneficial if your phone is powered on. But what if your phone has died and is at the bottom of a laundry abyss somewhere? There are still a few options you can use to locate your phone, even if the battery has died.
On iPhone, if you use Find My iPhone and your phone isn’t on, you’ll get your phone’s last known location. With Android, you can use the timeline feature on Google Maps to track your device’s last know location. You can also use location history on Google Maps.
Want an easier method? To track your device no matter the circumstances, consider investing in a third-party tracking device such as Tile or Apple AirTags.
Tile currently has a credit card-sized tracker that you can easily slide behind your phone within the case, making it locatable whether it’s on or off.
While Apple AirTags is newer and a bit clunkier, you could attach it to the backside of your phone case, allowing you to track it just like you would with Tile. Interested in learning more? Tap or click here to learn more about Apple AirTags and Tile trackers.