Who is the one person that knows you more than you know yourself? The answer is not a living being but an inanimate object – your smartphone. From your thoughts to your eating preferences and your political opinions, your smartphone is your personality condensed into digital data. With all the sensitive information such as your photos and financial data on your phone, it is no less than a prize for a thief. So, it is natural for you to lose your mind when you misplace your phone or fear it is stolen.
However, it doesn’t have to be that way.
By following some simple steps, you can safeguard your data and minimize the impact of your smartphone being stolen:
Turn on Remote Tracking
Whether you use an Android phone or an iPhone, you will have access to the find my phone feature that lets you locate and track your phone remotely from another device or over the web. In Android, the feature is known as Find My Device and can be activated under the Security & Location option in your phone settings. In iPhones, the feature is called Find My iPhone. You can turn it on by going into Settings and tapping on your name and then on iPhone.
By turning the feature on, you can track your android phone or iPhone remotely by logging into the same Google or Apple account as your device. The feature also lets you track your last known location of the phone. With the feature, you can also remotely wipe out all the data from your phone in case it is stolen or you are sure to have lost your device forever.
Password-protect Your Lock Screen
Most applications do not require logging in each time you try and access them. When you lose your phone these applications become soft targets for data collection in the absence of a lock screen password. Therefore, it is essential that you use a passcode, a fingerprint, a pattern, or a Face ID to protect your phone. These measures will make it difficult for the thief or any unauthorized person who comes in possession of your phone to access your personal data, if not prevent it altogether. You can find the option to set a lock screen password under the Security & Location options under Settings in Android and under the Face ID & Passcode under iOS settings.
Back-Up Your Data Periodically
Regardless of whether you lose your phone or not, backing up data periodically is a good way to ensure you do not lose sensitive information. Most smartphone OS and applications come with options that will automate the process for you.
For backing up data such as application data and system settings, all you need to do is enable the default device backup system. In Android, look for the Backup option under Advanced, System in phone settings. To activate the default backup system on iOS, go to Settings, tap on your name then your device name and click on iCloud backup.
Although most applications back up your data, files such as photos and videos do not get automatically backed up. You can use applications such as Dropbox and OneDrive to automate uploading these files for you. Other options such as Google Photos or iCloud photos are some other alternatives you can use for these files.
What to Do After you Misplace or Lose Your Smartphone?
The first thing to do is report the theft of your phone and contact your carrier to block your SIM card. By contacting your carrier and locking your SIM, you can prevent identity theft, incurring text and phone bills, and protect your finances.
If your phone was snatched or pinched, contact the local police authorities and inform them of the theft. Although the chances of you getting your phone back may be slim, authorities can help you protect your data or contact you in case they get it back. The complaint will also be useful in claiming your phone insurance if you have one.
Wipe Out Data
As stated earlier, if you have lost your phone and have the find my device feature activated, you can wipe out all the data on your phone and prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The feature can also help you locate your phone. However, we strongly recommend that you do not track your phone to the location or make an attempt to confront the thief
Log Out of All Accounts
Check all your social media and e-commerce accounts using your laptop or a different device even if you feel that your device is well protected against any unauthorized access. Most social media and e-commerce platforms alert you about your recent login activity and can help you identify whether any unauthorized attempts to log in to your accounts have been made.
It is in your best interests to log out from all the platforms on all devices. Use options such as log out all sessions and log out from all devices to automatically prevent anyone from gaining access to your accounts.
Change the passwords immediately even when you see no activity on these platforms to protect yourself from malicious attacks.
Losing your smartphone can be terrifying. However, you can reduce the impact of the loss by staying vigilant and following the aforementioned steps.
While mobile phone insurance protects you from the financial loss, the above steps protect you from losing your data and associated risks.