A few days ago, I was wearing a dress that didn’t have pockets large enough to fit my cell phone. My friend offered to hold my phone for me so that I could still have a free hand while using my blindness cane and not worry about leaving my phone somewhere, and I graciously accepted their offer. In a humorous twist, my friend ended up putting my phone down momentarily in the student center and forgot about it, so my phone was left somewhere after all. Thankfully, I was able to track the location of my phone quickly using another friend’s deivce, and today I will be sharing how to locate a lost cell phone with technology, inclusive of smartphones and feature phones (also known as flip phones or non-smartphone cell phones).
Amazon Alexa/Amazon Echo users can enable the “Find My Phone” skill that will trigger a phone call to the phone so the user can locate it more easily- this can be any type of mobile phone, including iPhone, Android, and feature phones. When users enable the skill for the first time, they will need to recite their phone number and then read out a four-digit verification code that’s sent via text. Once the skill is set up, users can call their phone by saying “Alexa, find my phone.”
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- Mainstream Technology and Low Vision: Feature Phones/Landline Phones
Google Find My Device
When my phone went missing when I was doing laundry, I used Google Find My Device to pinpoint the exact location of my phone, including what room it was in, and turn the ringer to maximum volume so that I could find it more easily. Users who are logged into their Google account can type “find my phone” into the Google searchbar and confirm their account password to access Find My Device. Location services must be enabled on the phone for this feature to work.
With Google Find My Device, users can perform the following functions:
- Call phone
- Turn up the volume of the device
- Set off an alarm
- Lock phone
- Erase data (helpful if the phone is stolen)
- Download Google Find My Device
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- Choosing A Phone Case With Low Vision
Find iPhone (or iPad)
For people that use iCloud or that have multiple Apple devices, Find My 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, and the app will pinpoint the precise location of the device. While Location Services will need to be enabled to set up the app, Find My can track devices that have been turned off or that have low battery for up to 24 hours.
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- Mainstream Technology and Low Vision: Smartphones
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 volunteer in a minute or less. The sighted volunteer uses your device’s camera to view your surroundings, and can guide you to help you find your missing phone. The service is free, anonymous, and available 24/7.
- How I Use Be My Eyes With Low Vision
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Other tips for how to locate a missing phone
- Choose a phone case or device color that doesn’t match any other common surfaces in your home/work environment- for example, if you have a white duvet cover and white desk, a white phone might blend in and be difficult to locate if left on one of these surfaces.
- As soon as you notice your phone is missing, I recommend locking the device using the Find My app to ensure that the device isn’t accessed by anyone else
- When getting a new phone, document the IMEI number in a safe location, as this can be used to track a stolen phone