I lost my T-mobile Galaxy S7 somewhere between the front seat of my car in the parking lot at the grocery store and the first few aisles inside the store. (None of us remember exactly if I actually carried it into the store.) We have torn apart the car, all our grocery bags, and the house with no luck. No one turned it in at the store. And, none of my three location apps (Google, AVG, Samsung) have been able to locate the phone.

The phone either ran out of batteries shortly after being lost, or someone found it and powered it off.

If someone powered it off, removed my SIM card, and put in a new one:

  1. Would my phone number be alerted that the SIM card for my phone had changed? (When I bought a replacement phone and activated a new SIM, my phone got a text message saying the SIM card associated with my phone number had changed.)

  2. Would my location apps be able to find the phone with the new SIM card?

Thank you

1 Answer 1


Phone location apps use the Internet. They couldn't care less if they're accessing it through a different mobile internet contract (different SIM), or Wi-Fi, or even Ethernet.

The only issue could be that if the phone is locked with a passcode, and the new SIM was locked with a PIN, and the phone needed to be unlocked before allowing the user to enter the PIN. So after the SIM swap the phone has no way of connecting because the SIM is locked, and at the same time the thief has no way to unlock the SIM (even if he knows its PIN code) because he doesn't know the phone's passcode, so he can't reach the SIM unlock prompt.

Most likely though, the thief wasn't a complete idiot and reinstalled the phone right away, wiping any apps that could report its location to you.

  • This is correct, the most likely course of action if someone stole it or believed in "finders keepers" is do a factory reset without ever booting the phone back up in its original state. Samsung does have something called a Sim Lock which will stop the phone from doing a factory setup (the first thing after the factory reset) but you have to turn the feature on and pair it with your My Samsung account. Tmobile should be able to blacklist the phone by its serial number (not a help in finding it but you at least know the thief won't benefit from having it)
    – Jeff Meden
    Jul 28, 2016 at 15:25
  • @JeffMeden IMEI bans don't prevent the phone from being used on another network or abroad, nor do they prevent using it as a simple computer on Wi-Fi. Jul 28, 2016 at 15:59
  • Correct but at least the value has plummeted significantly (if the phone will only work when unlocked and moved to another provider or even expatriated)
    – Jeff Meden
    Jul 28, 2016 at 17:09

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