Own a smartphone for long enough, and you’ll eventually get into this situation. You will shortly ask someone to call it for you in the hope that it’s within earshot. The issue with mobile devices is that, well, they’re mobile. They can be put down (and not be picked up again) anywhere. So what do you do if the ring test doesn’t work, and you still don’t know where it is? Fear not, this is the one time when you’ll thank your OS provider is spying on you.
Google, all but running the internet, proves very handy in such situations. Like the times that you have no idea where your phone is. If you have an Android phone you will have a Google account from which you can locate and even track your phone.
If you simply Google “find my phone”, the first result is a map, with a request to log in to your Google account. Once logged in, Google will show you exactly where your phone is. Alternatively, going to your Google Account will allow you to choose from all devices associated with your login. The good thing about this method is that Google will helpfully provide a link to find Apple devices as well as Android.
Device switched off? Google have you covered there as well.
By being logged in to Google and going to Activity Controls you will see a section called Location History, with a link called Manage Activity. Click on this and it will show you all the locations your phone has reported itself to Google for any date you like. The route taken will even be shown on a map. If your device is now turned off or has a dead battery, it will show up to and including the last signal received before being disconnected.
There are also apps available in the Play Store that will guide you through the process. Of course, you will need to install the app on someone else’s phone. Then you will need to log into your own Google account for it to be useful. But it’s a handy alternative if you’re nowhere near a laptop or desktop computer.
Apple also have location tracking built in to iOS. Yet you must enable it in the phone settings beforehand. Go to Settings > iCloud and scroll to “Find My iPhone”. Enable both that and “Send Last Location” to be fully covered should you lose your phone.
Then make sure Settings > Privacy > Location Services is also enabled, and you (or your phone) is good to go.
To find your iPhone or iPad, just go to iCloud and login to the account you use on the lost device. Similarly to Google, your device location will be shown on a map. That includes its last location if the battery became critically low.
Again like Google, there is an app you can use on any iOS device to track any other iOS device.
Both Android and iOS allow you to ring, lock and even wipe the lost device. Which means you shouldn’t have to worry about your private data getting into the wrong hands for too long.