Have you ever had your smartphone stolen from you? We know this experience can be heartbreaking. But today, it is easy to find your stolen phone through the built-in tools that only require the use of location services and the Internet. This article will show you how to track your smart device, depending on its OS.

Google created a Find My Device utility for Android phones, www.google.com/android/find. If your phone is connected to the Internet and the thief has not logged out of your account yet, this tool can help you track the phone. You can also wipe all the data from your phone or trigger a sound alarm with this utility service from Google. You have to act fast before the thief gets the opportunity to log out of your account.

If the thief beats you to it, you can try to locate the last location your phone has been seen by going to Google Maps and select the option “Your Timeline” or follow this link; www.google.com/maps/timeline. Here, you can see all the places you have ever been to, including the last place your phone has been used. This might narrow your search area down to a single location.

Apple also has the same app on its iOS devices for people who have also misplaced their Apple phones. Their utility is called “Find My iPhone”. You can lock your iPhone and track its location, as well as erase all the data on your iPhone, remotely. Even if your phone has been switched off, any of these actions will work as soon as it is turned back on.

You can also tick the box that says Notify Me When Found to receive a notification for when your phone has been switched back on again. As with the Android devices, it will only work if your iCloud account is still active on your phone.

Microsoft Windows phones have a similar system in place to find your lost phone. It has the same requirements and functions as the Android and iOS ones do. You can follow this link www.account.microsoft.com/devices, to track, lock and/or erase your Windows phone.

If none of these options worked, you can use your IMEI code to try to locate or block your phone. IMEI, or International Mobile Equipment Identity, is a unique number, which is assigned to every phone. With its help, it is possible to differentiate between two visually identical phones. If your phone was stolen, you need to know this number to give it to the police.

While the phone is still with you, you can check the IMEI number by typing the code *#06# on your phone. Your IMEI code number will pop afterward. If your phone operates using multiple SIM-cards, the phone will have multiple IMEI numbers. Make sure you write it down somewhere and store it in a safe place.

If you do not have your phone with you anymore, try looking for the box it came with. Usually, the number is either on the box or the warranty papers. You need to find it, as, without it, the police will not be able to track it. You might be wondering if you cannot use the IMEI number to track the phone on your own. Unfortunately, it is not possible. Only the police have the required tools to find your phone via the IMEI. However, you might have come across various IMEI tracker websites and unfortunately, they do not work.

If your phone has been stolen, you need to protect the next phone you purchase, the best way you can. Some phone companies like Samsung, iPhone or HTC, have their locating apps, but they need to be activated before it gets stolen. However, if you do not have a pre-installed phone-tracking app, you can download one of the following five free apps:

  • Android Lost App: This app is small but powerful. With it, you can check on your phone via a website or through a text message. It has the same features as all of the utilities we have talked about before; phone lock, trigger sound/vibration, and also takes pictures. It has a simple essential interface and a wide variety of features.
  • Locate My Droid: Another Android app, this one is also small, but very useful. In addition to the standard features, it also has the option of sending a “GPS flare”, in case your phone battery is almost dead, a text with an “attention word” and the notification for if the SIM card has been changed.
  • Lookout Mobile Security: This app is available for both Android and iOS. It is very similar to the previous app, as it has the same bonus’ features. For iOS users, it offers a custom message for the lock screen. For Android users, it provides an option to take a photo of a person who tried (and failed) to unlock your phone.
  • Prey: is another multi-platform app, which allows you to use it for up to three devices for free, including PCs and tablets. You just have to sync your devices with the app, and in case one of them goes missing, use your account to track it. The app runs in the background and does not track your location while you are the one who has it.

It’s quite unfortunate if you must have lost your phone but we hope that at least one of our tips was helpful in your search. Be sure to install one of the apps we have mentioned above so that you do not have this sad experience all over again.