Carol Keers and I were at an Orange Bowl game when Carol realized her iPhone had fallen from her pocket in the restroom. It was not there when she returned three minutes later. Talking to Lost & Found, she described the phone. They said the phone was not distinguishable from any of the hundreds of lost phones they receive, but they would contact us if they found one based on the description on the form she completed.
Seeing someone looking for a lost phone dramatizes how central the phone has become to our lives. I have talked before about keeping your phone secure with good passwords and how to clear your phone if it gets in the wrong hands. Both are important.
The New York Times had an article (3-May-19) about how to return a phone that someone else has lost. Some options include:
- Look inside the case for a name or contact information.
- Some people place “In Case of Emergency” (I.C.E) on their lock-screen or address book. On an iPhone press and hold a volume button and power button at the same time to open the emergency information.
- Voice Assist is available by default on most phones. You can push the “Siri” button (or equivalent) and say “ICE” or “Call Mom” or some other possible entry in the address book. If it rings, tell them you found the lost phone.
- If all else fails, turn it into the police or a corporate phone store. If it is Verizon go to a Verizon store, or to an AT&T store for that network. You can normally see along the top edge of the phone which network the phone uses.
Give them a chance to find you
Before you lose your phone, you can do some things to help a good Samaritan find you. Put your name and a way to contact you on a label inside your phone case (or outside) or put information on your lock screen.
You can enter your emergency settings on your phone with contact information to reach in case of emergency. The iPhone built-in health app provides a way to add and edit emergency information. You can also go to SETTINGS > EMERGENCY SOS to see or set up contacts. Most Android phones offer a download of the “QuickICE” app for your phone. This is a good idea for other emergencies beyond losing your phone.*
You can add your name to your lock screen so people will know it is your phone without having to open it. You can also include who to contact in case of loss. (The picture shows the lock screen on my iPhone.)
You can take a photo you want on your lock screen and add text to it while in your photo directory. There are a number of phone apps that allow you to add text to a photo in your phone. If you are not familiar with such an app, talk to a Social Media person like your teenager. (Alternatively, create a picture on your computer and import it to the phone.)
Once you have the image with the text in your photos, you can send it to your lock screen – it will be there to help a good Samaritan find you. Including an I.C.E. entry in your contacts is also a good idea for a number of reasons in addition to finding your phone.
*NOTE: Phone applications are continually changing. Please check with your phone manufacturer for the latest instructions.