Many travelers consider their cellphones essential when they’re on the road and rely on them for taking pictures, texting and finding their way around.
So what do you do if your phone gets lost, stolen or breaks when you’re abroad? Brandon Bogle, a cellphone expert for Asurion, a company that provides insurance for consumer electronics, has advice:
>> Turn on Find My Phone: Before you travel, Bogle said, be sure to turn on your device’s Find My Phone feature or similar service.
If you have an iPhone, go to Settings, tap on your name at the top of the Settings list, then tap iCloud, and look for Find My iPhone to confirm it’s on. Also, turn on Send Last Location. This will automatically send the phone’s location to iCloud any time that the iPhone’s battery is critically low.
If you have a device running Google’s Android mobile operating system, enable Find My Device in the device Settings under Security & Location. You can check that it’s working by visiting the Find Your Phone page in your Google Account.
>> Check with your carrier before you go: If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your carrier. They will temporarily suspend service to prevent anyone from racking up charges. If you pay for phone insurance, some carriers will ship a replacement phone or reimburse you for a repair done while you’re traveling.
>> Display emergency contact information on the lock screen: If possible, set your lock screen photo to your alternate phone number or email address.
In fact, recent Asurion research found that you’re three times more likely to get your phone back if you do this in the case of a lost phone. One way to display your information is by taking a picture of your contact information written on a piece of paper, and setting the photo as your lock-screen wallpaper.
Many devices allow you to set emergency contact info in the device settings to be displayed on your lock screen or emergency call screen. Similarly, you could lock the phone remotely using the Find My Phone or Find My Device feature, which lets you provide a message and phone number on the lock screen, allowing the device to make calls only to that number.