May 9, 2012

Quick Guide: How to Use Plan B to Find Your Lost Phone

Many of us have felt the pain of losing our most valuable accessory, have seen a friend panic because they misplaced their phone and it’s on silent, or have heard an announcement over a loud speaker asking if anyone has found a lost phone. If you find yourself in one of these desperate situations, you could be in luck. You can download Plan B, an innovative app that can help you find your phone after it goes missing!

While “Plan A” is not losing your phone, (or already having a find my phone app like Lookout), Plan B is your last resort to locating your Android device.

Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to use Plan B to find your Android device if it goes missing:

  • Go to Google Play (formerly know as the Android Market). Make sure you visit the desktop web version, not the Google Play app on your phone, and search for Plan B, or go directly to the Plan B page.
  • Click Install. Plan B will then begin to remotely download on your phone.
  • As soon as it is finished installing (which does require a data connection), Plan B will send an email to your Gmail account telling you it is locating your phone.
  • Once Plan B has located your phone, check your Gmail again to find a link to a Google Map of your phone’s location. For 10 minutes Plan B will send you a series of emails with refined location updates – so be patient!
  • If your phone seems to be on the move, or you aren’t able to find your phone within 10 minutes of downloading Plan B, you can text yourself the word “locate” from a friend’s phone in order to start the locate process again.

While Plan B can locate your phone, it unfortunately can’t go and retrieve it for you. So if you find that your phone is in a location you are not familiar with, please contact the authorities who will be able to help you get it back.

If you want to be even more prepared, your “Plan A” should always be Lookout. That way, if your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can log into your Lookout account at lookout.com and locate your phone on a map, then make it ‘scream’ once you get close! If you need help with Plan B, email our support team at support [at] lookout [dot] com.

Click to enlarge

30 comments
  1. Phillip Reschly says:

    This is Phillip’s Cricket telephone. If found please call Juanita Broughman who will direct me as far as how to get it back from you. Thank you very much.

  2. Jose Herrera says:

    This app rocks works great. Trying plan b now to recover stolen phone from home burglary hope we catch these dirty rats!!

    • Amy says:

      @Jose, thanks for reaching out. It’s great to hear that you’re using Plan B to find your stolen phone–we recommend contacting the police when you learn the phone’s location, they will be able to help you safely retrieve it. Keep us posted!

  3. Sarah says:

    Will it work if the battery is dead?? I’ve already installed about 3 times, but have received nothing via email!!

    • Amy says:

      @Sarah, thanks for reaching out. In order for Plan B to locate your phone, your device will need to be powered on and have a connection (WiFi or data network). If you have any questions, please let us know: feedback@mylookout[dot]com. Thanks!

  4. Dallas K says:

    OMG!!! Couldn’t find my phone. My dad is dying and it is the only way my family has of contacting me. I used “PLAN B” to locate my phone. It was easy and accurate and I am soooooo thankful. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! I will tell EVERYONE! Dallas

    • Amy says:

      @Dallas, thanks very much for your message. We’re so glad to hear you used Plan B to locate your phone when it went missing! We’d love to hear the full story, if you have a moment, please send us a message to: superusers@mylookout[dot]com. Thanks again!

  5. PeterB says:

    Amy
    Will the app install if the phone is dead? I can’t tell if my phone is dead because i changed the phone number to another phone. I also can’t text my lost phone. I did install Plan B and it states it installed, but I haven’t received any notifications to my gmail account. Thanks!

    • Amy says:

      @Peter, thanks for your question. In order for Plan B to install, the phone must be turned on and have a connection (WiFi or network). However, if you initiate Plan B to download to your phone and it is turned on/receives a connection at a later time, Plan B will begin to install. Unfortunately, to locate your phone after the initial locate attempt at installation you need to be able to text your device. If you have any other questions, our team would be glad to help: support@mylookout[dot]com. Thank you.

  6. Franck says:

    Thank you! The results were fine-grained enough that I found my phone outside the house in some bushes. I must have dropped it bringing in groceries. Thank you!

  7. Ian says:

    I never received an email! I have 4G connection and lost the phone with GPS on while pattern locked. Goodbye Galaxy Note…

  8. Matt says:

    Is there any way that this will install on a phone even ive the thieves have changed the sim?

    • @Matt, that’s an excellent question! Plan B requires a data connection to download. If the SIM card is removed and there is no saved WiFi hot spot nearby, then it won’t work until the next time the device connects to the internet. Please email our support team if you ever need help! Support [at] mylookout [dot] com.
      best, RT

  9. Danny says:

    Hi. I’m trying to use Plan B to locate my lost HTC One X. It’s powered on and has a data connection, but i’m not receiving any e-mails to my gmail account which is linked to the phone. I’ve also sent myself a text from a friends phone saying locate to try and prompt it into running, but nothing. I tested it with a Galaxy S2 and it worked perfectly. Any suggestions?

    • @Danny,
      Thanks for letting us know that Plan B didn’t work with your One X. We’ll look into it; It might be a conflict with Ice Cream Sandwich Android 4.0 operating system.
      best, RT

  10. Ron says:

    Hi – my wife lost her phone somewhere in our neighborhood last night. We used Lookout Mobile Plan B and it provided a specific street address a few blocks away. I went to the address this morning and the person told me through the door that he didn’t find/have our phone. My question – how accurate is the service? If it gives me a specific address (as it did last night) how confident should I be in that feedback? Should I be contacting the authorities to help? Please advise ASAP. Thanks

    • @Ron, sorry to hear about your wife’s lost phone! If GPS location services are turned on, then we can usually locate your phone down to a few meters. If GPS is not turned on, we determine the phone’s location by the cell tower, which is generally accurate to within 1000 meters, or by your Wi-Fi connection. We let the locate run until it provides as precise a range as possible.

      If you believe the phone has been stolen, we absolutely recommend you contact law enforcement, rather than trying to confront a suspected thief yourself. You can run the locate again (text the word “locate” to your wife’s phone), and show the police the resulting email. If you have any questions, please email our support team, support [at] mylookout [dot] com.
      best, RT

  11. cheryl says:

    I lost my droid and have installed Plan B. I have only received an email that it has started locating and location will be available shortly. It’s been some time and I have texted “locate” but I’ve had no location emails. Any suggestions? Thank you.

  12. Rene V. says:

    Hello. I just succesfully installed Plan B on my phone. It was stolen a few days ago at a county fair, and now that they powered on the device, I was able to install it. After a few hurdle of calls through different police dept’s, I’m waiting on them to call me back so they can take action, because I did locate the phone. Will the burglar, seeing that I have a missed call, scare them into turning it off again?

    Is there another remote app that you guys have that can upload all of my pictures and videos (of my newborn :-/ ) into one of your remote servers from my sdcard?

    The information is what is most valuable to me… not the phone. I’ll pay your company good money for that feature.

    I tried calling the company, but the website gives no phone numbers. Just email addresses.

    I also tried calling the deputy assigned to my case, but no one calls back.
    Help!

  13. Rene V. says:

    I just wanted to update you guys on my lost phone. The GPS tracked my phone to within 100 ft in a building 1.5 hrs away from where I live, but then they turned off my phone. My investigator didn’t get my calls in time to go out there to attempt to retrieve my phone.

    This morning the phone was turned on again, but now they turned off my text messaging ability, so therefore now Plan B won’t tell me where my phone is.

    Is there a way for Plan B to locate my phone if I EMAIL the word “locate” instead of send it a text message with the word “locate”? Again, they turned off text messaging, but this time the phone is left turned on.

    Also, I can’t find a phone number on the lookout.com website to call for more help.

    Again, I’m willing to pay if I can have my data from my sdcard remotely uploaded to the cloud of lookout.com’s choosing.

  14. Sung says:

    Does plan B work outside the US??

  15. Rene V. says:

    Help. It’s a Sunday night, and the burglar who stole my phone is now turning off the GPS (I believe he is doing this) after he sees my text message for the word “locate”. Since I always tracked it within 70 meters of a busy industrial plaza, it would be perfect if plan B would prevent GPS from disabling so I can see where he lives and call the police, because I doubt he is working sunday evening if he also works weekdays in the early afternoon in that industrial plaza.

    Help! I am still waiting for Lookout to give me a call or email. Please!

    • Amy says:

      @Rene, thanks for your message – we’re very sorry to hear your phone was stolen. We’d be happy to work with you to use Plan B to locate your phone, our support team will be reaching out to you shortly. Please feel free to reach us directly support@lookout[dot]com. Also, when you do learn the location of your phone, we recommend contacting the authorities to help you safely retrieve it. Thank you!

  16. jose says:

    I lost my galaxy s2 3 nights ago in a taxi cab.
    I ve already blocked my sim card. I went to google play and click to install plan B and eventhough it says on the google play page that Plan B is installed i have not yet received any emails nor maps. HELP PLEASE

    • Amy says:

      @Jose, thanks for your message. If you have not yet received an email with your phone’s location, it is possible that your phone may be powered off or not have a connection to the network (WiFi or 2G/3G/4G). However, as soon as your phone is powered on/receives a connection you should receive an email with the phone’s location. At that time, you can also prompt Plan B to locate your phone again by texting “locate” to the device. If you have any questions at all, please let us know: support@lookout[dot]com. Thank you!

  17. Garret says:

    Someone stole my mytouch4g slide!!!! 🙁 I tried installing this app and i dont think it worked…. If you factory reset it and remove the SIM is there any possibility to get this app installed?

    • @Garret, Plan B requires a data connection to download. If the SIM card is removed and there is no saved WiFi hot spot nearby, then it won’t work until the next time the device connects to the internet. Please email our support team if you ever need help! Support [at] lookout [dot] com.

  18. dave says:

    ive used plan b once before and it worked great. but i can seem to figure out how to use a second time after its already been installed
    can you help me?

    • @dave, text your phone the word “locate” from a friend’s phone in order to start the locate process again. Please feel free to contact our support team any time you have questions. support [at] lookout [dot] com.