It happens to everyone: You put your phone down somewhere and forget exactly where, or it falls from your pocket or purse and the loss goes unnoticed for some time. When this happens, panic may be the first reaction you have. Lost phones can easily become stolen phones, which can lead to high charges for calls you don't make. However, with the technological advances in place today, finding a lost cell phone has become easier than ever. Websites, GPS tracking and special apps all make finding a lost cell phone much easier.
Open your browser and go to a cellphone dialing website. Websites such as Where's My Cellphone? or I Can't Find My Phone will call your phone in order to make it ring, which will allow you to hunt for the phone. These services are free of charge.
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Input your cell phone number where asked within the website. If you use either Where's My Cellphone? or I Can't Find My Phone, you can be assured that these sites do not save your phone number or send any spam messages to your phone.
Listen closely for the sound of your cell phone ringing or vibrating. Since the service is free, the sites can call your phone a number of times until the phone is located.
Contact your cell phone service provider's customer service and explain that your phone is missing. Their first step will likely to be asking you if you want to disconnect services to the phone in case someone else finds it and tries to use it.
Ask the customer service representative to try tracking your phone. In order to do this, the carrier will need your phone's IMEI number, which is usually located on the inside of the cellphone or on the original box in which your phone arrived. If you don't know the IMEI number, your carrier may be able to track the phone by monitoring the location of calls made.
Receive the location of your phone from your carrier and try to make your way to the location. You will likely be backtracking to a location that you've already been and will need to search vigorously for the phone.
Visit the website of your tracking application of choice. Android users have tracking options from Lookout Mobile Security or Mobile Defense, in addition to numerous other apps. Owners of iPhones may be subscribed to MobileMe and can use the Find My iPhone feature or have iHound installed. For BlackBerry phones, Berry Locator offers tracking help, while Windows Phones can be tracked by My Phone.
Input your log in information for the website. This usually consists of your phone number or log in name and a password.
Find the phone locator section of the website and follow the enclosed directions for finding your cell phone. Usually, this requires simply clicking a "Locate" button on the site. From there, your app will send a GPS location report to the website and inform you of where your phone is.
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Tracking lost cell phones by third-party application only works if the applications were installed prior to the phone being lost. Once you find your phone again, make sure to install a tracking app to prevent future panic. If you don't feel comfortable using a website to find your lost phone, consider having a friend call you or using your landline number to dial your cell. Your phone's IMEI number can be found by dialing #06# from your phone.