Precautions You Should Take Before (and After) Your Phone is Stolen?

What to do before (and after) your phone is stolen?

It's a painful fact that the pocket computers we carry with us at all times are prime targets for thieves – plus, they're all too easy to forget on the subway or at a coffee shop table. 

Now that we all rely so heavily on our smartphones, once it's stolen or misplaced, it can feel like the end of our world.

But it doesn't have to be, no!

What to Do Before and After Phone is Stolen

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What to Do Before and After Phone is Stolen

Here are the practices you can make before the worst happens and what to do if it does -

1) Enable Remote Tracking

Enable Remote Tracking

Whether Android or iPhone, your phone comes with a built-in tool that lets you track it from the web or another device. On Android, it's called My Device, and on iOS, it's called Find My iPhone.

If you're using an Android phone, go to Settings, open the Google option, scroll down to Security, and enable Find My Device.

You can track your phone or erase its data from the Find Your Phone web page.

If you're using an iPhone, go to Settings, tap your Apple ID (your name), open “iCloud settings," and enable "Find My iPhone.

Now, you can track or erase your phone from the iCloud website.

You can then track your Android phone from any device where you're signed in with the same Google Account or track your iPhone from any device where you're signed in with the same Apple Account. 

You can check your phone's last report on the web by visiting your Google Account or iCloud portal.

You can see where it's gone if you've lost your phone. You can use Find My Device or Find My iPhone to remotely wipe your smartphone, which can help keep your data safe if your handset goes missing or is intentionally snatched.

2) Protect the Lock Screen

Think about all the apps you automatically sign into on your phone: 

Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, email accounts, and perhaps a shopping account. 

The lock screen is the only barrier between those accounts and anyone else's.

With this in mind, it is essential that you have some kind of Security on your phone's lock screen, be it a PIN, pattern, fingerprint, or face. 

You can find these options under Security & location in Android Settings or Face ID & Passcode (or Touch ID & Passcode) in iOS Settings.

This prevents or makes it very difficult for someone else to access your phone or steal any data. 

These lock screen protections may not prevent you from remotely erasing your handset. 

However, you can still erase your phone using Find My Device or Find My iPhone without actually having access to it.

3) Make Notifications Private

Make Notifications Private

Suppose you're worried about thieves reading your text messages and notifications on your lock screen. 

In that case, you can hide the content of those notifications on the lock screen.

On an Android device, go to Settings, open Sound and Notifications, find the When Device Is a Locked option, and then set it to Hide Sensitive Notification Content. 

If you press Don't Show Notifications At All, you won't see notifications even when your phone is unlocked.

On iPhone, go to Settings, open the Notifications menu, and tap on the Show Previews option. From here, you can hide notification previews on the lock screen or get rid of them altogether.

If you have an iPhone with Face ID, it hides notifications from your lock screen until you unlock your phone by default. 

This prevents thieves from viewing notifications without unlocking your phone.

4) Enable Cloud Syncing

If you don't care about the data on your phone, you should enable cloud syncing. 

Trust me – wiping your phone's data seems much less scary when you have all your photos and contacts backed up to the cloud.

For Android phones, go to Settings, then Accounts And Backup, and enable Back Up My Data

It backs up your contacts, login information, and settings. Then, download an app like Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Photos, or Amazon Photos to back up your documents, photos, and videos. 

For iPhones, go to Settings, tap your Apple ID (your name), open iCloud settings, open iCloud Backup, and enable iCloud Backup

When you get a new iPhone, the setup process starts with asking if you want to restore settings, contacts, photos, and videos from iCloud.

This process can help you a lot if your phone is stolen, broken, or got brick.

5) Back Up Your Data

Even if you erase the data from your handset, you should be prepared for the possibility that you will never see your smartphone again. 

This means you will need to back up your data elsewhere. 

Thankfully, your phone's OS can care for most of it.

Back up Android devices using Google: going to Settings > Google > Backup and toggling on Backup by Google One. You also tap on Back up now if you don't want to wait for your phone to update automatically.

Back up iPhone using iCloud

Go to Settings  > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup.

Turn on iCloud Backup.

iCloud automatically backs up your iPhone daily when iPhone is connected to power, locked, and connected to Wi-Fi.

Note: On models that support 5G, your carrier may give you the option to back up your iPhone using your cellular network. Go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > iCloud Backup, then turn on or off Backup Over Cellular.

To perform a manual backup, tap Back Up Now.

To view your iCloud backups, go to Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Manage Account Storage > Backups. To delete a backup, choose a backup from the list, then tap Delete & Turn Off Backup.

Note: If you turn on an app or feature to use iCloud syncing (in Settings > [your name] > iCloud > Show All), its information is stored in iCloud. 

Because the information is automatically kept up to date on all your devices, it's not included in your iCloud Backup.

6) Consider Phone Insurance

Unlike most, Phone insurance covers accidents, broken screens, dead batteries, and, of course, lost or stolen phones.

What to do if your phone is lost or stolen?

Now that your phone has a secure password, is synced to the cloud, and can be accessed via remote tracking, you don't have to worry too much if it gets stolen.

Nevertheless, here are some additional steps you can take to block access to your private files, contacts, photos, and accounts:

1) Track your phone:

As mentioned above, you can use Find My Phone or iCloud or Find My iPhone to locate your phone and remotely disable it if needed.

Go to the Find My Phone or iCloud webpage to locate your phone. If it's nearby or in a local location, see if you can find it.

2) If it's stolen, wipe it:

If it's stolen, wipe the data. There's no point in opposing a squad of thugs to retrieve your phone.

3) Tell your carrier “sim-card customer care” your phone has been stolen:

Notify your carrier to report that your device has been stolen and temporarily block your number. With this, the thief cannot misuse your number.

This way, your SIM card will be locked and can't be used on any other device.

4) Check Your Accounts:

Even if you have two-factor authentication enabled, double-check whether your account hasn't been accessed by someone else or not. 

And if you have any doubts, you can change your passwords, especially for bank and email accounts.

5) (Maybe) Call the Cops:

If you're 100% sure your phone is stolen (as in, you've seen it happen), go ahead and report it to the police. 

There is a huge black market for stolen phones, and you probably won't get your phone back, even if the thief is caught if they sold your phone in the market.

And suppose you have taken insurance on your phone. In that case, you need to get in touch with the insurance company as soon as possible.

Fortunately, most apps, especially apps with sensitive information, will warn you about unauthorized attempts to access your account. 

For example, on Facebook, you can see the current logins on the security page – if someone you don't recognize and has access to your phone in the list, you can click the three dots on the right, Then make a logout. 

Optionally, click Logout of all sessions to force any other devices connected to your account. 

You can adopt the same trick, including Google and Twitter.

If a lock screen protects your phone, you shouldn't have to worry much about your device's access, but it's better to be safe than sorry. 

For even more peace of mind, you can change the password on your main account so that if anyone accesses your lost or stolen phone, Your device will still be locked.


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