Losing your smartphone these days is similar to losing your handbag or wallet. Not only does it contain all your contacts and precious photos, it could mean someone else gets their hands on your personal and/or sensitive data. Recent research by security firm Sophos revealed more than one in five (22 percent) of Brits have lost a mobile phone at some point.

While there's no way to guarantee you don't lose or have your smartphone stolen, as let's face it accidents happen to us all, there are some measures you can put in place in advance, to ensure that should the worst happen you'll be able to work fast to remove your data and even locate your handset.

Find my iPhone was introduced by Apple in 2009. The function, which made up part of the company's paid-for MobileMe service, allowed iPhone owners to locate their missing or stolen handset using the smartphone's GPS. However, with the introduction of iOS 4.2, Apple made the service free. Unfortunately, to set-up a free MobileMe account you need an iPhone 4. However, those with earlier iPhones should use the service on someone else's iPhone 4 to create their free MobileMe account, which they'll then be able to access from older iPhones providing they're running iOS4.

Here's how to track the location of your lost iPhone 4.

Step one
From the Home screen, select Settings and then choose Mail, Contacts, Calendars.

Step two
Press Add account and then from the choices displayed select MobileMe.

Step three
You'll be asked to enter your Apple ID and password (this will be the username and password you use if you've ever purchased content from iTunes or Apple's online store). If you haven't you'll need to set-up a new account by pressing the Create Free Apple ID and following the instructions. If you're already a MobileMe subscriber then enter your sign-in details here.

Step four
Not verified will be listed under your MobileMe account. You'll have been sent an email from Apple that will provide a link to verify your account with. Once this has been done, tap the MobileMe account and ensure Find my iPhone is switched on.

Step five
Now if you lose your iPhone you can simply sign-in to the MobileMe site to see you iPhone's location on a map. You can even display a message on the handset's screen asking for whoever found it to return it to you as well as setting a passcode lock.