Have you ever successfully located your lost device using its GPS?

Anna Scantlin
Contributing Editor from  Kansas City, MO
| Published: January 17, 2013


I presume that most of us, at one point or another, have lost our phone somewhere. Sometimes we’re lucky and it turns out to be under a misplaced book or an article of clothing, or even in our own back pocket. But have you ever run out of places to look for your phone and turned to using the GPS on the device to help you find it?

I’ve always had the “Find My iPhone” app on my phone, but have never really considered that it would be that useful for me. If it was stolen and shows up at somebody’s house, I’m pretty sure they’re not going to admit to an angry young lady who shows up at their door accusing them about stealing her phone. Should my phone ever get stolen or lost somewhere in this big world, I’m pretty sure the only thing my app can do for me is give me closure as to knowing where my phone ended up at the end of the day, and knowing my information in the device itself is safe with a remote wipe. I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to call up the police and have them try and find my cell phone when I’m sure they have more important things to do.

Another GPS locating tool I once used was the Sprint Family Locator, which I actually subscribed to for a while in order to serve the same purpose – finding my phone. I actually did use the Family Locator once in order to find my missing HTC Hero after a shopping trip all over town, although it showed up as being at my apartment. I never did find it, even after moving out. That will forever remain a mystery, and sometimes I still lose sleep at night because of it. After that, I decided that paying $5/mo. for a locator that didn’t remotely turn on any sounds or notifications on the actual device to assist the search really didn’t do me much good. (Yes, I do realize the locator was meant to keep tabs on family members, but I thought I was being clever.)

That was about the time I found Lookout Mobile, which seemed to have done more harm than good for my device but to its credit it did find my phone twice during the time I had it installed. Unfortunately the app, or perhaps the app and my device combined, really seemed to slow down my device after installation. Lookout was uninstalled within six months of downloading. After taking a second look at the app some time later, it seems to have made some impressive improvements (like being able to ping your location one last time before the battery completely dies), so don’t take my word on an app that I was using two years ago.

While I’ve never heard of anybody I personally know successfully going to somebody’s house to retrieve a phone that somehow ended up there (because that’s sketchy and not very safe) I have heard of smaller scale victories where they accidentally left/dropped their phone in the trunk of their car while putting away groceries, or dropped between the seats in the car and a GPS locator let them know to stop searching their house for their phone and start rummaging through their car.

What I want to know, dear reader, is if you’ve ever successfully found your lost phone via its GPS locator? Would you have ever found it had it not been for the GPS? Let me know your lost and found stories in the comments below!