The Info-graphic below is fun piece of trivia showing some great stats on how, why and where phones going missing. Now, most of the stats are US based but I doubt if our Overseas cousins are much different to us Brits and how we treat our phones

Two thirds of phones are lost between 9pm and 2 am, not sure thats much of a surprise.  I have heard to many stories of ‘good’ nights ending with a fuzzy head and a lost phone. This is further ratified  by the fact that the Mancunian’s are the worst at looking after their phones, and no amount of Rice (see later) would help the four people who loose their phones at Niagara every day.

Joking aside, there is a serious matter going on here as most phones are no longer just a dumb communication device they are serious business tools, there may be things you can do to mitigate the issue of losing a phone but you need to consider the issues first.

  • Handset cost: Your phones may have cost you very little when you took out your contract, but if you loose your phone mid contract it could easily cost you over £300 to renew.  You may think it is covered by your insurance but I would not make that assumption, check the small print and if you are un happy perhaps look at some of thee specialised insurances that are now available or offered through your phone company.
  • Its Contents, could you live without it: Your phone now contains a lot more than just a list of numbers, take my phone for instance, it has all my contacts, email, documents, literature, music, photos, movies and apps.  Thank fully all my data is in constant sync with Google (Contacts, Emails, Photos, Apps and some Documents), Dropbox (Documents), Amazon (Literature), My desktop Mac (Music and Movies). So at worst it is the inconvenience of losing a phone as all my data is safely tucked away somewhere. I expect most of you are already doing this Sync/Backup just through the type of phone you have, but you may just want to check your settings to make sure things are happening as you would expect.  Try accessing your data from another device to confirm the data is syncing/backing up.
  • Its Contents, is it safe:  Should you be worried about security?  This is really a case of where the phone ends up, my phone is certainly not an under wraps R&D device so I am not worried about losing the actual device unlike a poor Apple employee who lost a pre-release iphone 4, nor do I think that the data on it could be monetised by the lucky finder but that is my phone, even so I still have a password on my phone, yes its sometimes annoying to have to go through that initial process but in the end better safe than sorry.
  • The Apps, are they safe: Your phone is probably a gateway to both your business and personal life that you live out on the web through the various apps on your phone, in most cases to make it easier for you the apps don’t request you to enter a password again, ask infrequently or are constantly running in the background making sure you get updates.  This means that anyone with your phone has possible access to, not just your on phone data, but also your LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, Twitter, blogs, forums etc.  and of course they are not just receiving data as you they are able to send it as well.  Being realistic the phone again has to hit the wrong hands for this to be an issue but  again better safe than sorry password protect your phone.

So what should you do if you lose your phone

  • Ring it, you may find it down the back of a sofa or a good samaritan has picked it up and will happily return it.
  • Text it, being in a variable coverage area I often find my phone will connect intermittently enough to receive an SMS but not a call.
  • The Apple iPhone has a ‘Find My iPhone’ service that once you log onto via the website will allow you to track your iPhone and make it ring.  The beauty of this service is that the Phone just needs to be connected to the internet either by Mobile or Wifi.  Android based phones do not have such a comprehensive Find Me system built in but there are plenty available through the market place.  In addition Googles Latitude service will locate your phone to an area so you can at least see if you have left it somewhere specific.
  • Re trace your steps.
  • If none of that works and you fear your phone has been taken then call your mobile phone operator and have the phone blocked ASAP.
  • If you are going to try and claim on your insurance you may need a police incident number, so register the loss with the police.

What can you do to improve your chances of getting it back or dealing with the issue in the best way possible.

  • Make sure your phone has a password, if you are in charge of a business phone then you may be able to centrally manage your phones making a password a prerequisite to logging into your email and systems. Making the phone part of your system also means you have more control over the data allowing you to block access and perform remote wipes.
  • On Android install a piece of tracking software, on your iPhone make sure it is working with ‘Find My Phone’.
  • If you can, show another contact number on your lock screen so that if your phone is picked up by a good samaritan they have a contact point.
  • Contrary to what you may think don’t show your address on the phone and do not have home as a favourite in your GPS.  If your phone gets into the wrong hands it could lead that person straight to your door.  This was an old trick car thieves would do when they stole a car, they would follow the GPS home knowing that you were not in!

What about mishaps!!

  • Broken screens: Most screens can be replaced, even the difficult ones such as iPhones. There are a lot of how too’s on the web.
  • When you upgrade keep your old phone handy, as most of your accounts should already exist on the old phone it should just be a case of charging up and letting it sync.
  • Rice!!! A wet phone may be bought back to life if its put in a bowl of rice, the rice will draw the moisture out of the electrics.

I have never lost a phone, but at the same time I am touching wood just in case.  Be Safe