Did you lose it while you were out shopping? Maybe you left it in the public toilets when you stopped to wash your hands? Wherever it is, losing your mobile phone is a pain in the neck. What if you never get it back?

All your contacts – gone. All those beautiful photos and videos from your daughter’s birthday – gone. All your text messages and notes – gone. Unless you have a cloud backup, the chances are you’re never going to retrieve any of that information.

When we lose our phones, we often reflect on what we could do to protect ourselves in such an emergency. Unfortunately, it’s typical that we only see these ideas in hindsight. If you’re reading this article because you lost your phone today, we have a solution for you to try.

However, the best strategy to prepare for this situation is to consider it in advance. If you’re reading and you still have your phone, then consider taking action today before it’s too late.

Find My iPhone

If you have no idea where you left your iPhone, you have options to track its whereabouts. Say for example, you type in the search bar, find my mobile in Germany. For this to work, the location beacon on your phone must be active. You’ll also need the phone to have power for this method to work. If someone’s stolen your phone and removed the battery, this won’t bring you any closer to finding the thief, or your device.

Log into your iCloud account from any internet enabled devices like your friend’s phone or laptop. Go to the settings tab and click the “Find My iPhone” option. Apple pulls up a map with the recent location of your device. You can also see the location data as well.

Apple gives you the option to call your device. That way, if you lost it in the folds of your couch, or underneath the car seat, you’ll be able to hear it ring. This calling feature works even if you left your phone in silent mode. Apple overrides the settings and your phone rings at full volume.

Apple also gives you the option to wipe your phone. This option helps if you can’t find your phone and you have sensitive data on it like your online banking information. Clicking this option allows you to ensure your data doesn’t fall into the wrong hands.

The final option allows you to lock your home screen and display a message. This option allows you to post a reward on the home screen, along with your phone number or email address where people can contact you if they find your device.

Find My Android

Android user has a similar service available to them as well. However, you’ll need to install an app before your phone goes missing. Visit the Play store and download the “Find my device” app. Install it on your phone. When your phone disappears, open your Google account on an internet enabled device and type “find my device” into the search bar.

Google brings up a map of your recent location and location data for the day. The app gives you the same options you find with the Apple service. Call your phone, wipe it, or lock it and display a message.

If you didn’t have the foresight to install the app, there’s still a faint chance you can find it using Google maps. Log into your account and click the settings tab. Open the “your timeline” tab and enter today’s date. Google brings up your location history for the day, and there’s a chance you’ll remember where you left your phone.

Install a Tracking App – The Best Option

Downloading and installing a third-party tracking app is the best option for either iOS or Android users. These applications allow you to access all the features mentioned in the Apple and Android apps above.

However, these tracking apps come with many other features as well. Use the app to locate other members of your family and check on their status in real-time. The app lets you create a private circle of your friends and family members. Check on anyone’s device logged into the network.

The app sends push notifications directly to your device informing you of arrivals to your home. It also allows you to track driver behavior – perfect for the learner in the family. There are plenty of free and paid-for features within these apps. Read through a few reviews and download a free trial to test it out.