What to do if your smartphone is stolen

The high rate of crime in South Africa means that many local tech enthusiasts face the possibility of their smartphone being stolen.

The increasing price of premium devices, and our reliance on them, means it can be a painful loss to part with a smartphone.

For this reason, you should take out insurance on your device – and ensure that your smartphone has a security lock in place to protect your personal information from being compromised.

This will also prevent access to your account settings and allow you to potentially track the device.

If your smartphone is ever stolen or misplaced, below are steps you can follow to recover and protect the device.


iPhone

Apple’s Find My iPhone feature has proved invaluable for lost devices and police investigations, and can be used to track down your smartphone.

iPhone owners can log into iCloud.com to immediately place their device in Lost Mode.

Lost Mode locks your iOS device and prevents others from accessing your personal information, while also tracking the location of the device and uploading the GPS data to the iCloud portal.

From this interface, you can track the live or last known location of your smartphone as well implement a number of functions.

You can remotely erase the device, display a message on the lock screen, and play sounds.

When filing a report with authorities regarding the theft of your iPhone, it may be beneficial to mention that the Find My iPhone feature is activated, as it could aid in the investigation.

iPhone 8


Android

Despite the variety of Android smartphones on the market which run their own OS skins, the systems are underpinned by a Google Account.

This allows Google to offer “Find My Device” services through a dedicated online portal.

In the event your Android smartphone is stolen, you should log in to your Google account and access this interface.

From the Find My Device page, you can see the last known location of your smartphone and take a number of actions.

You can choose to erase all content from the device, lock the smartphone and sign out of your Google account remotely, or play a sound for five minutes.

It is important to note that locking your device remotely will still allow you to track its location, while erasing all content will not.

Many smartphone manufacturers also include their own security features.

For example, Samsung offers a Find My Mobile page similar to Google’s, which runs off the user’s Samsung account.

From this page, the owner can take a number of actions, including backing up the smartphone’s data, extending its battery life, playing a ringtone, locking the device, and more.


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What to do if your smartphone is stolen