How to lock a stolen cell phone or smartphone

Here's how to lock, in a few simple steps, our smartphone remotely in case of loss or theft using the IMEI code of our phone

Nowadays most of our sensitive data, from work emails to the most confidential conversations, passing through the details of our bank accounts, are saved within our smartphone. If an attacker steals our phone, we'll be in big trouble.

Unfortunately, on both Android devices and iPhones there are specific functions to remotely find or lock the lost or stolen smartphone. On Android the feature is called Find My Device while on iOS the same feature is called Find My iPhone. Thanks to these tools we can not only know the exact location of the phone but we can also lock it remotely to prevent the thief to rummage through our confidential information. There is one thing, though: to use these functions, the phone's Internet connection must be turned on. A problem if we lose the smartphone without an active data connection. So here's how to remotely lock a lost or stolen phone with the IMEI code.

What is the IMEI and how to find it

The IMEI code is a unique 15-digit code associated with our SIM card that identifies our smartphone exclusively. If you're thinking of a sort of tax code for your phone, you're not too far from understanding what we're talking about. All phones have an IMEI code and finding it is really easy: just type the code *#06# on the call dialer and then press the button to make the call. The IMEI code will appear with a pop-up message on the phone's screen and we can mark it and save it locally on another device or pin it on a paper agenda to have it available when we need it. Alternatively we can find the IMEI code from the settings of our smartphone. On iOS we go to Settings, then to General and finally to About. And here we will find our IMEI code among the various information of the device. On Android instead, to find the same code manually we go to  Settings, then to About device, and finally to Status.

How to lock phone with IMEI

Once you've found the IMEI code the question is: how do I lock my stolen phone with this unique number from remote? It is not a question of performing difficult operations of "geeks" of computer science. First of all, before proceeding, we must file a report of theft of the phone at the Carabinieri or a police station. With the report sheet in hand we must then turn to our phone operator. We go to the site of the operator of our SIM card and download and then fill out the appropriate form to request the block of the phone remotely with IMEI code. The form should then be sent by mail or through the operator's online service with attached a photocopy of our identity card and the sheet of the complaint to the police. As soon as the phone operator receives all the data it will block access to our phone and it will be impossible for the thief to access our personal data.