We carry our mobile phone everywhere and that has advantages, but also risks: we can lose it, it can be stolen. Surely it has happened to you or someone close to you. In that case, it is convenient to know how to act and what we can do to find a stolen or lost mobile as soon as possible. That is why it is important that you pay attention to the following paragraphs where we explain how to locate or track an Android or iOS mobile or even block it remotely to protect your data.
The first thing to keep in mind is that we must have the location activated on our phone regardless of its operating system. This will allow us to find it in case of loss or theft. If not, we won’t know where it is.
Locate on Android
Google has a function that allows us to identify or find our device step by step and that allows us to know its location in real time if it is lost or stolen. It not only allows us to do it in case we have lost it on the street but also all those times we leave it at home and we don’t know where but we can’t look for it by calling us because it is silent. The option is called “Find my device” and we can activate it from any Android mobile phone. Once it is activated, we look for it remotely from any other phone that we have linked to that account or from the computer.
The first thing we have to do is activate the function. And we will always activate it from the settings of our mobile phone regardless of the brand or the customization layer you have, as long as it works with Android. We go to the mobile phone settings and open “Security and location” and search for “Find my device. The route may change and the section is called “Security” instead of “Security and location” but every Android smartphone will have this option.
Once here we will find “Find my device”. If it is disabled, activate it with the switch as you see in the screenshot below. As you can see in the menu of your mobile, the phone indicates “turn on Find my device to find, lock or factory reset the device if you lose it”. Once activated you will see that there are two ways to use it: from the web page or from the application.
Find any device
As we will see, there are two options. We can have the application installed to always be able to control our mobile phone but also the Android tablet or any other smartphone linked to the same account, such as the work mobile. The application is free and we simply have to install it and log in with our Google account, with our email and our password.
Once inside, at the top we will see all the devices that are linked to our email, all those that we have with an activated session. In our case, three mobile phones and one tablet have access to this account. Just tap on each one of them to see some details: the device it is, the location (as long as it is activated) and the battery percentage. It may appear as unavailable if it is turned off and in the information icon we can see when the last connection of that specific device was. If it is turned on, we will see the exact location, if it is connected to a WiFi network or how much battery it has left until it turns off. We will also see if it is charging.
From the web page the options are the same except that we should not have any spare application or mobile but go to the browser from the computer or any device. Just go to Android.com/find and sign in with your Google email. As in the previous case, we will see all the linked devices and their location if they are connected to the internet and have the location activated at that moment. In addition to when was the last connection or where the smartphone was last seen.
But there are other options that allow us to Find my device both from the web and from the app: play sound, lock or erase data. If we have lost it inside the house or in the car, we can click on “Play sound”. The phone or tablet will start making a sound that will increase in intensity to know where you are. It will serve us even if it is with the silent mode activated.
In case of theft or loss, two more options: block or erase data. Block will allow us to close the session and block access to the Google account so that they cannot spy on us or access emails, contacts, etc. If we already consider it lost, we can delete all the data remotely: we will lose all the information that the smartphone has and we will no longer be able to locate it on the map.
Locate on iOS
In iOS we can also find an iPhone or an iPad that we have linked to our profile as long as we have the location activated on the phone or tablet first. The first thing we must do is go to the mobile phone settings, tap on “Me” and activate the switch on the screen that says “Share my location”. We have to make sure that the function is activated: We go to “Settings” and “our name” and “search”. Sign in with your Apple ID and tap “Find My iPhone” to turn on the feature for use in case of loss or theft.
Once we have it, we can search for it from any application or from the iCloud.com website. Just go to iCloud.com and sign in with your Apple account. Sign in with your email and password and at the top of the screen you will see a list of all linked devices. You will be able to see not only your phone but also Apple Watch, iPad and more. Tap on “all devices” and you will see a map where they are located in real time. It will also work if we have lost the AirPods if we have them linked and if they are not in their case: you can geolocate them or make them sound to find them.
Ring and lock
In addition to finding them, iOS also allows us three options to lock or disable the phone. We can find it in the same way as on Android: you will see a button that indicates “Play sound” so you can find it if it is at home, in your backpack or at work and you are not sure where you have left it.
But there are also two options that allow us to activate lost mode or erase iPhone. The “Lost Mode” allows you to block it so that it is not possible to access personal data. In addition, it allows you to display a personalized message on the screen indicating that you have lost it and where they can go to return it. You will block Apple Pay, there will be no mortifications and they will not be able to access the data.
Finally, we have the option to delete it from the same function and iCloud. Erasing a device will erase all data once you confirm with your Apple ID. The content will start to wipe remotely if you are connected, or will do so the next time you are connected if you are not. If we find it after doing this we can recover the information if we have a recent backup.
Beyond the default options offered by Android and iOS and which are the best tool we can have, there are others. There are other specific applications that allow us to search or track our mobile if we have lost it or it has been stolen. Some of them are available for iOS and Android and others are available only for one operating system. Some are free and some are not. Or some are focused on searching for people rather than a device itself.
One of the great classics of the Internet is Cerberus, which allows us to locate devices on a map, have remote control over the Internet, save backup copies and even block and delete data, but also other very interesting options such as photographing the alleged thief or person who has our mobile. There are several security solutions depending on what we want: the anti-theft option or versions of Cerberus to locate people in real time or to locate minors who have a mobile phone. All of them allow compatibility with Android Wear and allow us real-time location whatever the “mission”.
Cerberus is not available on Google Play but we must download it from its own website. As they explain from it, it is not available due to Google’s policies since 2018 that forced the removal of features from the app. Be that as it may, it is one of the great classics in mobile location.
But it has a downside: it is paid. You can use a free trial of the app or service but then we need to buy the license. Luckily, it’s very affordable. Its price is five euros per year for one device or fourteen euros per year for three devices. If we want ten devices, it has a price of 43 euros per year and we can download the different packages depending on whether you want to always have your watch with Android Wear located, your grandfather with his mobile phone or your minor child with Cerberus Kids that allows you to check the location or establish secure areas.
One of the classics that allows you to find different people is Alpify or now Durcal GPS. It is an application designed to locate elderly people or children on a map more than to locate the mobile if we have lost it. He intends to find the whole family or find out where they are. This can also help us if someone has lost their mobile phone in the park or at school thanks to the fact that we can geolocate it in real time if we don’t find it. The rest of the family will be able to find you on the map as long as you have location turned on.
Durcal works as an application for Android and iOS, although it also has its own clock for those who don’t have a phone. It allows us to create safe zones or allows us to know when grandparents or children leave the house, leave the safe area. We can see if they are running out of battery or coverage, we can locate all our loved ones on a map and the app has a help button.