find my phone: Losing your smartphone is one of the most frightening experiences in the modern age. You have your contact information, your personal information, your personal pictures, and possibly even financial data on there. It’s a treasure trove for thieves and other malcontents. Thankfully, there are some things you can do to recover your phone.
We can’t stress enough that the best method of protection is prevention. Having a system in place really helps this situation, although you may be a bit late if you’re searching for this after you lost your phone. However, there are some ways that you can find it even without preventative measures. Here are the best to find my phone apps and other methods too.
- Family Locator by Life360
- Find My Device by Google
- Prey Anti-Theft
- Carrier phone finders
- Bonus: Manufacturer phone finders
Family Locator by Life360
Family Locator by Life360 does exactly what the app name says it does. It allows you to create a collective with your family and friends and then you can keep track of where they are via their smartphone. As you can imagine, it helps recover smartphones if someone loses them. The upside is that you can control who can find you or your phone. The downside is that this app is a people locator, not a device locator. Thus, it doesn’t have some popular find my phone apps features like device locking or wiping. Still, it’s a good, simple option, especially for parents.
Find My Device by Google
Find My Phone is Google’s native to find your phone app. It does all of the basic stuff. It can locate your phone within a certain distance. The app also lets you ring your phone, wipe your phone. and even show a message. That way whoever has it can see that you’re looking for it. The app is great because you can make a good attempt to find the phone. Worst case, you can wipe it if you can’t. Those are the big two abilities for apps that find your phone. It’s also completely free with no in-app purchases or advertising. Updates in late 2018 added indoor map support for places like malls, stadiums, and airports for easier locating in areas like that.
Price: Free / $5-$43 per year
Cerberus has long been the name people think of when it comes to finding my phone apps. It has a diverse set of features that includes locking and resetting your phone, sounding alarms, displaying messages on the screen, and it even has access to the front-facing camera so you can take a picture of the thief. You can also hide Cerberus from the app drawer so people don’t suspect that it’s there, remote shell into your device, use it with WearOS, and record audio from the mic. There is a free trial. After that, you can buy a single license for $5 per year and up to ten devices for $43 per year. Unfortunately, this app isn’t available in Google Play anymore because of Google’s draconian permission policies, so you have to download straight from Cerberus.
Prey is an app that’s been around for a while that many people trust. Its entire purpose is to help you find your phone if it goes missing. However, it is also more lightweight than something like Cerberus. It has the basic features like finding your phone, locking your device, and setting off an alarm. You’ll also be able to take pictures to see where your device may be and gather network information to see where your device has been. It seems to work for most people and that’s what really matters. It’s not all that different from Google’s Find My Phone and may function well as a backup to that. It’s also completely free.
Find my phone apps from carriers
Most major carriers (at least in the US) have found my phone apps that you can use. Generally, the services cost money that gets added to your bill every month. However, in exchange, the carriers will help you find your phone. We can confirm that the three major US carriers (Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile) have services like these. They cost a varying amount of money. However, if you called a customer service rep (like we did), pretty much all of them recommend Google’s Find My Phone anyway. What makes these decent options are that you’ll be able to call your carrier and they’ll actually be able to help.
Bonus: Manufacturer solutions
Price: Free (usually)
Some manufacturers, including HTC, Apple, and Samsung, have found my phone features built into their OEM skins. Generally, you have to sign up for an account through the company. You can then use that account to find your phone. The services are usually free and the phone will usually prompt you to set these accounts up when you first turn on your phone. However, you can do it at almost any time. We know a lot of people don’t like OEM customizations, but this is one of those features that’s nice to have, even if you dislike them. There isn’t a list of what phones have this feature. We recommend digging around your Settings to look into it. Worst case, you can always fall back on Google’s Find My Device app. We know for sure that Samsung devices have an above-average Find My Phone function built-in to your Samsung account.