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Disaster strikes: you have lost your phone!

After returning from lunch, you notice that your phone is not in your pocket anymore. Looking around for a while, it seems that you cannot find your phone anywhere. It might be stolen; it might simply be lost. The only thing you know, it's not with you anymore.

To simulate this disaster, store your phone in a drawer. For extra disaster points, power down the phone. During this scenario, you are not allowed to use your phone.

Answer me this:
  1. Do you have a way to retrieve your phone? For instance, through find-my-phone or similar software?
  2. How long did it take for you to locate your phone through this software? What would you do if you didn't have immediate access to the internet?
  3. Suppose your phone is shut down or non-responsive. What would you be missing that you cannot find on backups? Think about email, photos, memos, and notes?
  4. Suppose you lost your phone in a spot that you are unfamiliar with, like a foreign airport or a city where you happen to be visiting. Who would you contact, and how (do you know their phone number by heart, or have another way to find this info?).
  5. Are you prepared for this scenario when it happens for real?

How to prepare for disaster:
  • Install or set up software to track your phone online
  • iPhone users can set up "Find my" in their iCloud account: https://www.apple.com/icloud/find-my/
    Android users could use the standard google functionality at https://myaccount.google.com/find-your-phone, or use custom software solutions like Cerberus: https://www.cerberusapp.com.

  • Have a backup of the phone numbers of your primary contacts
  • It's good to either remember or write down a list of primary contact's phone numbers if you need to call them without having their phone numbers, for instance, when you use somebody else's phone or maybe a payphone. Keep them in your wallet, or somewhere you could easily reach online. Remember that you probably need to fetch this information without your phone.

  • Backup your data
  • Both Android and iPhone have backup functionality built-in but might need a subscription. Make sure you check if the backups are active from time to time. For instance, check your photos in the backup and see if they match your phone's latest photos. Often, backup software only works in the presence of a WiFi connection.

Problems or questions?
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