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How To Get Your Phone Back After Leaving It In An Uber Ride

Did you lose your phone in an Uber ride you recently took? Don't worry, it's possible to get it back. This is how to easily do so.

Key Takeaways

  • Act quickly using Uber’s Lost and Found to contact the driver for a lost phone.
  • Use alternative methods like a friend’s phone or Google Voice if your phone is unavailable.
  • Log into Uber on another device or computer to access the “Find Lost Item” option.
  • If the driver is unreachable, file a lost phone report on Uber’s website with trip details.

Understanding the Situation

When you realize your phone is missing after an Uber ride, it’s important to stay calm. Thinking calmly and logically will help you make the right decisions required to get your phone back.

Remember, Uber has policies in place to help passengers recover lost items. However, time is of the essence, and immediate action increases your chances of retrieving your phone.

Options for Retrieving a Lost Phone From Uber

Leaving an item in an Uber is usually a job for Uber’s Lost and Found feature. However, losing a phone requires separate steps in order to recover your device.

There are multiple ways to get your phone back:

  1. Contact the driver: Use the Uber app on another device or computer to directly contact the driver.
  2. Submit a “lost phone” form: If the driver is unreachable or hasn’t found your phone, submit a request using this form.
  3. Check previous locations: Consider checking places you visited after your Uber ride.
  4. Contact Uber support: I suggest also contacting Uber to speak with a representative to further answer your questions.

I personally suggest trying each one in the list, one by one, until you find success.

Did you know?

iPhone users can easily track location, ping a sound, and display custom “lost phone” messages on their phone screens using the Find My app.

This can be HIGHLY effective in recovering a phone lost in an Uber ride.

How to Recover a Phone Lost in an Uber Ride

1. Contact the Driver Directly

The first step in recovering your lost phone is to contact the driver to see if your phone was left behind.

In order to do so, you’ll need to log into your Uber app from another smartphone or device. If this isn’t possible, you can also access your account via their website on a computer.

Bypassing Two Factor Authantication

If you left your phone in your car, you won’t receive the 2FA texts needed to sign in to your account. However, even if 2FA was turned on, there are two ways to get into your account without a verification code.

First, use a backup code.

Uber allows users to download backup codes that give you access to your account when you can’t get an SMS verification code. You can save these backup codes on your phone or write them down and put the paper in a safe place.

When logging into Uber, click on “I’m having trouble” when Uber asks you to enter your SMS code. Then, you will find the option to enter your eight-digit backup code.

If you did not download any backup codes, contact Uber customer support.

Follow this link for help. Uber may require you to verify your identity first.

Once Logged In

Once logged in, take the following steps:

  • Select “I lost an item” and then “Contact driver about a lost item.”
  • Enter a phone number where you can be reached. Uber will anonymize this number to protect your privacy.
  • Tap “Submit.” Your phone will ring, connecting you directly with your driver’s mobile number.
  • If your driver picks up, discuss a mutually convenient time and place for the return of your phone.
  • If they don’t answer and you get a voicemail, leave a detailed message with the number they can contact you at.

Meeting Your Driver

When arranging to meet your driver, choose a public place for safety reasons. Since you probably don’t have a phone, I suggest bringing a friend or family member that does.

Be prepared to compensate your driver for their time and effort. Uber charges a small fee for the return of lost items, which varies by location.

I also suggest tipping your driver well for this. They’re independent contractors, so they don’t have to meet up with you.

Giving them $10-15 for their trouble will be greatly appreciated. I never like when I spend a ton of time and effort to return a lost phone, only to have the passenger walk away without giving me a tip.

If you don’t hear back from your driver within 24 hours, make sure to contact Uber support through the app for further assistance.

2. Submit a “Lost Phone” Report

If you are not able to make contact with your driver, or they indicate that they haven’t found your phone, you can file a report directly with Uber. Doing so is very simple.

It requires filling out a form that provides Uber with phone and ride-specific information that only you would know. This includes details about recent trips, the trip you lost your phone on, and a description of the phone.

There’s also the option to answer “yes” to a waiver that allows the company to share your phone number with the driver. This helps the driver coordinate the return with you.

a screenshot of a lost phone in Uber form on the Uber website
A screenshot of Uber’s lost phone form

Uber typically reacts pretty fast to these submissions, to make sure to be available at the phone number you’ve provided.

Be aware, however, that neither Uber drivers nor the company are responsible for lost items. They’ll try their hardest to get them back to you, but they can only do so much.

3. Check Previous Locations

Typically, if you leave a phone in an Uber, it will be found right away. If not, there’s a high probability that your phone was left somewhere else.

If you have a tracking feature enabled on your phone, such as Find My iPhone, I suggest checking your phone’s location.

You can log into the Find My app from another device or computer as long as you know your Apple password. One in, the app allows you to locate your phone, lock it down, and even remotely erase the data if necessary.

However, one of the most helpful features – especially in cases where you’ve left a phone in an Uber – is the ability to play a sound on the device and then display a message on the screen.

I’ve used this feature to recover a lost iPad that I once left in an Airbnb on vacation. I located the device, pinged it with a sound, and then wrote a message that indicated it was lost – along with a number that the finder could call.

They called the number, we coordinated a pickup time, and they returned the iPad before I left to go back home.

If all else fails and none of the options listed above are successful, retrace your steps and check the locations that you were previously at.

The phone could have easily been left on a table, bartop, of fallen out of your pocket while entering or exiting the Uber ride.

4. Contact Uber Customer Service

If you still have questions, need a status update, or are seeking additional options, contacting Uber support can help.

I suggest using the live chat feature within the passenger app, as it is the quickest and most direct way to get help when you need it.

The company has a phone number, but it is reserved strictly for critical emergencies like accidents. So, stick to the live chat option.

Be aware that they’ll likely just point you toward the lost phone form. However, if you’ve already filled this out and gone through the steps above, yet still need help, this is a good avenue.

Tips for a Smooth Recovery Process

Losing your phone during an Uber ride can be incredibly frustrating. It has happened to me before, and it’s not fun.

To maximize the chances of getting your device back, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Act Quickly: The sooner you report your lost phone, the better the chances of recovery.
  • Be Polite and Patient: Your driver is under no obligation to immediately return your phone. Courtesy and understanding go a long way.
  • Safety First: Always prioritize your safety, especially when meeting to retrieve your phone.
  • Keep Your Details Updated: Ensure your contact details are current in the Uber app to facilitate smooth communication.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

As an active Uber driver, I’ve noticed that people leave behind their phones far more than I would ever expect. It’s such as common issue that I will actually pull over and check the back seat every time a rider gets out.

This allows me to quickly return any lost items without having to go through the time-consuming process of tracking them down or coordinating schedules later.

Returning lost items, especially phones, is a very inconvenient thing to do. It’s pretty stressful, not to mention that it interferes with other rides, prior commitments, and personal time.

I have no problem setting up boundaries with things that interfere with my personal life. However, when it comes to lost phones, I feel obligated to push my schedule around in order to get the phone back to the rider.

And while most riders are very appreciative, a good handful are very difficult, especially if they’ve been drinking or are out with a large group of friends.

You’d be surprised at how hard it is to track down riders sometimes. I have their phone, so there isn’t a good way of contacting them until they submit a lost phone report through Uber.

Even when contact is made, the inebriation usually clouds their judgment, emotional responses, and decision-making process. Usually a big tip changes my perspective on this.

What I’d really like to see is Uber set up some sort of return process that eliminates the friction, such as a drop box at a Greenlight Hub.

This would allow a rider to get their phone back, but then remove the frustration of a driver needing to physically return it to them.

My Suggestion:

Riders, it is on you to ensure that you have everything before you leave. You have nobody to blame but yourself if you forget something.

Drivers, be diligent in reminding riders to get their things, but also double-checking after they leave. An extra minute of checking helps to avoid the entire return situation entirely.

Frequently Asked Questions

What if the driver denies finding my phone?

If the driver says they haven’t found your phone, immediately retrace your steps. It likely fell out of your pocket and onto the ground, or you left it somewhere else besides the Uber ride.

In today’s world, it is rare that a driver would try to steal your phone, so give them the benefit of the doubt. Smartphones almost always come standard with tracking natively built in, so most drivers would not risk getting deactivated for this.

Is there a fee for retrieving lost items?

Yes, Uber may charge a small fee for coordinating the return of lost items. This fee normally goes directly to the driver and covers the time it takes them to return your item.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Lost Phone Back From Uber?

If you contact the driver quick enough after your trip has completed, you might be able to get your phone back within 5-10 minutes.

On the other hand, if you wait too long, the driver may be far away or busy with another ride or other things. This usually turns to hours or days.

Final Thoughts

Losing your phone in an Uber is not the end of the world. By following these steps and staying proactive, you can increase your chances of recovering your lost item.

Remember, preparation and prompt action are key in such situations.

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