"I lost my phone"

I often see the phrase "I lost my phone" or "my phone was stolen" on Facebook, and I sigh a little when they then tag on "lost loads of photos of my xxx who died earlier this year".

Precious moments eh?

So, essentially, you're telling me that you keep all your precious family photos in the equivalent of a photo album you take everywhere with you? And you never think to take a copy of them? Or back them up?

Sorry if I sound intolerant, but there's a hard lesson here for the person who loses such a device.

Here's my top tips to have this NOT happen to you.

1. Lock it. Secure it. Encrypt it. A secure lock - fingerprints, with a good strong pin. You can set most new devices to require a pin on bootup. You can even get many to display a message on bootup such as "Stolen from...". That's the resale value immediately killed.

2. Make sure it's registered with your carrier. If it's a carrier locked device such as one provided by them it's fairly easy, but if it's a PAYG device you can still register it. If it's stolen you can then get it activation blocked and added to a stolen device register which again kills the resale value.

3. Track it - turn on tracking services and find my device services. With most devices you can locate it within a few metres. You can also make it ring at full volume even if it's locked and muted. Better still, some devices can now be forced to take photos from both cameras and send them to you. Handy if a thief happens to be staring into it at the time.

4. Sync it with a cloud backup service. Most manufacturers provide something of this nature. Google does it for Android. Don't forget also to turn on sync in Google photos. That way you'll always have a backup of your camera roll. If you have enough data then why not set it to back up immediately? Half way through a precious wedding and you drop your phone? You'll probably find every single photo already backed up!

5. Remember it's just a phone - the most important one - if it gets stolen at an event, it's inconvenient; but if you can hard lock it within a few minutes using a friend's phone then don't risk trying to find it there and then. A thief can become violent if approached, after all, they're dumb enough to go around stealing what in essence is a mobile tracking device with GPS and ID services built in, and provided you've done all the right steps it'll have 24 bit encryption so they can't be too bright.