How to locate a lost or stolen cell phone (2021)

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Craig Zacker
@craigzacker
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It happened. You thought it would never happen to you, but in the end the your cell phone has been stolen and now it's time to locate it. With the rise of smartphones, the number of stolen cell phones around the world also increases, already rising to 70 million every year and of which only 7,3% are recovered, according to a recent study.

And even worse, security experts claim that device thefts could be reduced by up to 85% if users implemented a series of simple security measures.



But, if you are one of the victims of these calmer ones, all is not yet lost. In this guide we show you the most effective ways to find and recover a stolen Android phone, in a totally free and simple way.

Has your cell phone been stolen? Finding it is easier than you think

Find and recover your mobile with Google's Find My Device

One of the most useful tools created by Google is undoubtedly the Device Manager, also known as the Android Device Manager and recently renamed Find my device.

The best thing about this tool is that you don't even need to have it installed on your mobile phone - although it is recommended - to be able to locate it in case of theft, as you will only need to have a Google account associated with the device. Now, the mobile phone to be recovered must meet a number of conditions:

  • The mobile phone must be switched on.
  • You must have an associated Google account.
  • You must be connected to a Wi-Fi or mobile data network.
  • It should be visible on Google Play (if you have Google Play services installed), you probably won't have a problem.
  • The location must be activated.
  • The "Find my device" function must be activated.

To meet the latter requirement, you must access the settings of your mobile phone and, in the search engine, enter "Find my device". Finally, you have to activate this option.



In case you have lost your mobile or have been the victim of a theft, the important thing is access the device manager, either from another Android associated with the account, or from a computer, tablet or other mobile phone from the web for the browser available on android.com/find or at the link below these lines.

Once inside, a list with will appear in the upper left part all Android devices - mobile phones, tablets, watches… - associated. You will have to select the one that has been stolen or that you have lost. In this way the app will start looking for the terminal and, if it finds it, it will place it on the map, in a position that represents its last recorded position.

On the left side, moreover, there are several shortcuts that, in case you are unable to locate the position of the phone, will allow it to ring, blocking it completely, thus preventing those who stole it from using it. You can also delete all data stored on your phone, so that at no time you can access sensitive information that may be on your mobile.

If you are lucky, a green icon will appear on the map indicating the exact location of the phone. In case the terminal is turned off, it will be displayed the position where he was last seen. In case it is not possible to recover it, there is always the solution to request a block through its IMEI.


Other apps to find lost or stolen phones

Either because you don't want to have a Google account associated with your mobile or for any other reason that prevents you from using Android Device Manager, you can use one of the third-party Android applications designed to locate and hopefully recover stolen or lost phones. In this case, of course, you have to keep in mind that before losing your mobile, you should have installed and configured one of the tools, otherwise you probably can't use them to be able to recover the device. These are some of the best:


Cerberus

One of the classic tools when it comes to tracking lost or stolen Android phones is Cerberus. It is a very complete app that, in addition to allowing you to locate the phone, offers the possibility to remotely control it to block it or delete all its data, or even prevent any thief from turning off the device to keep untraceable, and until you block access to the notification panel.

To use Cerberus, you just have to install the application and enable all permissions it requires. In this way it will be possible to locate the phone even when it is not connected to the Internet, thanks to the fact that it offers an option to do so via SMS messages.


Cerberus is a free app, but it allows us to test its features for a limited time only - 5 days, to be exact. If you want to use it as the default location method in case of theft, you will have to pay the rate depending on the chosen plan, the maximum price of which is up to 50 euros. Therefore, if what you are looking for is an application to find and recover your mobile for free, it might be better to use the Google tool.

Prey burglar alarm

Prey is, for many, the best alternative to Cerberus - especially after the controversy over Cerberus' alleged lifetime subscriptions, which actually only last 8 years - and the rest of the applications for locating stolen or lost devices. One of its advantages is that in its free mode it allows you to locate the phone without any limitations, although yes, some of the extra features are exclusively for those who checkout. These are the basic features, which anyone can access by simply downloading Prey:


  • Locator Mobile gps: precise location on the map, with GPS coordinates in each report to locate your Android phone.
  • Burglar alarm: the your Android phone will ring loud, even if it's muted.
  • Control areas: draw an area on the map and get alerts when your Android device enters or exits there.
  • Remote lockout: lock your mobile phone remotely.
  • Front and rear camera: take pictures and find out who has your phone.
  • modality invisible: hide the app with invisible mode, Prey will work silently.
  • Warning message: displays a message on the screen to alert the potential thief.


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