Thieves steal millions of smartphones every year. Below is a list of steps to take before and after your phone is stolen.

Remote Tracking

On Android, its called Find My Device, and on Apple, its called Find My iPhone. It allows you to find your phone’s location and remotely wipe the data in the event the device is stolen.

For Android users, open your phone’s Settings app and scroll to the Google section. Once selected, scroll to the Security section, and enable Find My Device. For Apple users, open your iPhone’s Settings app and select your Apple ID. Select the iCloud Settings option and enable Find My iPhone.

Android users track your device here. Apple users track your device here.

Strong Passwords

Secure passwords, lock codes, or patterns can be a pain but are worth it. It can prevent the thief from accessing your data. Most phones come with some biometric unlock features, like FaceID or iris and fingerprint scanners. This is a quick way to unlock your phone regularly. Don’t forget your password/ code, though! Before the phone activates the biometrics, it requires the passcode.

Notifications

Even if a thief cannot get into your phone, your notifications can give them information. Hide this information on the lock screen by turning notifications off altogether. For Android users, open up the Settings app and find Sound and Notifications. Next, find the When Device Is Locked option and sets it to Hide Sensitive Contact. For Apple users, open up the Settings app and find the Notifications menu. Select the Show Previews option, and set to hide previews or don’t show any at all.

Cloud Sync

Storing your data in the cloud enables you to put it on any device. It is also much easier to wipe a device when you know your pictures are safe. For Android users, open up the Settings app and find Accounts And Backup. Next, select Back Up My Data. For Apple users, open the Settings app and select your Apple ID. Next, find the iCloud Settings and open up iCloud Backup, then enable iCloud Backup.

Insurance

We don’t typically recommend insurance through your carrier, but if your phone is stolen, it is useful. Pay your deductible, get a replacement phone, and your set. All the major carriers offer insurance plans, but some may require a full payoff of the first device before issuing a replacement phone.

What To Do If/When Your Phone Is Stolen

  • Track your phone to see if the device is turned on. If you lose your phone, you will be able to find it this way. If your phone is stolen, we recommend contacting the authorities and giving them information before confronting anyone.
  • Wipe the device remotely when getting it back is not an option.
  • Notify your carrier of the theft. The carrier will blacklist the phone. This prevents it from being activated again. If you have insurance, you can take care of that as well.
  • Monitor your accounts for any unusual activity.
  • Contact the authorities. Even if you don’t have an exact location, you should still contact the police. They might know likely places it will turn up if phone theft is prevalent in your area. Keep in mind it’s unlikely you will get your phone back, but there is a possibility.

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