How to find your lost Android phone or tablet (2024)

Our phones are part of our daily lives. They help us keep in touch with people, manage our schedules, make payments, listen to music, work, store photos and videos, and more. For these reasons, losing or misplacing your phone can be a nightmare, especially if it isn't backed up, which would mean losing access to your personal data and files. With Google's built-in Find My Device, finding your lost Android phone doesn't take much time if your phone meets certain conditions. You can even lock or erase the data to keep prying eyes away from your personal data.

This information also works for Android tablets and Wear OS smartwatches.


How to find your phone's IMEI number

Locating your mobile phone's unique identification number is easy-peasy

Prerequisites: AKA What you need to do before you lose your phone or tablet

Find My Device used to require an active internet connection through mobile data or a Wi-Fi network to work as expected. However, the latest update to the Find My Device network makes it possible to locate your Android phone even when it's offline. Pixel 8 users get another perk with the update. Pixel 8 and Pixel 8 Pro users can find their devices even when the phone is off or the battery is dead.

The concept works like Apple's Find My network, where your lost Android phone harnesses nearby Bluetooth signals from other Android devices. The latest device whereabouts are transferred to Google's Find My Device network, which you can check through another Android phone or the web version.

If you want to lock or erase your lost Android phone, it must meet the following conditions:

  • The Android phone needs sufficient power.
  • It needs an active internet connection.
  • It should be signed in to your Google account.
  • Find My Device must be turned on.
  • It should be visible on Google Play.

In most cases, these conditions are met without requiring any action from you, but they may be clues to look at if you can't find your device. You can also check if Find My Device is activated on your phone by going to your settings and checking under Security > Find My Device or Google > Find My Device. If it's turned on and you still can't see your phone on the Find My Device website, check Google's troubleshooting page to troubleshoot the issue.

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How to find your phone, tablet, or phone

When you're sure your Android device meets all the requirements above, you can look for it in a few steps. It's simple, so you shouldn't have any trouble getting your phone back, as long as it isn't in the middle of the ocean. You don't need to install an app. All you need is a device with a web browser and an active internet connection.

  1. Visit the Google Find My Device website.
  2. Sign in to your primary Google account.
  3. Click the lost phone in the upper-left corner.
  4. A Google Map appears, showing where your Android smartphone is located.
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  5. If it's turned off, you'll see your phone's location from when it was last on the network.
  6. Click Play Sound to ring the phone for five minutes, even if it's on silent/vibrate.
  7. Click Secure Device to sign out of Google and lock your device.

In addition to playing a sound to secure the device, the Find My Device website allows you to display a message on the lock screen, providing the person who found your phone with pertinent information for returning it. However, you can't do anything if the device is turned off or not connected to the internet. Still, your actions are performed swiftly when it's turned on or connected.

If you have other Android devices, download the Find My Device app to check their location and make them ring.

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If you don't see the Find My Device app from Google on your device, download it from the Play Store.

If you're a visual learner, check out this comprehensive YouTube video from Google that walks you through the process with cute animations and a friendly voice.

You don't need a Google Pixel phone for this to work. Samsung devices can be found in a similar way, although you'll need your Samsung login credentials to do so, which is a tougher task than a Google login.

Protect your data

Even if you located your lost Android phone, that doesn't mean you can retrieve it. Maybe you left it somewhere, but it could have walked off with someone who chose not to return it. Still, you don't want your valuable information to fall into the wrong hands, so you'll want to take action to nuke an unrecoverable device.

Android provides several convenient options that help you keep your device safe without physically retrieving it. After locating the device with the Find My Phone tool, Android allows you to lock it if you don't have a locking mechanism. Additionally, it allows you to erase the device to keep your personal data safe.

  1. Find your Android phone using Find My Device on the web (check the steps above).
  2. Click Secure device to lock the device with a PIN, password, or pattern. It also logs you out of your Google account.
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  3. Select Factory reset device and follow the on-screen instructions to delete all data.
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It's always important to use a proper backup solution, ensuring your data is always safe, even if you lose your phone or don't have access to it.

Use your smart speaker to find your phone or tablet

Smart speakers are for more than asking questions and playing music. Your handy Google Home and the Google Assistant housed within can help you track down your lost smartphone. That is, as long as it's within earshot of you and your search party.

All you do is say, "Hey Google, where's my phone?" The smart speaker rings your device, even if it's set to vibrate or Do Not Disturb. This won't help you find your phone on a map. However, the loud ringing should end your search quickly and easily if it's stuck between the couch cushions.

When it's really gone

If you've looked high and low and your phone is still lost, it may be time to call it a day. If you need a new phone and your budget is a bit tight given the loss of your device, check out carrier deals and our favorite budget phones. A phone insurance plan is also a good idea, and most carriers offer inexpensive monthly options that can be added to your bill.

You'll also want to keep your phone number and IMEI number on hand, as you can provide those details to your carrier if you can't find your phone. Your provider should be able to block the number and deactivate the SIM so that no potential thief can steal your identity. You should also check your carrier coverage, car or renter's insurance, and credit card terms for your stolen Android phone.

How to find your lost Android phone or tablet (2024)
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