There are all kinds of tricks to finding a lost cellphone, from having someone else call it to logging in to your computer and using software to locate it. But none of those handy tricks works unless the phone is, at the very least, powered on – or so you may assume. The good news is, today's tools are more sophisticated than they used to be, which means you may be able to find your phone even if you've powered it off.
Use Find My iPhone
If you're interested in knowing how to locate a lost cellphone that's turned off, you'll first need to find a device that can help you track it. Using a friend's iPhone, open Find My iPhone and have your friend sign out. Once you're signed in, you should see a list of your Apple devices. Click on the device in question. If it's on, you'll be able to see it on the map. If it's turned off, you can click on "Lost Mode" and get the last known location of the device.
Find iPhone With Google Maps
Even if you haven't actively set up Find My iPhone, your device was likely automatically registered when you turned it on. However, if for some reason it isn't, you can try checking Google Maps to see if your phone's "Location History" is displayed.
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Find Your Android Phone
To find an Android phone, it will have to be turned on. Either way, though, it's worth a try to go to Android.com/Find and sign in, then find your device on the map. Once you're signed in, your phone will get a notification. Continue to try to find your device periodically in case someone has found it and turned it on. You can also try checking Google Maps to see if you can find your phone's most recent location history.
Find Your Windows Phone
Windows Phone owners can locate a lost phone as long as it was built in 2014 or later. First, visit account.microsoft.com/devices and log in. But if it's powered off or not connected to the internet, you won't be able to see it. Continue to refresh it in case someone powers it on. The best thing about Windows service is that, even if your volume is all the way down, you can ring it using the Find My Phone service.
Erase Your Phone
Once you've determined that your switched-off phone won't answer, the best course of action is to erase it so the person who finds it can't access your information. You should be able to do this even if your phone is off by choosing "Lock" and "Erase" on Google Find My Device. If it's an Android phone, try – before erasing it – the option to display a message when you lock it. You can include your name and phone number here so that anyone who finds it can track you down.