It's an awful feeling, losing a cell phone. Not only are you out of contact, not only do you lose all your data and have to ask everyone for their phone numbers again, but cell phones can be expensive these days! Here are a few tips to prevent your phone from being lost or stolen, and how to recover it if it is.
Step 1: Don't Leave It Lying Around!
Are you someone who likes to have their cell phone handy at all times? Keeping it in your pocket or purse is fine, but if you sit down at a table or in a bar, setting your phone down on the table can set you up to forget it later. Keep your phone on your person at all times.
If you’re someone who doesn’t need it with you all the time, you might want to consider leaving it in the car if you’re going into a bar or sporting event, or other place where it could be easily lost or stolen. If you do leave it in the car, be sure to keep it somewhere out of sight, like in the glove compartment. If a thief sees a $500 smartphone sitting in plain view, you might end up losing a cell phone and having to pay for a broken window!
Step 2: Write Down Your Serial Number
In the event that your phone is stolen, having your serial number can be a big help. With it, you might be able to call the manufacturer and report the phone as stolen, so if someone sends it in for repairs, it can be returned to you!
For example, if you lose your iPhone and you have the serial number, you can inform Apple so that if someone brings the stolen phone into an Apple Store for repairs, they'll know it's yours.
Step 3: Download a Security or Locator App
There are a number of apps you can download that allow you to track your GPS-enabled cell phone, lock it remotely, remotely erase your private data, and so on. If you are an iPhone user, MobileMe (www.apple.com/mobileme/features/find-my-iphone.html) can do all of these things, and will cost you $100/year.
If you use an Android phone, iTag (www.itag.com) can locate your device and show you on a map on the website, ring it for you, back up and wipe your personal data, and lock it if someone steals it. Basic locator services for iTag are free, and the other premium services are only $20 a year, making it one of the thriftiest options.