What to Do Before (and After) Your Phone Is Stolen

A gloved hand stealing a phone in a purse.vchal / Shutterstock

Millions of phones are stolen every yearand it is possible that yours is one of them. But it's not necessary, you can make your phone the test of theft! We will show you how and what to do if your phone is stolen.

Enable remote tracking

Remote tracking (called Find My Device on Android and Find My iPhone on iOS) lets you track the location of a phone and erase its data remotely. This means that you can find your phone if it is missing or erasing its data if it is stolen.

If you're using an Android phone, go to 'Settings', open the Google option, scroll to 'Security' and activate 'Find My Device'. You can then follow your phone or erase its data from Find your phone Web page.

If you're using an iPhone, go to Settings, tap your Apple ID (your name), open the iCloud settings, and turn on Find My iPhone. You can now track or erase your phone from iCloud website.

Use a strong password

A complicated lock screen password can be a neck pain, but that's the best way to prevent thieves from digging around your phone. Try to set a strong password on all your devices. Ideally, a password should contain capital letters, numbers, and symbols. (You can use the Is my password secure? a tool to make sure you're using an undecipherable password.)

A hand typing an authentication code into a phone.oatawa / Shutterstock

If you do not want to type a complicated password every time you use your phone, turn on biometric authentication. The facial identity and digitization of the iris or fingerprints are excellent secure options.

Make private notifications

If thieves reading text messages and notifications on your lock screen are of concern to you, you can hide the contents of these notifications on this screen.

On a Android device, go to "Settings", open "Sound and Notifications", look for the "When the device is locked" option, and set it to "Hide sensitive notifications content". If you press "Do not show notifications at all", you will not see notifications even when your phone is unlocked (not necessarily a bad thing).

Sure an iPhone, go to "Settings", open the "Notifications" menu and press the "Show previews" option. From there, you can hide the notification previews on the lock screen or get rid of them completely.

If you have an iPhone with Face ID, it hides notifications from your lock screen until you unlock your phone by default. This prevents a thief from seeing notifications containing security codes without unlocking your phone.

Enable cloud synchronization

If you care about the data on your phone, you need to enable cloud sync. Trust us – erasing your phone remotely is a lot less scary when you know that all your photos and contacts are saved on the cloud.

A hand holding a phone at the exit of the clouds, symbolizing the files being saved on the cloud.NiglayNik / Shutterstock

For Android phones, go to "Settings," "Accounts and Backup" and enable "Back up my data." Your contacts, login details and settings are saved. Then download an app like Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Photos or Amazon Photos to save your documents, images and videos. The phone settings and contacts are automatically synchronized with a new phone. You can access your photos and videos from the chosen cloud solution.

For iPhones, go to "Settings", tap your Apple ID (your name), open "iCloud Settings", open "iCloud Backup" and enable "iCloud Backup". When you receive a new iPhone, the setup process asks if you want to restore settings, contacts, photos, and videos from iCloud.

Consider a carrier insurance

Unlike most extended warranties, the carrier's insurance is usually worth a few hundred dollars. Carrier insurance covers accidents, broken screens, dead batteries and, of course, lost or stolen phones. However, you usually have to pay a deductible or finish paying your original phone for a replacement.

If you want insurance from your operator (it is not a necessity, it is good to lose or break a phone), contact your operator. Or, go to Verizon, Sprint, or AT & T websites. If you own an iPhone, consider AppleCare registration + (which now covers iPhone stolen).

What to do if your phone is lost or stolen

Now that your phone has a secure password, is synchronized with the cloud and is accessible via remote tracking, you will not have to worry if it's stolen.

A man in a ski mask speaks on a phone.Kryuchka Yaroslav / Shutterstock

Nevertheless, here are some additional steps you can take to prevent a thief from accessing your files, contacts, photos, and private accounts:

Follow your phone: Go to Find my phone or iCloud Web page to locate your phone. If it's nearby or in a local business, see if you can find it.
If it's stolen, wipe it off: There is no point in fighting a gang of bad guys just to get your phone back. If you suspect that it has been stolen, erase the data.
Tell your carrier that he is stolenAfter cleaning your phone, contact your operator to report the theft. You can search for the phone number of your operator or report it online at the address My verizon or My sprint (you have to call AT & T-Sorry!). This way, your SIM card is locked and can not be used on another device. In addition, you can subscribe to the carrier insurance you have.
Check your accounts: Even if two-factor authentication is enabled, it's a good idea to check that no one has accessed your accounts. You can also change your passwords (especially for bank accounts and email accounts) just in case.
Call the cops (maybe)If you are 100% sure that your phone has been stolen (as if you had seen it), go ahead and report it to the police. There is a big black market for stolen phones, and the thief could frequent the area with the intention of stealing phones. Be aware that you will probably not get your phone back, even if the thief is caught.

If you're lucky, you'll never lose a phone, but you'll have a chance to do it. Although the steps above may seem to take a little while, they are not really tedious. And it's worth protecting your privacy and your safety.

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