How To Keep Your Android Phone From Getting Lost And Stolen

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Most smartphones you can buy nowadays can seriously burn a hole in your wallet. That’s one of the reasons why owners of new smartphones treat their device like a fragile baby. Of course, you also love your phone for its features and hardware.

But as it might happen with all kinds of small things, your beloved smartphone is constantly exposed to the risk of being lost or stolen. I know, shocking, but that’s the cold hard truth! You occasionally lose things and, well, thieves do what they do.

Making your phone trackable and secure is the best way to prepare yourself for such situations. Of course, it’s unlikely that you’ll lose your phone, but better be safe than sorry.

Note: If you also own an iPhone or iPad, there’s also an easy way to track it down, in case you lose it.

Steps to take so you’re able to recover your misplaced, lost or stolen Android phone

Although there are ways to track your Android phone without installed tracking apps, being prepared for the worst gives you a great advantage and a high probability of recovering your baby, mistress or whatever you call your smartphone.

1. Install an anti-theft app

That is the most obvious step here. If you want to be able to track a lost phone, install some sort of tracking app, duh! I highly recommend the anti-theft app cerberus (Play Store link). It is easy to set up and offers a wide range of features. Besides tracking your device using your browser, you can lock or wipe it, display a message on the screen, take images or videos with the front or back camera or start an alarm sound.

Another great feature is the ability to hide the cerberus app in your app drawer, so that it can’t be seen by thieves. Alternatively, you can install a disguised version of cerberus. In that case, it will appear as “System Framework” in your app drawer. Cerberus offers even more features but these are the ones you probably need most.

cerberus screenshot

You can try out cerberus one week for free before having to pay $4. It’s totally worth it! Just compare it to having to buy a new phone.

In case your phone is rooted, you can even flash cerberus into your ROM. It will turn your phone in your own personal NSA fortress. Being deeply integrated in your system, cerberus is able to survive even a factory reset.

2. Install Dropbox and turn on Camera Upload

Having Dropbox’s Camera Upload option enabled can come in handy in case cerberus isn’t able to connect to your phone at all. Camera Upload basically uploads every taken picture to your Dropbox folder. Why is that useful? Because a potential thief might take interesting pictures with your phone that might help you identifying the person or the phone’s location.

3. Set up a lock screen unlock pattern or password

Having an unlock pattern or password can be quite annoying if you tend to unlock your phone a lot. However, besides keeping your data safe from other people, it also hinders thieves to check out your device and uninstalling any anti-theft apps they discover. Also, it makes it much harder for them to disconnect your phone from your Google account which is critical if you use tracking tools such as Google’s Android Device Manager. You can create an unlock pattern in your security settings.

4. Install a lock screen protection app

Being stuck on your lock screen, a thief can still do one thing without a problem: turning off your smartphone. There’s no way to track your phone if it’s turned off! Thankfully you can make it a little bit more difficult for the thief. Installing an app like Smart Lockscreen Protector will block the power menu option so that no one can turn off or mute your phone.

Although, there’s still the possibility to turn it off by pressing the power button for a long time, it might take a thief longer to figure that out. That’s more time for you to track down your phone.

5. Write down your phone’s IMEI number

Find out your phone’s IMEI number and write it down. This number can be used to clearly identify your phone. Also, if you tried everything but weren’t able to track it down, you can ask your carrier to put the phone on the GSMA IMEI blacklist. This will make your phone useless because it won’t work with most carriers anymore. And if you, miraculously, retrieve it you can always take it off the blacklist.

Being prepared is the first step to getting your phone back

Setting up your phone using the above steps doesn’t need much time at all and can save you a lot of trouble. I recommend that you follow these steps as soon as possible. After all, you could lose your phone later today.

Are you interested in more Android related guides?
Have a look at our Android knowledge database.

Marc is an online marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on Android, tech and gadget reviews. He likes spending time travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
  • Rukantha Pigera

    Thanks

  • Jeno Galatz

    thanx
    i had samsung findmymobile and avast antitheft and it stolen and i cannot find either way :((((

  • Eddie

    I. Lost my LG optimus. I didn’t download any anti theft apps it’s thru US cellular is there any way to track it

  • Ele Test

    4. I don’t think it’s so difficult to turn off the phone by removing the battery…

    • That’s true for smartphones that have removable batteries which is not always the case.

  • g vijayakrishna

    hi sir i lost my android mobile what is further processor to find my mobile

  • sumit

    hi sir i lost my android mobile what is further processor to find my mobile

  • suresh kumar Reddy

    hai ..i lost my android lenovo a 706 …i had not installed android anti theft is there any way to relocaTE IT…CAN U PLZ HELP

  • Mohamed Amine

    my phone samsung S3 was stolen I had immediately changed my Google account password once it got stolen, so I didn’t know if it would still be possible to track it down.

    I have installed AndroidLost Jumpstart and AndroidLost, but no luck there yet either. It says “Installed” but I’m not sure if it really got installed properly. Guess I’ll just keep checking back, I just checked the Android Device Manager, and it’s not showing up there?

  • Mohamed Amine

    i have found my number IMEI in https://www.google.com/settings/dashboard so
    google knows so well my IMEI Android Device how can not try to track may phone or juste do something if the lost phone is being used by someone

  • Aaron Paul

    Hello..kindly please help me :'( i just lost my Galaxy Note3 this morning.. I tried to call my number in it.. at first, it rang.. but then i dialed it again, I think someones turned it off… How can I track my phone?? please, help me.

  • pitersonsmith

    Try using “Fonegard app” I am basically using this app from long time and really satisfied with this app. It is basically a anti-theft app. That helps in protecting your phone from thieves. For more if you want i am leaving a link below just check:www.fonegard.co/

  • Mzwanele Zwai Qungqu

    Hi there. Thanks a lot for the article and I just downloaded the anti theft app.
    My issue is my phone being hard resseted. I lost an adroid phone before and could not track it with Advance System Manager.
    Isn’t there a way to set up a password or protection on that menu screen you get when you switch your on using the 3 button or 2 on other devices, then from there still have access to remote control your phone even if the thief has it off.
    Once hard resseted and another google account used to log into your phone I don’t think you can then get it back with a tracking app.

  • suresh

    hi sir i lost my htc 820 disear how can i get

  • urza23

    Forget the cerebrus app. It is super expensive and untrustworthy. Use Avast Anti-theft instead. It is free, made by trusted security company and has all the advanced features including SMS control, stealth mode, factory reset survival etc.

    • Brown Nino

      how do you use Avast Anti-theft to locate a lost phone despite the thief flashing everything?