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Protecting your mobile phone against theft

However, there are some simple steps that you can take to protect your mobile phone against theft including:

  • use the security features provided
  • be aware of your surroundings
  • know how to identify it when the phone is stolen

Security features

Most mobile phones have a range of security features that are intended to stop anyone else accessing and using them should they be stolen. These security features include:

  • requiring access control such as a unique code (a PIN, password or some form of pattern) orbiometric authentication (such as fingerprint or facial recognition) to be entered on the user interface of your handset to unlock it
  • tracing the location of your handset using a remote service
  • wiping data from, or locking your handset remotely (for example, by using another internet enabled device)
  • a function to display a home/lock screen message to someone who may find your handset to help you recover it.
  • preventing thieves from simply resetting your handset to its factory setting in order to bypass any unique codes or other security features that you are using to protect your handset

You can find more information about your phone’s security features in the following places:

Apple
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT5818(opens in a new window)
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT5883(opens in a new window)
https://support.apple.com/en-gb/HT201472(opens in a new window)
Blackberry
For BlackBerry 10 devices
http://helpblog.blackberry.com/2015/06/getting-started-with-anti-theft-protection-in-blackberry-10-os-version-10-3-2/(opens in a new window)
https://help.blackberry.com/en/blackberry-protect/1.3/help/als1343420540228.html(opens in a new window)
https://protect.blackberry.com(opens in a new window)
For earlier Blackberry devices
https://appworld.blackberry.com/webstore/content/20844/?lang=eng(opens in a new window)
Huawei
https://consumer.huawei.com/en/support/index.htm(opens in a new window)
https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/2824802?hl=en(opens in a new window)
HTC
https://www.htc.com/uk/smartphones/(opens in a new window)
https://www.google.co.uk/android/devicemanager(opens in a new window)
LG
https://www.lg.com/uk/support(opens in a new window)
https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager(opens in a new window)
Samsung
https://www.samsung.com/uk/support(opens in a new window)
Sony
http://support.sonymobile.com/global-en/xperiaz3plus/userguide/Resetting-your-device/(opens in a new window)
http://support.sonymobile.com/global-en/xperiaz3/kb/0231018807c614a08013cec540b5700749d/(opens in a new window)
http://support.sonymobile.com/global-en/xperiaz3/kb/801930740459b7de40150830a2e050065bb/(opens in a new window)
Windows Phone
https://www.windowsphone.com/en-us/how-to/wp8/basics/tips-to-help-keep-my-phone-secure(opens in a new window)

Knowing how to identify your mobile phone if it is stolen

You need to know more than the model and colour of your handset. Each mobile phone manufactured for use in the UK has a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity number (IMEI) hardwired into it during the manufacturing process. Knowing the IMEI will help the police and insurance companies identify your handset should it be stolen. UK network operators will also prevent a stolen phone from working across their respective networks if they know its IMEI.

You can find your handset’s IMEI by:

  • typing *#06# into the keypad or dialer of your handset
  • looking inside the battery or SIM card compartment of your handset
  • looking on the side of the box, or on the associated paperwork, that you received when purchasing the handset

Being aware of your surroundings when using your mobile phone

Here are three simple things to consider in order to protect your handset from opportunist thieves:

  • busy locations such as concert venues, shopping centres, and public transport (where close contact with others is normal) are popular places for pickpockets, especially if your handset is visible in an open bag, or hanging out of your back pocket
  • thinking about when you use your phone – outside underground stations can be popular venues for snatch theft, as people instinctively get their handsets out to check for signal and any missed calls
  • don’t leave your handset unattended in public places – you would not leave your wallet unattended, but a surprising number of people leave their mobile phone on the table while they go to the bar to order a drink, or go to the toilet
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