Missing Android phone

Find a Missing Android Phone With a Dead Battery

Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling that comes when you think you’ve lost your phone? In today’s world losing your phone can be a level 10 disaster, on par or worse than losing your wallet or keys.

For Android users, there are a host of apps available on the Google Play store which can help you track your phone if you’ve accidentally left it somewhere or even worse if it has been stolen. However, the problem with these apps is that the majority of people don’t even notice they exist until after their phone is missing. And what if your phone’s battery has died?  At that point, you may have to face the fact it is gone for good. Or do you?

Use Lookout Mobile

Unfortunately a phone with a dead battery will not respond to attempts to locate it via GPS.  Lookout Mobile’ automatically records your android phone’s last known location just before the battery runs dead.  Then it’s simply a matter of logging on to their website from a computer or another mobile device to see the location on a map.  Outside of retracing your steps, this app gives you the best chance of finding your lost device once the battery has died.

But what if you didn’t have Lookout mobile installed prior to losing your phone?  What many android users don’t realize is that it may still be possible to track your smart phone even if you haven’t installed a specific app designed to do just that. Here are a few different ways to find a missing android phone even if you haven’t installed a tracking app:

Use Google’s Android device managermi

If you have connected your phone to your Google account then you may be in luck. Google’s android device manager allows users to log in to their Google account and track their missing phone on a laptop or a different smart phone. The only requirement for locating the phone is that it must be switched on and connected to the Internet. If it isn’t working initially, keep trying as your missing phone may just be temporarily out of coverage. Users can also ring their phone, and wipe the data on their phone if necessary.

Use Android Lost

This is a slightly more complicated method which can be used if Google’s android device manager can’t locate your phone. In order to use Android Lost you must first install the app remotely using Google Play in your browser. To do this your phone must already be connected with your Google account. As you can’t activate the app by opening it on your device, you must send an SMS containing the text ‘Androidlost register’ to your lost phone. This will register your details remotely using your Google account.

You can then navigate to the android lost website and sign in using those details. Once signed in, you are presented with a host of options including; tracking the location of your device, wiping the memory, erasing the SD card, taking a picture using the front or rear camera, and many other features to help you get your device back.

Use location history

Another method, which can be employed to track your missing smart phone, is using the location history feature on Google maps. Simply log on to your Google account (which must also be used on your smart phone) and go to Google maps location history. Here you can select a date and click ‘display timestamps’ to see where your device has been and when it was there. This method can be very useful if your device was stolen. The reason is it can paint a picture of where the thief regularly visits. Not to mention, this information can be presented to the local authorities.

Use Samsung’s Find My Mobile

This method can be used by anyone who owns a Samsung device with a registered Samsung account. Working in a similar way to Google android device manager, the Samsung Find My Mobile website can display a real-time location of your device as long as it is powered on and connected to the Internet. You can also wipe the data on your device or make it ring using this software.

Use Dropbox

If the other methods have failed to provide any information as to the whereabouts of your device, Dropbox may be able to provide a solution. In order for this to work, Dropbox must be installed on your device and the ‘camera upload’ feature must be activated. If you do this, every time the person in possession of your device takes a picture it will be uploaded to Dropbox. This may help you if that person takes a selfie or even if you can make out the location where the pictures have been taken. This is where you hope they use your phone’s Micro USB port to send the selfies to their computers, as well.

Many of us store personal information on our smart phone, as well as pictures and other sentimental data that we don’t want to lose. If you are unfortunate and your device is either lost or stolen, hopefully the above information can help you find it or at the very least protect your personal data.

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3 Comments

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  1. the heading of this page is finding an android with a dead battery. wondering which of these actually works with a dead battery. battery use isn’t mentioned after the heading.

    • Hi Kelly, Thank you for pointing that out. Unfortunately a phone with a dead battery is not able to be located using GPS. Unless the phone owner had previously installed an app like Lookout mobile, there’s not much that can be done. We’ve updated the article to reflect this. Sorry we couldn’t be of more help and hope you find your phone!

  2. I came home at 10 PM after a long day of travel and thought the phone was in my house, but misplaced, but I wanted to confirm. I knew the phone was still working when I arrived home but expected that the battery might have powered down around 10:15 PM. This article confirmed the phone was in my house. If the battery powered down in flight or driving back from the airport, these options wouldn’t confirm the phone was in my house.

    This article overwhelmed me with the number of options (6 plus additional apps in the Google Store) and didn’t include easy hyperlinks for a few of the options. I agree – try 2 or 3 of these solutions before you lose the phone.
    Start with 2 and then 1 or 5. For #2, https://google.com/android/devicemanager worked very well and easily and fortunately I remembered which google account & the password. Option 1 showed a location from an hour before the battery died.

    When my Note 4 powers down, I can typically turn it back on for about 2 minutes to quickly look up an address or send a text. I wondered if I can turn the phone on remotely. So I called my carrier. The CSR wanted to walk through locating the phone but then told me you can only locate Apple Phones which is not true. He transferred me to technical support for the turn on remotely question. Technical support wanted to walk me through #2, but said the phone can only be turned off or wiped remotely. This article helped me evaluate the quality of the responses I received from both the CSR (poor) and TSR (very good).

    My carrier said that it would not know where the last location of the phone was which isn’t entirely true because it communicates with a carrier device to help signal quality within my house, so I could have checked my logs. But Option 2 was ample.

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