Tech Tip: Help your lost phone find its way back to you

Tech Tip: Help your lost phone find its way back to you
What if you could make one simple change to your phone that triples the chance you’ll get it back if it was lost?


In the summer of 2018, Asurion—one of the major providers of mobile phone insurance—purposefully “lost” mobile phones in three major cities to see if they would be returned. They discovered that phones with lock screens that displayed an “if found” message with a phone number were three times more likely to be returned!

Jeff Rossen, an NBC reporter, conducted a similar experiment to see if he’d get the same results. He “lost” ten phones, five with the message and five without. He quickly recovered all five of the phones with the messages, and not a single one of the others, despite his attempt to do so. (He kept calling the phones; all his calls went straight to voicemail.)

It’s easy to set up such a message on an Android, and a little more involved—but possible—on an iPhone.

Put contact info on your Android’s lock screen

The exact method depends on your phone’s manufacturer and version of Android, but this should work on any of the relatively recent versions of Android (Marshmallow, Nougat and Oreo):

Open your Settings, navigate to Security, and select Screen Lock. Click on the settings gear to on the right.
Select “Lock screen message” and type in whatever you want.


Put contact info on your iPhone’s lock screen

The iPhone doesn’t have a direct way to do it, but you can still get there from here by editing your wallpaper.

Step 1: Prepare your lock-screen wallpaper with the message you want to display.

  1. Launch Photos from your home screen and select a photo to use as your lock screen wallpaper.
  2. Tap the Edit button, then More, then Markup.
  3. Tap the text icon (it looks like a capital T in a white box). The word “Text” will appear in a box or bubble on the photo. Click on it, then click Edit.
  4. Type the words you want, then Done.
  5. You may also use the color menu the select the text color; pick one that will stand out against the photo.
  6. You can adjust the font and size by clicking on the aA button at the bottom of the photo on the right. Select the font you want and use the slider bar to change the font size. You can also select the justification (right, left, center, etc.) on that same screen.

Step 2: Set your marked-up picture to be your lock-screen wallpaper:

  1. Go to Settings | Wallpaper | Chose a new wallpaper.
  2. Choose your prepared photo and drag it to your home screen. (You may have to pinch or zoom for it to display well.) When it looks the way you want, tap Set.
  3. Select “Set Lock Screen”.

(Still think an iPhone is easier to use, LOL?)

Other good uses for lock-screen text

Here are some other things you may want to put on your lock screen:

  • ICE contact.
  • Medical alerts.
  • An offer of a reward for returning the phone.

©2019 by Shulman Clark Associates DBA Nimble Systems. All rights reserved.