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How to “Steal proof” your mobile phone

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A stolen smartphone can easily ruin your whole day, though our smartphones built-in anti-theft software seems to work just fine, according to some recent research reports, a significant 50% drop in phone-related robberies from 2013 to 2016 was cited after the passage of the Smartphone Theft Prevention Act. But still, thieves have found a workaround, a good phone being stolen also gives the thief access to photos, password and more.

The legislation particularly requires manufacturers like Google and Apple to include theft-deterring software. Most of it is packaged in the form of activation locks and remote device erasure system. It’s already on your phone, and it’s incredibly easy to make sure it’s actually on. There’s also a feature which can make your phone ring, or erased on the go.

iOS: Find My iPhone

Every iPhone associated with an iCloud account features both Find My iPhone, which lets you track your device’s most recent known location, and Activation Lock, a feature which will prompt you to enter the associated username and password on the device to use it further. If you’re selling your phone or gifting the device to a friend, you can easily turn Activation Lock off after both turning Find My iPhone off and removing your iCloud account from the device itself. If your phone is stolen, Activation Lock will make sure the thief is never able to associate the phone with their own account, practically making it a useless slab of glass and aluminum.

How to enable Find My iPhone

You will find it under Settings > Apple ID, then proceed to select the device you’re using. From there you can simply enable or disable Find My iPhone, and view your currently lost device (if any). You’ll also need to enable the location access for Find My iPhone app. You can turn it on in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Android: Find My Device

Find My Device is Google’s device tracking software, it’s accessible in your phone’s settings page. Open Settings > Google > Security, simply turn on “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase.” From here, you can locate your device from any browser you’re signed into. Just Google “find my phone” and if your Find My Device is enabled, it should display its latest location.

Prior to enabling, you’ll also need to unhide your device from Google Play. Visit Google Play’s settings page and you can toggle your device’s visibility there.

If your thief happens to factory reset the device in order to claim it for their own, they’ll have to prove they’re you but inputting your details and account password. According to Google, you can sign in with any Google Account previously added and sync to the device as an account or user, but the device cannot be signed in as a guest. If you can’t give provide already associated account’s information during setup, you won’t be able to use the device at all after the factory reset, which again, will leave the device pretty useless.

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