Retrieving Stolen/Lost Mobile Phones


I know a guy who tried to root his S8+ and it’s completely bricked. It can’t even be reflashed with its original firmware because the computer doesn’t recognize it anymore. At least such phones will make thieves think twice sometimes.

In comparison my cheap phone has a setting in developer options to toggle unlocked bootloader on/off. It’s off by default but I see why they put it there. Too bad I have already rooted it with superSU which modified the bootloader. If I turn on the locked bootloader I can say bye bye to my phone.


That is good. Some of these mobile phone service providers make it hard for anyone to trace their lost phones yet they know they can do it. If police use the same networks to trace thieves why make it hard for someone who has lost his phone to trace and find their phones?

When they heard CAK wants to install a device on their networks to trace sim box fraudsters and stolen phones, Safaricom went berserk claiming that CAK will track everyone’s call data.

I mean, phone theft cases boosts Safaricom’s business. For those who were lucky to own a phone a few years ago. I think a decade ago, Safaricom did introduce a network information feature that shows the phone user where they are located on the phone’s display in real time. For example, I could be in the CBD and the phone will indicate “Safaricom CBD,” When I change location to Westlands the display will indicate “Safaricom Westlands.” If I move to Kangemi, the cell info would show “Safaricom Kangemi.”

I think most people who had stolen phones (or thought they had one) switched off their phones. Guys thought they were being tracked. But this was a common feature in mobile phone providers in Uganda back then. Not sure if they still do it. But back at home, Safaricom scrapped it off after two days may be due to the number of lines that went immediately off at that time due to fear of being tacked.

In certain countries, beginning with Japan, a kill switch is a must for every phone that is sold there. I think laws in some states in the US require phones to have a kill switch. Once the EU implements this into law, we would all be celebrating because manufacturers won’t be selective on who gets the kill switch and who doesn’t. The same way it happened with the standardization of the charging ports.

I think the iPhone implementation of the Kill Switch is great. I think this is the same with what has been decribed here for Sony and the S8/S8+. Since networks won’t comply, it’s time for manufacturers to side with their customers.


Yeah it makes sense for operators not to want stolen phones to be deactivated because it means they would lose some business. However they do have to comply with request by the police to track stolen phones where a crime was committed. Don’t you have to go through the police for mobile operators to agree to track your stolen phone?

Doesn’t a kill switch make the phone impossible to trace?


Initial kill switches used to be that way. But nowadays it’s more of the iCloud lock. You can apply it as a measure of last resort.


Ahh… No wonder I see so many iCloud locked devices on OLX! That’s where most phone thieves sell their ill-acquired loot. My brother lost a Galaxy S5 duos and it appeared days later on OLX showing that the seller was in Mombasa. It was pulled down after he asked the seller one too many questions. I think the resale market for stolen phones will be with us for a while because the law is rarely enforced and it’s easy to change the IMEI of most phones because they aren’t flagship grade with cutting-edge security features.


iCloud locked devices are so many. In the US some states have recorded a massive drop in the number of cases that relate to stolen iPhones due to the iCloud lock feature. I think Android should follow suit.

Hiyo OLX waizi wamejaa huko. Angejifanya ni customer and travel to Mombasa to get it. Then plan with cops and have the guy arrested. There was a case that showed up on Buyer Beware. Some guy lost his phone and months later it showed up on OLX hadi screensaver hawakua wamebadilisha. Shida he posted it on Buyer Beware and the seller took down the advert on OLX.

The Sony implementation is great.


What if the guy is right here in Nairobi but claims to be in Mombasa to discourage anyone from running him down? The risk wasn’t acceptable for my bro so he just confronted the guy to say where he got the phone. The guy got spooked and took down the ad. At least now he must find a different place to sell the phone and probably for much less than he had advertised.


I saw a campaign on Indiegogo by a Kenyan. He is trying to raise funds for a ‘Blackbox’ for laptops and tablets.

I don’t think it is feasible but I might be wrong. What do you think?


That’s a really good idea. Indiegogo has funded some pretty useless stuff so he might actually win over enough people to reach his target.


It is highly unlikely it will get funded on Indiegogo. I don’t think they had hype before launching the campaign.

He needs 1 million shillings + every day for the next 20 days to meet the target. The campaign has raised $230 only in 1 month.

The campaign is also set to flexible funding.


What?! That’s a real dream killer. I hope he doesn’t give up on the idea because it’s a good one. Maybe he didn’t do enough to create hype about the product. He should go back to the drawing board.


I think it still can. Has he tried flashing it through fastboot mode?

Anyway, all new Android devices now come with the option to allow Bootloader unlock through the settings.


Neither ADB nor Fastboot is working. If you plug it into a computer it doesn’t get detected. Even the screen doesn’t turn on when you put it in a charger. This is what happens when a noob tries something he’s never done with a phone worth 80k. I told him to take it to a Sammy repair center. It’ll cost him a lot but he’ll be wiser next time.

I didn’t know that. My last phone had Lollipop which didn’t have that option. I guess they must have introduced it in Marshmallow.


Wapi hapo even me i’d like to know, i’ve searched my Xperia settings na siioni


It’s hidden in developer options. You have to go to settings > about phone > and tap on ‘build number’ quickly about 7times. After that you’ll see a new menu in settings called ‘developer options.’


At least for Nougat it is not hidden


Developer options (face palm) completely slipped my mind, now turning that option on could very well be MXTPs kryptonite, good thing you need my phone password to turn it on


Am doing very well with my Blackberry Q10 still. It, actually, has been stolen twice only to find it because i sometimes track or lock it online. Anyway, the theives who had stolen the phone ain’t tech savvy nor smart


Yeah I know of a dude who bought once of those highend BBs back in the days and thing was remotely locked. Alizima na kuficha kwa nyumba and that was the end of him using that phone.


Did your phone come with developer options available in settings by default? That’s not the norm.