How to Prepare for a Lost, Stolen or Broken Smartphone


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The average smartphone contains so much of one’s personal life — photos, list of contacts, calendar, email, digital wallet — that the loss of that handy slab of glass and metal can be highly disruptive and disorienting. You may never have to face this situation, but you would be wise to plan for it, especially if you have children with their own phones.

Here’s a guide to what you can do before and after you lose or break your phone.

A sturdy drop-resistant case and a screen protector are starters for safeguarding your phone from physical damage. Wirecutter, a product review site owned by The New York Times, has case recommendations for iPhones.

A lost phone can be a security risk, so make sure you have facial or fingerprint recognition enabled and a strong passcode in place to lock the screen.

Your phone’s location services feature can also help you find the device if you lose it, so make sure to enable location in your Android or iOS settings if you’ve turned it off. Remember, you can adjust the access apps have to your location in the settings for privacy.

Keeping a copy of your phone’s identification numbers is useful for filing police reports and identifying lost or stolen devices.Credit…Google

Keep a record of the phone’s identification numbers (the serial number and International Mobile Equipment Identity number) in case you need the information later to file a police report. You can find the numbers in the settings or by dialing *#06# on the phone’s keypad. Take a screenshot and send it your computer for safekeeping.

Buying insurance or extended warranty coverage for your phone costs money up front, but it can bring benefits like 24/7 support, low-cost repairs and same-day replacements for unusable devices.

If you’re not sure you need insurance, factor in how long you intend to keep the phone, how you use the device and if you can afford out-of-pocket repairs. In some cases, the insurance can cost more than the repair, so read the warranty or policy closely before investing in it.

Longtime iPhone users are probably familiar with Apple’s prompts to sign up for its AppleCare coverage plans on a new device, but Google and…