My friend tends to lose his cell phone, for example in the woods behind his house. When the phone has little or no charge left.

I thought of getting him a Tile, but I'm not sure that will work, given that he doesn't have a computer and will not accept or use one. Also he doesn't have a close neighbor with a smart phone.

Is there some kind of tracker or finding gadget he could use? I'm imagining that Part A would attach to the back of his phone, and Part B would go on his key ring. (He never loses his keys.) Then if the phone falls out of his pocket when it has no charge left, he could press a button on Part B, causing Part A to make a sound.

Is there such a thing?

  • You should clarify if this thing is already lost. At the risk of stating the obvious, a Tile won't work if it is already lost, because you need to attach it to the thing you lose before you lose it. I use several of my Tiles on an almost daily basis and can recommend them to be effective. In the old days, before Bluetooth was a thing, you could get key fobs that responded to a whistle; similar idea just less techy
    – Caius Jard
    Nov 22, 2021 at 11:12
  • Also perhaps worth mentioning that tiles can work in reverse (double clicking the tile on his keys will play an alert on the phone) and tiles can be "declared lost" in which case other people's phones with the tile app on can look for your friend's tile - he gets a notification with a location when their phone locates his tile
    – Caius Jard
    Nov 22, 2021 at 11:19
  • @CaiusJard - My idea is to protect his next phone. / Other people's phones probably won't help in the woods behind his house (rural area). Nov 23, 2021 at 22:44

5 Answers 5


The problem with a tracker is that its battery might go flat too, if the friend is in the habit of forgetting to charge the phone itself.

My hack is to avoid losing the phone or leaving it anywhere in the first place.

  • Attach a tether or lanyard to the phone, and the other end to a belt loop.

Some phones have a place to attach a tether, and you can also get adhesive ones.

  • Actually I kind of like this. I can certainly buy him one of those pullable lanyards and in fact I have one on my Jelly Pro which has a little hole. But my friend might not have a hole for the lanyard so could you do me a big favor and give me a link to one possible adhesive lanyard, so I know what to look for? I did look online but I didn't see how to snap it onto the belt loop. Nov 6, 2021 at 19:40
  • 1
    Here is one example. I searched the shopping site for adhesive lanyard phone. Nov 6, 2021 at 19:51
  • I'm really bad at internet shopping. I looked at your suggestion and looked at other candidates. I'm having trouble finding one that adheres reliably to the phone, and doesn't have a bunch of one-star reviews scaring me with product failure reports. Now I'm in the old Internet Shopping Paralysis. Nov 7, 2021 at 19:06
  • 1
    Buy a phone case that has a tether point. Nov 7, 2021 at 19:19

Bible Proverb Hack: Seek and you shall Find

The standard gadget to retrieve a phone with little or no charge in a wilderness is…
a metal detector.

If nothing else, a less-than-smart metal detector can locate a smart but temporarily dumb phone. A good metal detector is a fraction of the cost of a phone and can be used every time your careless pal decides to put all calls on hold. Even better - they can be rented when needed.

While looking for his phone, there's a better than average chance your friend will also discover all kinds of treasures from coins to jewelry. Just remember to stay clear of quick-sand.

Who knows, his loss could prove very profitable.

Good luck

  • 2
    Ingenious idea. It won't work for my friend because the section of woods where he lost it was a dump for farm machinery, implements and who knows what, 100 years ago. Nov 6, 2021 at 23:33

If the service is available in your locale, a tracking service has remarkable success locating personal property.

As the phone has the scent of your friend, through its personal contact while in use, a tracker can locate property by providing a sample with a similar personal odour. There are several limiting conditions including length of time lost, kind of object, weather conditions, and terrain.

If a service is available, it is probably most easily located by a Web search or through a private detective agency or security service.

The cost may be prohibitive, however.

Good luck.

  • Are we talking about a dog or am I missing something? Nov 7, 2021 at 19:04
  • @aparente001 Yes for the majority of cases; however, other animals have been used and my information is not recent.
    – Stan
    Nov 7, 2021 at 20:27
  • 1
    I immediately thought of a dog when reading the question. One of the family dogs found lost car keys etc. on a few occasions.
    – Stephie
    Nov 7, 2021 at 20:51

Locator The Item Finder you described is very popular after the Tile. Find it by searching for Wireless Locator Transmitter Receivers. It uses replaceable button cells, so you'll need to help your friend be a bit proactive about the batteries.


Nothing is impossible… if you can get someone else to do it!

It's time for some fun. How about a treasure hunt?
Using different ways to gather a group of individuals, have sets of fresh eyes spread-out over the area where your hapless friend thinks is a likely choice.

A really talented animator can motivate a group with their sheer charisma; but, a less gifted person might have to offer some incentive as a reward to find the phone.

Good luck.

  • I think he's probably maxed out on community assistance. He is in a network of carpenters, handymen, plumbers, other fishermen, etc., etc., and they lend each other tools and help each other with projects (restoring a boat, fixing an elderly car, you name it). Also, his mother is in her 90s. and I bet he has to ask neighbors for help with her sometimes. But I guess your idea might work for some people if the search is commenced before the leaves come down in the fall, although it depends on the woods. Some keep some leaf litter year round. Nov 7, 2021 at 19:02
  • Near me recently, social media was used to organize local folks to go through the neighbourhood to gather trash. Reward/Wanted/Lost posters with the likely place to look for success also works. Don't forget to put your coordinates on the poster. When you don't promote, a terrible thing happens. Nothing. @aparente001
    – Stan
    Nov 7, 2021 at 22:21
  • Glad the project was a success. I remember one day a wind storm had distributed everyone's recycling all over the neighborhood and when my 3rd grader and his friend got off the bus I had them help me pick it all up on my block. When they graduated from high school they were still complaining about that! Nov 7, 2021 at 22:53
  • 1
    @aparente001 Still complaining? Evidently, the 'encouragement' and 'gratitude' that you gave for their enlisted help was insufficient for their effort. Done right, the same helpers would be proud of their assistance. No?
    – Stan
    Nov 18, 2021 at 16:48
  • let's say they had mixed feelings. We had fun in the doing but apparently the friend wasn't used to being asked to help out at home. Nov 19, 2021 at 22:44

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.