Having your phone stolen or misplacing it while you are away from home is quite the setback. Both Apple and Google have implemented services that can help you locate your phone if you properly set up the features, but you will need another phone or device to track your phone down. Your next best bet is to use your friend’s phone to locate it. But it might not be intuitive to understand how to use a friend phone to find your lost iPhone or android phone. We have the step-by-step instructions to help you avoid loss.
How to use a friend’s phone to find your lost iPhone or Android Phone
Preparing Your Friend’s Phone
Any phone with a Web browser and Internet connection can help find your phone. Because time is of the essence, you should immediately launch any Web browser found on the phone and open a “private tab.” Since locating your phone requires login access to your Google Account or Apple ID depending on the lost device, you can login to your account with the private tab without forcing your friend to sign out of his or her account if their login credentials are saved to the browser. Here’s how you can do this with the most common mobile Web browsers.
Google Chrome (iOS / Android)
Tap the triple-dot menu icon on the upper right corner and go to “New Incognito Tab.”
Microsoft Edge (iOS / Android)
Tap the menu icon on the bottom left corner and go to “New InPrivate Tab.”
Tap and hold tabs icon on the far left of the bottom toolbar. Tap “Private” from the popup menu.
Firefox Focus (iOS / Android)
Because Chrome, Edge, and Safari frequently receive updates, the information above can become outdated if the update changes the location of the private browsing mode. If you have difficulty in finding it, you may also have your friend temporarily install the Firefox Focus app available on both Google Play and the iOS App Store. This browser has a private browsing session by default so you can directly proceed to logging into the service to find your device. Read on for the steps.
How to find your lost iPhone
On your browser, go to the official Find Devices website at https://www.icloud.com/find . Tap “Sign In” and enter your Apple ID and password. This should take you to a page where you can see all devices that use your Apple ID. Locate the name of your phone in the list and tap it. If the phone is online, you should be able to see its location on the map. If the phone is near your current location, tap the “Play Sound” button to have the device play a sound. If you turned off your device’s “Location Features,” you can enable it remotely by tapping the “Mark As Lost” button and following the instructions. This feature will also lock the phone behind your set passcode.
Locating Your Lost Android Phone
On your browser, go to https://www.google.com/android/find/ and sign into your Google account. After successful login, you should see a map with the device’s current location or last known location along with some phone icons on top of it. Tap the phone icon of your lost phone and go to “Play Sound” to force your device to play a loud sound to help find your lost phone if the map reports it nearby. If the device isn’t nearby, you can use the “Secure Device” option to display a custom message on the screen. This is useful for sending your contact information to whoever finds your device first.
If you run into problems locating your Android phone with the browser. Check if your friend has the Google Find My Device installed and run that instead. In the app, tap the “Sign in as guest” option and enter your Google account details there.
Closing the Session or Logging Out
Whether you found your lost phone or not, don’t forget to wipe your login credentials before returning the device to your friend. If you are browsing using a private browsing session, force closing the app should log out from your account. You can always make sure you are logged out by re-opening the browser go back to the Find Devices or Find My Device website and see if it redirects to the login page.
Haven’t lost your phone yet? Apply some of these tips to boost the odds of finding your phone if you lost it.
- If you are using an iPhone, consider updating to the latest iOS version if your phone is running iOS 14 or older. iOS 15 adds the ability to see the phone’s last known location which is useful if the lost iPhone ran out of battery.
- If your phone still uses a physical SIM card and it has eSIM support, contact or visit your mobile provider and request that you convert the SIM card into an eSIM. This keeps your mobile phone online and prevents potential thieves from interfering with the location tracking since they cannot take out an eSIM to disable the Internet.
- Use a strong lockscreen passcode in case you decide to set the device to “Lost Mode”. The last thing you want is a thief guessing that passcode which will likely remove all hope in finding your device.