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9 ways to lock down your iPhone or Android device before it goes missing

Ben Patterson | Feb. 11, 2015
You know that icy stab of panic when you suddenly realize your Android phone or iPhone isn't safe in your pocket where it should be?

It's a smart idea, but what if your lost Android phone or tablet is in Airplane mode or otherwise out of wireless range? If that happens, sending a rescue message with your name and number won't do much good.

Instead, try this: Add a message to your device's lock screen now, before it gets lost — a message with your name, a phone number (not the number of your missing mobile, of course), an email address, or another reliable means of reaching you.

Just tap Settings > Security > Owner info, and enter the text of the message. On pre-Lollipop phones, you'll also need to check the box next to Show owner info on lock screen.

8. Set your iPhone/iPad to send a "ping" to Apple just before its battery dies [iOS]

Here's the last gasp for a missing iPhone or iPad that's run out of juice, leaving it unable to send a "ping" to Find My iPhone. Tap Settings > iCloud > Find my iPhone (or iPad), then switch on the Send Last Location setting.

As the fine print below the setting points out, your handheld will send out a final ping — complete with location data — to Apple's servers, so at least you'll know where your iPhone or iPad was before it died.

9. Hide notifications from the lock screen [Android "Lollipop" and iOS]

Lock-screen notifications make for an easy way to check your e-mail, text messages, calendar events, and other mobile goings-on without having to unlock your iPhone or Android phone.

Unfortunately, they also make it easy for perfect strangers to read your messages and otherwise take a peek at your digital life.

If you don't want just anyone — and particularly smartphone thieves — combing through your notifications, you might want to preemptively hide them from your lock screen.

For Android "Lollipop": Tap Settings > Sounds and notification, then tap the When device is locked setting. From here, you can choose from three options: Show all notification content, Hide sensitive notification content (which, for example, still flashes alerts for new email but doesn't display subject lines or contents), and Don't show notifications at all.

For iOS: Unfortunately, hiding all notifications from the lock screen isn't nearly as easy on iOS as it is for Android. Essentially, you're going to have to check each app that offers notifications and see if lock-screen notifications are enabled — ugh. Tap Settings > Notifications, tap an app in the Include list, and make sure Show on Lock Screen isn't switched on.


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