from a person who has lost almost everything (exaggerated, of course).
So, confession time, as my previous sentence said, I'm very VERY clumsy. If something's not attached to me, there is a very big chance that I will misplace it, forget is somewhere, left it at the restaurant toilet, and so on. It's just last month I had someone returned my backup phone I left in a restaurant toilet 6 months ago. Fortunately I had my email listed on the phone, but unfortunately I didn't do every precaution there was on that phone as I did in my primary phone (which I had left about three times in three different places and got it returned fortunately every time). If I did, maybe it could be returned sooner. However, I did have my email listed there, and the founder managed to email me.
I write this as a check list next time I reinstall/ change my phone, as well to remind everyone not to be me.
There are a lot more things you can do of course (suggestion welcome!), and I think I double some things here and there and maybe not to your likings, but one of these is definitely better than none!
Mostly for Android
Step 1: Be Visible!
You will be surprised with the number of nice people in this world. There are a lot of people who will return lost things they find laying around to the owner or to the police. The problem when people find things: they don't know who is the owner because there is no identifiable name or IDs.
Although your phone should be easier to identify with the amount of personal data and contacts it has (like "Mom", "Little Brother", or your email details), it is a problem if your phone is locked or your phone has died and no one has the charger (like what happened to mine).
A lot of method could be applied to make your phone identifiable to you. You can do one or everything on this list
For the sake of this instructables, let's assume that my email is email@example.com and my phone number is +01234678. If you're not comfortable with putting your main email address, you can list your secondary email address or your alias. The phone number you add is definitely not the one you have on your phone, you can list your office phone instead of a private number.
- Put your info on your phone
I believe this is a common problem in my office. Someone find someone else's phone that got left behind. There's nothing identifiable on it. That someone values the privacy of the owner and doesn't try to open the phone. There will be an email chain about someone finding this black Pixel phone in the dining room.
This also what happened to my phone. Someone finds it in a coffee shop. They returned it to the coffee shop owner. Coffee shop owner can't locate me.
Both scenarios will be easier if you have contact detail on your phone. The easiest thing is definitely to put your business card inside a flip/ hard case. If your phone has a softcase, you can put the card inside the case.
If you don't use a case or don't have a business card, you can put a sticker note on your phone with cellotape as waterproofing.
- Put your info on your lock screen
If you don't use a case or use your own photo as a lock screen (even then, not everyone knows your face!), this works as an alternative. In some Android phones, they have this feature to add text to your lock screen under Setting >> Security >> Owner Info. If you don't have this feature, you can add your text to your lock screen picture using an image editor, or even using social media apps like Instagram Story or Whatsapp Status.T
Those two points don't only work on phone, they also work on your other gadgets like table, e-book reader, laptop, until things like books, scarf (you can sew your info on the corner), you name them.
Step 2: Backup, Backup, Backup
This is a thing that everyone already knows but always postpone to do and regret after everything's lost and broken. Let's periodically backup our data on the first Sunday of the month!
- Backup your Android
The good thing (or bad, depends on your stance on Android-Google environment) about Android is that you can let it backup your contact, data, apps, and other settings.
Setting >> Google >> Backup. Click Back up now.
I believe something similar is available on iPhone
- Back up your messages
If you don't like to get Google to manage everything or want to have more backup, you can also do this.
- Backup your messages on other apps and social medias
In this era of social media, text messaging is more rarely used and other texting apps such as Whatsapp are preferred. Don't forget to back them up! I use Whatsapp as an example. They have them under their setting
Setting >> Chat >> Chat Backup. They're are backed up automatically, helping us a lot!
- Backup your memory
Now you have backup of your phone, messages, and social medias, Now you need to backup you data. If you mention about your phone data, most of the time it means pictures! If you have Google Photos, you should have Backup & sync on the top of your Setting. You can remove your geolocation if you don't want them to be kept.
If you have phone with swappable memory card (which getting rarer and rarer nowadays), don't forget to back them up in your computer regularly!
Step 3: Install Security Apps
There are a lot of apps in Google Play (and Apple Store and Microsoft Store) for Security.
The one Google has and not always pre-installed in an Android Device is Find Device. It works by keeping the location on your registered device from your Google Find My Phone page, or from other phone with a Find My Phone app (you need to login as a guest if you do this). As soon as you know your gadget is lost, you can secure it (lock it) or erase its data.
It will work better if you turn on your data and your location when you're out and abound (a thing I always don't do sadly), but if not, you'll get info on when it's last connected.
There are other app in the market such as Where's My Droid or Lookout which has a feature to turn on GPS location before the phone dies (I used to use this when it's mostly free, now it's mostly paid, sadly).
Step 4: Be Safe!
Those are some of the precautions I suggest (I believe there are a lot more) to keep your phone safe. It hopefully helps a bit when your phone is lost due to you forgetting it somewhere. But make sure to not too use your phone too much while walking in a crowd on in the dark, put it in a more secure location than your pocket, and ensure that they're on you before moving somewhere else!