So … you left your phone in an Uber.
It’s a stressful situation to go through but don’t worry — we’re here to help you get through this.
The good news is you can get it back. The bad news? It won’t be it easy. In some cases it’s easier to get it done yourself than to rely on Uber’s frustrating customer support. In fact, it happened to me just last week … so you’re in luck because I’m going to take you through the process of reuniting with you phone (hopefully)! Oh, and if you’re curious how it worked out for me … scroll to the end.
Where to Start
The most important thing you can do is to remember the details. What was your driver’s name? Do you remember what kind of car they drove? If not, there’s still a way.
We’re guessing you were probably intoxicated when this went down, so don’t feel bad if you don’t remember everything. Uber will email your trip receipt once you’re dropped off at your destination. Although the receipt won’t give you every detail you’re looking for, it’ll still give you the name and picture of your driver.
Track Your Phone
Now that you have some details, you should immediately log onto ‘Find My iPhone’ or the Android equivalent. Track your device’s GPS location to see exactly where your phone is located. Remember: ‘Find My iPhone‘ only works if you have it set up in the first place!
‘Find My iPhone’ has a few useful features to take advantage of in these scenarios. You can send a message to your device to display on the screen for anyone who finds it, or you can just play a loud sound. The latter is more useful when you’ve just misplaced your phone and need it to make a sound.
In this case, you’ll want it to display a message as well as a phone number you can be reached at. Most importantly, call the driver by their name. This is just a scare tactic that’ll make your driver aware you know exactly which car your phone is in … just in case they try to pull a fast one on you. If another passenger happened to pick it up, then hopefully they’ll realize if you tracked down the driver, you can track down his passengers as well.
As I mentioned before, ‘Find My iPhone‘ also allows you to play an annoying sound. I don’t recommend using that feature in this case. If you’re certain you left your phone in the car, it’s best if the driver isn’t aware it’s there. Otherwise you’re just bringing attention to an unattended phone.
Lastly, you can also put the phone in Lost Mode, but we don’t recommend that either. This feature will shut your phone off and render the message and/or sound useless. It’ll also stop GPS tracking the moment it shuts off. Lost Mode is best used when you know your phone has been stolen and you want to turn it into an expensive brick.
Uber Customer Support?
Don’t bother calling Uber Customer Support because it pretty much doesn’t exist. When it comes to lost phones you want to have the peace of mind knowing someone is actively looking for it on your behalf. However, every attempt at trying to speak with a human will end with you being redirected to their website. But guess what — the website won’t help either.
If you try signing onto the Uber website to view your trip history for detailed information, you won’t get very far. Uber’s security protocol will require the cell phone number tied to your account so it can send a verification code … which can’t happen if you don’t have your phone. Yes, this really happens. 🤦🏻♂️
If that wasn’t frustrating enough, if you do a simple Google search on what to do in this scenario, you’ll be linked to a pointless Uber article. This blog post on Uber’s website is just a ‘fun’ list of what drivers find in their cars. Nothing useful.
After some digging online, I learned you can just go here. Fill out the form to the best of your knowledge and remember to provide a phone number at which Uber Support can reach you. Remember to use the name of the driver so they are aware you know exactly where your phone is. You’ll also want to fill them in on your tracking progress. This way they’ll know you’re doing research on your end as well.
Once submitted, Uber Support will reach out to your Uber driver to verify the phone is in their possession. After verification, they’ll call your alternate contact number or email you the driver’s personal cell phone number. At this point you can call or text the driver letting them know you are looking for your phone.
Go Into Detective Mode
While you await a response from Uber Support or the driver, you should be doing more research of your own. In the case you were lucky enough to track your phone’s GPS location you’ll already have a good idea of its whereabouts. If it looks like it’s been in the same location for some time, you now have an opportunity to catch up to it before it gets any further.
If your phone appears Offline, it was either shut off by someone or it ran out of battery. ‘Find My iPhone’ will give you the last known location if this is the case.
If all goes as planned, you will either be able to locate or catch up to your driver. If you aren’t able to solve the issue yourself, Uber Support will have better luck. That’s why you let Uber know the work you’ve done on the form, because they’ll let the driver know you’ve tracked your phone.
If the driver was trying to keep the phone, they’ll have no choice but to return it if they want to keep their job. The downside of relying on Uber Support is that you’re at the mercy of when they see your support request. There’s no telling when they will actually receive your request so it can be hours before hearing a response.
How did I go about getting my beloved iPhone back? I performed all of the above steps before eventually getting impatient. I used ‘Find My iPhone‘s to view my phone’s last known location before it was shut off. Then I drove to the nearest address …
I saw a car that looked similar to the Uber that dropped me off at home and I left a note on the windshield. The note simply stated that I am aware my phone is in his car (making sure to not make any accusations) and that I tracked its location as well as contacted Uber. I even knocked on some doors to see if the driver would answer. That was the most awkward part.
I hung out in the area and waited until I got a response. Eventually both the driver and Uber contacted me. I have to make it clear … this is not safe! I don’t recommend this approach! My phone is my energy source … I was like Thor without his hammer … powerless.
You’d think there’d be a better way for Uber to solve these problems — especially since their #1 most common found item are phones! (Thanks, pointless Uber blog).