Even the thought of losing a mobile phone can send chills down our spine. But if someone has lost their phone, or it got stolen, luckily, there are still ways to locate their device and get it tracked.
No matter how cautious or alert someone is, this can happen to anyone. But worry not, as we have some helpful solutions to share if your phone got lost/stolen. One of the most effective ways is to get it tracked using its IMEI number.
✨ Did you know?: 70 million smartphones are lost each year, with only 7 percent recovered. 4.3 percent of company-issued smartphones are lost or stolen every year.
In this article, we are going to discuss how you can find your device’s IMEI number and how you can locate a lost or stolen phone using its IMEI number. Let’s see how.
What is an IMEI Number?
IMEI stands for International Equipment Identity. An IMEI number is a 15-digit number for each device. To make the tracking of smartphones that may get robbed, phone manufacturers and mobile carriers share the IMEI numbers of the devices.
No IMEI number can be the same, and every device has its own unique and individual IMEI number.
Used phones sold by third-party sellers get reported and marked as locked or stolen by carrier services. However, there’s a way to find out whether the second-hand phone you are buying is clean of any previous records or not, and that is through an IMEI check.
If you’ve decided to purchase a used phone from a vendor, you will need to understand how to locate and check the IMEI before activating the device on your network.
So if you are wondering how you can find yours, follow up with the next section.
How to Find an IMEI Number?
Before purchasing a refurbished or second-hand phone, you should know exactly what you’re buying. And whether it is secure to buy in the first place.
Here are some methods to find your device’s IMEI number:
Dialing the number by going straight to your phone’s dialer pad is the easiest way to find your IMEI number. Here are the steps for it:
- Open the dialer of your device.
- Type *#06# and the IMEI number of your device will appear.
Via About Section
Another easy way to find your IMEI number is to go to the About section from Settings. Follow the steps given below for the process:
For iOS users,
- Open Settings and go to General.
- Select About.
- Now, scroll down, and you will be able to see your IMEI number.
If you are an Android user and want to track phone using IMEI Android, here are the steps for it:
- Go to Settings and tap on About Device.
📝 Note: The About option, under which the IMEI number is located, can be named and located differently depending on the device.
- Now look for Status and tap on it.
- Now you will be able to view the IMEI number of your device as shown below.
If despite following these steps, you were unable to find the IMEI number of your device, you can try following the information from the next section.
Check the Reverse Side of your Device
Most mobile manufacturer companies provide this number on the reverse side of the phone and beside the battery.
The IMEI number can also be found in the phone packaging box, and it is clearly labeled on the box with a barcode.
Through Google Earth
Another way to find a lost or stolen device is to track the IMEI number through Google Earth. If you don’t know what Google Earth is, let us give a quick brief about it!
Google Earth is a free computer program that uses “Satellite imaging’, a unique technology that gives access to view the image of any location globally and view them in real-time.
It lets you zoom in to any specific location that you want to, and the majority of the images are taken via satellites on Google Earth. So now, let’s see how it can help you to locate or track your lost or stolen device.
- Go to the Play Store and launch Google Earth.
- Now sign in with your Google account using the credentials of the account signed in on the device that is lost or stolen.
- Then you have to enter the phone number of the stolen or lost device and click on ‘Send a link to my phone’.
- Now permit the device location access to Google and you will get a text with a link.
- Tap on the link and once it opens on the browser, click on Yes to enable the feature for ‘Allow Google Latitude to view your current location’.
- Once you do that, you will be able to view the exact location of the stolen or lost device.
Using these methods, you can find the IMEI number of the stolen or lost device and track it. For more methods of locating the lost or stolen device, you can follow the steps in the next section
How to Locate a Lost/Stolen Mobile via IMEI Number?
There are many phone finder apps available on Google Play, like IMEI Tracker All Phone Location & AntiTheft App, Find My Device, Find Lost Phone, SeekDroid: Find My Phone, Spylix, and so on. Most of these can be activated by sending an SMS, while others support using the IMEI number. Let’s take AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location for example.
- Open Google Play and Search for the IMEI tracker.
- Then find the “AntiTheft App & IMEI Tracker All Phone Location” app. After finding it, install the app.
📝 Note: Make sure that your phone is running on Android 4.4 or higher.
- After finishing the installation, run the app. Grant all the permissions that the IMEI tracker App asks for (contacts, calls, storage, SMS, and location). In order to track your phone, all these permissions are necessary to be activated for full functionality.
- Now press “Continue” to move ahead after watching a short commercial.
📝 Note: This free IMEI Tracker App contains ads that you have to watch. The ads can’t be skipped, and you will not be able to go to the next step if the video is not loaded.
- Enter the IMEI number of your lost phone, check your input, and click on “Track”.
- A small window with a list of places will appear, indicating the location and the proximity of your phone.
|Using the IMEI number to track the lost phone is not the only function of an IMEI tracker. To protect your device further, before the theft, there are some important anti-theft functions that you should be aware of.|
What to Do if Your Phone Gets Lost or Stolen?
It might feel like nothing can be done as now that your phone containing so much of your personal or other important data is stolen. But luckily, that isn’t the case. There are still some points that you should keep in mind before giving up.
- Call your phone/Use the carrier’s mobile app to send an alert
As your phone has been stolen or lost, you have but one way to do any step – use another device to call your mobile phone. However, this method is of no use if you have your phone on silent. In case you are lucky enough, and it’s on a hard surface, you will be able to hear it vibrate, so it’s worth a try. You can also make use of your carrier’s mobile app to override your ringer settings and sound an alert.
- Text on your cell phone
If you have set the settings as allowing content in text messages to display on the lock or home screen, someone who has your phone can reach you and get your phone back to you quickly. Sending a message on your mobile phone to provide instructions on how to reach you, just in case someone finds it, can be pretty helpful.
- Use the built-in Find My Phone feature provided on the phone
Phones have built-in security measures that allow users to track, ring, lock, or erase it remotely if they have the feature enabled. Both Android and iPhone have their own respective apps for the process. If you want to be on the safe side, always keep such apps enabled on your devices, as a precaution is better than a cure.
📝 Note: On Android devices, the feature is called Find My Device™ and on an iPhone, it’s called Find My™.
- Remotely erase the data from your phone
If you are sure that your smartphone was stolen, you can remotely delete the data from your device and keep your information safe. And this has to be the first thing that you should do, once you realize that your device has been stolen. The first thing that thieves do as soon as they get a hold of their victim’s device is to remove SIM cards or use unique boxes that prevent mobile phones from being connected to cellular networks. This makes it impossible for you to wipe the device if you delay.
To Erase Data on an iPhone:
- Go to icloud.com/find on another device and log into your iCloud account.
- Click on All Devices, then choose from the list of the iPhones you want to erase.
- Click on Erase iPhone.
To Erase Data on your Samsung or Google phone:
- Go to android.com/find on another device.
- Sign in to your Google account.
- From the left-hand menu, select Erase Device.
- Lock your phone & change passwords
If your cell phone can’t be located quickly, you can use your phone’s find my phone feature to remotely lock your phone from any location. Also, make sure to take this opportunity to change the passwords on any accounts you regularly accessed or had an app for on your—especially financial accounts, email, and social media, just in case.
- Contact your mobile carrier
If you can’t locate your device, even after removing its data and locking it remotely, you can reach out to the carrier for your consumer cellular plan. They will disable all the cellular services to your phone, and can even mark the phone itself as unusable, even with a new SIM card or a new carrier. This will not only help to protect you but someone who may unknowingly purchase a used phone that’s been stolen.
- Alert the Police
It can’t be determined whether you will get your phone back or not, but you could potentially need a police report if you have to protest fraudulent charges made with your device.
These points are the first major steps that you should consider taking if your phone has got lost or stolen. With these, you will be able to stop the situation from getting worse and the phone to further get inaccessible or contactable at all.
Ans: Almost everyone carries their phone with them everywhere, and an IMEI number can be used to locate a phone’s position. And so it is possible to track someone using their device’s IMEI number.
Ans: Here are some precautionary measures that one can take in order to prevent stealing from happening:
- Try to stay aware of your surroundings.
- Keep the apps that can help in tracking your device installed on your phone.
- You can set a PIN on the tracker app for IMEI so that if it ever gets stolen, you can track it and erase the important data.
Ans: While most reliable apps like Google Earth are safe to track a lost or stolen mobile using its IMEI number, there are some apps that might be fishy and pretend to be real. So it is better to confirm the authenticity before giving out your information to just any app.