At one point, my friend was holding onto my phone while we walked across campus. When we got back to my dorm, my friend realized that my phone was not where they thought it was. Instead of panicking, I was able to use Google to find my phone’s exact location on GPS, lock it, and then have my friend go get it from the desk it had been left on. It was a painless process because I was prepared for something like this to happen. Here are five free ways to use technology for locating your phone- no smartphone required.
For those not familiar, IFTTT is a free app that allows users to link their technology and services for custom skills. There are several IFTTT skills for finding phones using services like Amazon Alexa, email, Google Home, and others. I like the email skill because all I have to do is send an email and then I can find my phone quickly- get the IFTTT link to the skill here. The IFTTT app must be installed on your phone in order to use the service. These skills work for both iPhone and Android phones. Learn more about IFTTT in my post here.
Don’t want to deal with IFTTT? Before you lose your phone, ask Alexa to enable “find my phone.” There’s no complex instructions, just tell Alexa your phone number and then read the security code texted to you. That’s it! You can also set it up for more than one phone number, which may be beneficial if more than one person loses their phone. One downside to this skill is that the phone ringer can’t be turned up, so if the phone was on vibrate when it went missing, it will stay on vibrate when the skill is activated. This skill works on any phone, no smartphone required.
Google Find My Device
This is the skill I mentioned in the beginning of the post to find my phone, pinpointed to the exact room it was located in. Google Find My Device came enabled by default on my Android phone, and can be activated by typing “find my phone” into Google. After typing in the account password, users can choose to call their phone, turn up ringer volume, set off an alarm, lock their phone, and even erase data. I also have used this tool when my phone was hiding under a pile of clothes. Location services must be enabled for this to work. Download Google Find My Device here.
Find iPhone (or iPad)
For people that use iCloud or that have multiple Apple devices, Find iPhone can track down the location of your device. Like the Google app, users can play a sound, lock the device, or erase the data remotely. I found the map of where the device is located a bit confusing to navigate with VoiceOver, but people who use VoiceOver more often may not have this problem. This app comes pre-installed on iOS devices.
Be My Eyes
Maybe you know your phone is on your desk somewhere, or it fell behind the bed, and you would find it in ten seconds if someone was there with you. If you have an iPad or other smart device, I highly recommend installing the app Be My Eyes, which is a volunteer service that allows people with vision impairments to push a button and be connected to a sighted guide in a minute or less. The sighted guide uses your device’s camera to view your surroundings, and can easily guide you to help you find your missing phone. The service is free, anonymous, and available 24/7. Download Be My Eyes for iOS here and for Android here.
I highly recommend being proactive and setting up these services before you lose your phone, so that way you can use the services easily. With these five free ways to use technology for locating your phone, you’ll never panic when you lose your phone again!