Here’s how quickly your smartphone can become someone else’s, without you even realising it. Watch closely.

 

 

Unfortunately there are a lot of half-truths and myths published online surrounding smart phone recovery, which most people don’t discover until its too late. Many of us have read dramatic stories in the media of people tracking down their smartphones and recovering them. In truth, that represents a small minority of cases.

Most thieves will immediately put your phone into Flight mode, which renders all of your tracking apps useless. Other security features you may have heard of – or be relying upon – like Activation Lock for the iPhone, can also be defeated if you know how. Again, these type of things you only tend to discover after your phone is stolen.

When my iPhone was stolen it was a case of running into one dead end after another: I’ll send a push message to the phone or remotely erase it. The phone never came online again. Surely the phone carrier will block the iPhone’s IMEI number on their network. No. Apple will tag the phone I bought online from them as stolen if I give them a police report. No. A second hand dealer will check the register of IMEI numbers of stolen phones and turn it in. It didn’t happen. And I later discovered IMEI numbers can be illegally changed anyway.

As it turns out, I had been way overestimating the likelihood of recovering my stolen phone. In fact, even after I realised it had been stolen, I wasn’t even super stressed because I figured I had so many options or ways of recovering it. I was wrong.

Slowly I began to discover all of the things I wish I’d known before it was stolen.

In iPhone Travel Life and Android Travel Life I outline the things you can do to minimise the risk of your smartphone being stolen, and what you can do if it is. (The best thing you can do is to be prepared.) Insurance and AppleCare are also covered in detail so you can decide if they’re worth it for you. Finally, these books also explain how to minimise the loss of any data and be up and running again quickly if you do lose your phone.

iPhone Travel Life and Android Travel Life will be published in April 2016.