Stolen or lost Android smartphone: how to react?

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Have you lost your Android smartphone or has it been stolen? Our cell phones have become so important that this kind of loss is taking a heavy toll on morale. But what to do in such a situation? Here we describe the steps to follow if you are faced with the theft or loss of your mobile.

Lost or stolen smartphone

Getting stolen or losing your smartphone is a difficult episode to experience. Beyond the material loss and the financial investment that will require the purchase of a new smartphone, We also mope and especially for the loss of our personal data.

Some are so sensitive that the fear of them falling into the hands of a stranger is as demoralizing as the loss of the smartphone itself. Here we explain how to react when you have this unpleasant experience.

Precautions to be taken before the theft or loss of the smartphone

This must be a reflex when buying a new smartphone. With precautions taken in advance, possible theft or loss in the future becomes less stressful. So let’s start with the basics, namely what to do as soon as you buy a phone.

Note the IMEI number

You will see it a little later, this number will be useful to you. The IMEI is displayed on the box in which the smartphone is stored upon purchase. You can also retrieve it by dialing * # 06 # on the phone’s numeric keypad.

Another solution: go to the Settings, then in System, TO About the phone, State and IMEI code information. On older models with removable batteries, the code may also be located under the battery.

Once you find the IMEI, write it down somewhere that you can easily access. You can also note in a cloud note-taking app, like Google Keep or OneNote.

Secure access to your phone

Secure access to your smartphone

We also remind you, because not everyone has this reflex yet, but it is important to secure access to your smartphone. Thus, a thief will not be able to easily access the system and your personal information.

It could be off-putting at one time to unlock your phone each time you use it: enter a code, password or draw a diagram… But there is no longer any excuse today with fingerprint readers and the facial recognition.

They make it possible not to let just anyone enter your smartphone without spoiling the daily user experience.

Regularly back up your important data

Cloud backup

To avoid losing all your data (contacts, photos, messages, applications, etc.), we also recommend that you back them up regularly, or even activate the automatic cloud backup.

The good news is that on Android smartphones, some data is automatically backed up to the Google account. This is the case for contacts, SMS, call history, etc.

If you use WhatsApp, we recommend you activate the automatic backup of conversations on Google Drive. You can choose daily, weekly or monthly backup. The ideal is to do it every day.

With services like Google Photos, you can also automatically back up your photos to the cloud. But beware, Google has ended free unlimited storage on Photos since June 2021. You now have a limit of 15 GB (shared with Gmail and Google Drive).

Unless you own a Google Pixel smartphone. They still benefit from free and unlimited backup of photos in Google Photos.

See also: The best alternatives to Google Photos to store your Photos in the Cloud

Activate the Find My Device feature

Locate My Device

The other recommendation we can give you regarding Google is to enable remote location of the device. To do this, go to Settings, Security and location then Locate my device.

This activates a useful feature in a lost or stolen laptop, but we’ll cover that a little bit later.

What to do if your smartphone is lost or stolen

Everything we have seen above concerns the precautions to be taken upstream. If your smartphone happens to be lost or stolen, here are the steps to follow.

Hang the line

Block the line when your smartphone has been stolen

Is your smartphone lost or stolen? The first thing to do is to contact your operator to report this situation and that he can act accordingly. You can carry out the transaction by phone, or via your customer area (application or website).

The difficulty is of course to find another device from which to do it since yours is no longer available. The operator will then proceed to SIM card deactivation. Thus, you will not be billed for costs incurred by the thief of your mobile.

It is possible to reactivate it if you are lucky enough to find the phone. Otherwise, to keep your number and your subscription, you must order a new SIM card from the operator, who generally charges 10 euros in this type of situation.

Locate the Android smartphone

You can try to find it by tracking. As we have seen previously, this feature must be activated beforehand. It then becomes possible to locate your lost or stolen smartphone on a map (Google Maps).

You can also ring, lock or delete data remotely. For that, all you need is go to this web page from any browser on PC, another smartphone or tablet.

If the thief has turned off the smartphone, it becomes impossible to locate it. You can however see the last place the smartphone was seen turned on.

locate smartphone

If the device has simply been misplaced and is in your home, you can ring it to find it easily. It even works in silent mode.

If you want to try to communicate with the person who is now in possession of your mobile, you can also via this interface display a message or contact phone number on the screen. Who knows, maybe a well-meaning individual has stumbled upon your smartphone and is ready to give it back to you.

Erase mobile data remotely

It is from the same Google platform described above that you will be able to lock the smartphone, as we have seen. You can disconnect your Google account and even delete all content on your mobile, lest it be accessible to third parties.

Once you’re pretty sure you’re never going to see it again, this step is a must. Do not hesitate if you have confidential messages or you manage your bank accounts from your mobile.

Warning, it will no longer be possible to locate the smartphone once the data has been erased. If the device is switched off at the time of handling, deletion will take place the next time it is switched on.

Report theft (filing a complaint)

Once you have secured your data, it is time to report the theft or loss to the appropriate authorities, namely to a police or gendarmerie service. You may be able to find your mobile well, although it is rare.

But this procedure must be carried out for several reasons. First of all, the agent who will take your statement will ask for your IMEI number, that’s why you have to write it down somewhere, as explained earlier.

You can then send a copy of the ticket to your operator to prove that it was stolen. The IMEI will then be registered in a database common to all French operators and the smartphone blocked throughout the territory.

For you, this does not change much, but you at least prevent your mobile from being easily resold. Complicating the thief’s life brings a form of satisfaction and if everyone makes this little effort, it will become less interesting to steal mobiles to resell them, possibly reducing these acts.

Unfortunately, it is still possible to resell smartphones blocked in France abroad, where they remain perfectly reusable. But blocking the IMEI on French networks makes the smartphone unusable in France.

Before you go to the police station, make sure you know the following in addition to the IMEI number: the make and model of the laptop, the phone numbers associated with SIM cards and the identity of the operator (s) who provided these SIMs.

You may also be asked to describe the accessories (shell, protection, etc.) and you will have to describe the circumstances of the theft (location, precise date, etc.). Filing a complaint is also compulsory if you are insured against theft of a telephone and wish to assert your rights.

In this case, it is also advisable to quickly get in touch with the insurance company so that we can explain the procedure to you and so that you can make a first declaration to the insurer.