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The Computer Corner

COMPUTERS

By Charles Miller

 

Did You Lost Your Cell Phone?

 

Earlier I related the story of losing my cell phone, and undoubtedly some readers will be quick to tell me that the subject of this week’s column is what I should have written about first. What I am about to describe this week actually is the second thing I did after losing my phone. The first thing I did was to try calling my cell phone from a pay phone. Hope springs eternal, and whoever had my phone might have answered, but no.

The two most popular Operating Systems for smart phones are Android by Google and iOS by Apple. Both companies have features that can help you to keep track of your phone or tablet and protect your personal information by locking or erasing the device. Essential to being able to take advantage of these features is setting up your account before your device is lost.

If your smart phone is an Android device, you should go to google.com/android/devicemanager and log in using the same Google account username and password you use for the phone. Here is where you will find an icon with the name of your phone, such as Samsung or Nokia. Below that are found tools to help you to view your phone’s location on the map, change the pass code remotely, or erase it remotely.

If your phone is lost you might be able to find it after you start it ringing for five minutes, and it will ring at high volume even with its ringer set to muted. When you lock the phone remotely there is an option to have the lost phone display a message, such as “Generous reward! Call 101-8528.” Anyone finding your phone will not be able to use it but might call if they see that message.

If you know your phone was stolen rather than lost it is probably a wasted effort to do this. Tech-savvy thieves are now using Faraday shield bags that block GSM and cell phone signals so that neither you nor the police can track which way they ran after they robbed you.

Owners of iPhones or iPads are also able to do all of the above. Open a web browser to www.iCloud.com. Log in using your AppleID username and password. On the main screen click on “Find my iPhone” to see a list of all the Apple devices you own and maybe some you no longer have. Choose your device from the drop down at the top of the window. Now you may click on “Play Sound” to make the phone ring, lock the phone, or erase its data.

I should probably mention also that Microsoft makes Windows phones so if you own one of these, you should visit your Microsoft Account to familiarize yourself with the options for finding a lost phone.

Remember, using any of these features described here requires you to set up the lock and erase functionality before you lose your phone! Also time is of the essence when a phone is lost because you need to make use of these recovery options before the battery in the phone has had time to run down.

Charles Miller is a freelance computer consultant, a frequent visitor to San Miguel since 1981, and now practically a full-time resident. He may be contacted at 044 415 101 8528 or email FAQ8 (at) SMAguru.com.

 

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