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Tracked and recovered my stolen Samsung mobile

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Deal Subedar
Watson

My Galaxy S21 mob was stolen 6days back. I lodged a diary at local p.s. 

Chances of recovery was dim as the miscreant had removed the SIMs and it was not connected to wifi. Google find my device tracking was stopped and practically I was not able to use it any more even to wipe data or secure lock. However using Samsung smartthingsfind I was able to get occasional email alerts on it's location near to few hundred meters (5-6 apartment buildings). 

High end galaxy devices can use a special technology called uwb (as of now provided in Apple and few Samsung devices) to ping other nearby devices to send alert whenever any other similar devices pass nearby. I kept visiting the locations and kept searching for it using another old phone. At one point, coser to the lost device,  the map in the App turned into a signal strength indicator. I zeroed on the building and the apartment where the signal level was highest. 

Finally with help of a patrolling police van, we entered the place last night and made the device to ring (wo any network). Miscreant was taken to PS and my ph was handed over after another GD. 

I was not aware of the full potential of the technology. There is not enough user guides in DD or elsewhere in net. Forget police, even Samsung service centre staff couldn't help. I kept searching for more info how to zero on the target but couldn't get any practical guide. However I have gathered some experience and learned xiaomi and vivo are also part of Fira consortium and will be enabling this feature on their phones. 

I will add some more practical tips for device protection when I have time. 

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Live example of Himmat ae marda, Madad ae khuda. 

Kudos bro!
Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Thanks everyone for the encouraging comments. Indeed it was a challenge and more than the phone I couldn't give up on  precious photos, videos and some old ver APKs. So I stayed on despite the odds. The cold winter outside helped me to somewhat move in stealth and avoid getting spotted but I didn't require to trespass. I needed to stay low to avoid alerting the thief who could throw the device beyond a point. 

My cloud backup was already touching limits and I was procrastinating taking a backup before I lost the phone. Unless until you loose a phone, you don't realise the pain of delaying a few simple steps. Best option is to sync backup of everything so that your pain is easier. It was my primary device and linked to all my accounts and everything else possible but I didn't panic and was waiting for the guy to do mistakes. After power off/battery drained, he kept it off for first 2 days. I was trying to get into his mind to read his next possible moves.

In the meantime I blocked my SIM and managed to get the duplicate sim. It was not easy as my biometrics were locked in aadhaar and without biometrics, carriers wont give you a duplicate sim. And one cannot unlock biometrics without OTP sent to your original number. Presently only way to do that is by visiting an Aadhar centre and changing the linked phone number. It takes only few hours to reactivate your sim but outgoing SMSs are barred for first 24hrs so one cannot use any financial apps during this time.

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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I am putting down the replies together. 

This UWB microchip thing is limited to a few devices available to S & Z series. Its more like a boosted NFC. This will not work if the device is off. 

You don't need anything extra. Your device should be logged into Samsung account and you should not forget the Samsung account email and password. Samsung security is very strict and even after device wipe or reset, Samsung account cannot be deleted without original password /OTP so tracking will continue even if the thief manages to break into your lockscreen. Unless one uses common patterns or PIN, it is not easy to break into android security. Using a pwd is best choice. 

I used an app from Galaxy store on my 2nd phone called "SmartThings". It is available in Galaxy or Play store. The official guide is here:https://www.samsung.com/in/support/apps-service...

Apart from mobile, it can also track Galaxy smartwatches, buds etc. you can also login using google account as well into https://smartthingsfind.samsung.com...in to start tracking right away.

Even if your phone is not S series or UWB enabled, still I would recommend to use this app. The android app has some benefits over the browser based tracker. 

Once you install the app, click "Life" at bottom, 

Click the '+' button on top right,

Add 'Find' from the list,

It will show all your mapped devices with Samsung account; click done at bottom.

Now you can click your device from Life tab to track and also can send an "invite" to a trusted contact to use the tracking features in the event you are middle of somewhere and not able to start tracking yourself. These days, no one offers to help a stranger with his device in a lost mobile case.

Lastly using 'side button' menu in settings, remap 'power off' with 'bixby' (for S & Z series). And use eSIM instead of physical SIM. 

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Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Congrats. How does one find the location of the phone using this tech?

Post Emperor Post Emperor
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Your old device also have uwb technology to trace stolen phone.

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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No. It was an old discontinued device M32-4G but worked in this case. If both devices are UWB then the device location and exact distance is augmented in camera. 
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Wow... Bro superb. Please enlighten us more about this technology.

Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Congrats on getting your phone back

Does this thing work when stolen phone is switched off?

Like Magnet Like Magnet
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Wow , does this work even if phone is wiped?

Deal Newbie Deal Newbie
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@trongalaxy @deb4o5 Would a Samsung device no longer locked in/logged IN to a proprietary account/service still offer some rudimentary tracking (say: based on pre-wipeout IMEI and Samsung account identifiers)?
If so, how? GSM or ancillary services like internet connectivity?
@doomlord Assumedly (and my understanding could be fallacious) with the basic (brand account) Samsung/XYZ account logged out, it may not relay to nearby devices.
My understanding is that Samsung/ respective brand do not have an immediate way to identify whether the wipe-out has been executed by the genuine user or a malicious entity.
Cool Cool
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Bravo and many thanks for sharing 👍🏼

Critic Critic
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GA

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Superb post. Samsung loyalty user since 2012 have 13+Samsung phones at home but never even understood how smart things work gonna explore now

Bro took personally & nailed it

liam-neeson-idontknow
ill-find-you-i-will-kill-you

Deal Captain Deal Captain
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Congrats! These people need to be taught a lesson. Sidha baseball bat leke Jana tha bhai, police se samne hi ek shot marna tha, zindagi bhar yad rahta usko.

Agli bar Samsung hi kharidunga.

Please put a guide on this, and tell which phones offer this technology.

plus1 plus1

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This is amazing 🤩

Generous Generous
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👏

Generous Generous
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Looks like an average Crime Patrol episode

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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without sex angle.
Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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thanks for sharing. and also we should use 1 sim as esim for safety. 

Benevolent Benevolent
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You definitely proved to be Sherlock. Is this feature available in M or A series of samsung phones.

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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You are in India that's why the police went in there. In foreign countries, they don't go in without a warrant and no one is going to get a warrant for a stolen mobile phone.

I read a case from NZ where an iPhone was stolen from an Indian guy. He was able to track it exactly to the house of the thief but the police declined to go in and told him to forget it. 

Benevolent Benevolent
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wow ... a rare scenario where Indian cops are better than western.
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the technology is useful to identify similar devices in your vicinity, isn't it?? But how can we say that device is ours or anyone else

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Not similar devices, only the one linked to your Samsung account. It won't show you all Samsung devices nearby, just the one you had linked to your account.
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Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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W for op

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Hats off bro... Thanks for the info

Deal Newbie Deal Newbie
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bhui waah👌🏼
agar @watson aisey hein, tou @sherlock tou kya khoob hee honge🙂🤗¡!¿?


Translation: Such positive developments, make for a much needed breather on an otherwise full, gloomy day and uplift me at-least.
So _ /|\_ thank you🙏🏼 for the same.
and my phone was handed over after another GD
My ignorance or being unawares be pardoned but 'GD' would not expand to (another) station diary entry, so
what does GD mean, in the context of the statement?

@D3xt3R bhabhi ke .. ALL.. future phones aisi tracking waale hee. And maybe it already has such mechanism, but battery has to be inside. Without at-least battery plugged in, even if the device is off, many clandestine features have no way to work.
Or @d3XT3r maybe bhabhiji device too (being high end) has some such feature, if ever switched ON.

So, just out of curiosity, @watson did you/others go 'door to door' to find and thank everyone else in the vicinity... whose devices might have acted as a beacon/relay point?😛

If no such devices were near the thief or your device, it could have been much worse.

Speaking of much worse, good think you looked in the authorities, instead of trying anything on your own. (And this indirectly also hints at you not being from Gurugram.)

Such valid👍🏼 point👌🏼 in highlighting how almost everyone (including the brand associates or even store staff) and us consumers often being unaware.

The other devices, the ones that acted as the radio bounce/ beacon... they do not need to have the same underlying technology (be part of that standard/ consortium) or the relay devices too need to have all the jazz?
Umm i mean, would an average 15000-16000₹ Samsung device (made in the last 4-5 years) too would naively have had the tech to pick on such pings (by the nearby devices).
I am assuming it is not NFC technology. I could be wrong though.
NFC, bluetooth are radio/micro waves and internet or GPS needs different wireless protocols.
I feel like all devices with list prices above a certain range.. can and should mandatorily have such tracking features.
Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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GD = General Diary.

I do not know which other devices were picking up the pings. Once a device is searched in SmartThings, other samsung devices start looking for it. 

On the app, spotted locations showed "found by other devices". 

As for the price, I read the UWB chip costs less than 5USD. Makers lack R&D & motivation to include it.

Deal Captain Deal Captain
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Congrats Watson you sure don't need a Sherlock by

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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"Sherlock" wala kaam kar diya "watson" ne.

Congratulations brother.

Feeling very proud of you, your intelligence, your persistence, your courage and never give up attitude.

Flame Flame
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This is really the best feature, I have heard till now. Thanks OP for sharing this with us. 

Hope all mobile carriers will soon implement it. 

Deal Lieutenant Deal Lieutenant
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cheers

Deal Subedar Deal Subedar
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Congratulations bro this is rare to get back lost mobile.

Tech Guru Tech Guru
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Well done Watson. Cc @sherlock

Helpful Helpful
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that was the first thing that came to my mind seeing his name : P
Deal Cadet Deal Cadet
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Congratulations for ur work,

And also nice information...

Cool Cool
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wow, congrats 😀

Pro Entertainer Pro Entertainer
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Well done! Congrats! 😃

Benevolent Benevolent
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Ultra-wideband (UWB) technology has a range of only 200m but can track devices more accurately in shorter ranges. The technology was envisaged for operating smart devices thru radio waves and not for tracking of stolen devices.

In this particular case, due to mere coincidence, the stolen device was found in a nearby building which could recieve and send signals in that short range.

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