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Kat26 12-05-2013 09:55 PM

Lost Cell Phone - Snow :-(
Big snowstorm yesterday here in Minnesota. I lost my cell phone, which is bad enough considering the cost but it is the pictures that are irreplaceable.

I am new to metal detecting and I rented one, but I have a feeling there is a lot more to it than just turning it on.

The model I rented is a Garret Ace-250.

How do I set it up ideally to find a phone in snow? The phone is in my yard area, I am guessing in 1-2.5 feet of snow.

I have a feeling it will be more than just the 1 day rental I will need.

I know the phone has magnetic/ferrous components for speaker, I believe the casing material is aluminum. I think there's some copper also in the circuitry, not sure what else. It is inside a heavy plastic case.

The Garret Ace-250 detector as many of you may know is setup for coins. It has iron, foil, gold and bronze and silver in the menu, different coin sizes and depth, sensitivity selections.

Which of these is most cell-phone like?
Any tips or advice?
I would really like to learn. I am willing to put some time and effort into this.

I am optimistic the phone is in somewhat working condition because even 6 hrs after I estimate to have lost it it rang instead of going straight to voicemail. My hope is to find it, I may still need a new phone but hopefully I can find it in good enough condition to salvage some of the data. All of my pictures and special memories on it, and I didn't know how to do the backup so I (stupidly) am now hurting and very sad over it.

It is as all digital, but it is as if I lost all of my family photo albums in a fire or something. I am Very sad about it.

How deep of snow can these go in?
Particularly w/snow? For instance it has depth indicators but I am assuming it is thinking you are searching in the dirt, not snow (does it make a difference?)

Any and all help is appreciated - you can also email me at woodgolf at

If someone is willing to help me find I am also willing to help cover gas, meals, provide cookies/hot cocoa and also help out with the hunt in any way I can.

Mntnclmbr 12-05-2013 10:08 PM

The cookies sound good:D
Be nice if you said where you are located!

Did you try going outside and listen as you call the cell phone?

skydealer 12-05-2013 10:12 PM

The phone should not be getting wet because the current temperature in MN is well below freezing, so that's a good thing.

If it still rings I would think your best chance would be to go out there and walk around while someone else keeps calling the number.

Seeing the cell phone is a rather large item compared to a coin it should be picked up easily through snow but the issue is you would have to me methodical in the way you search so you don't miss any spots. I would try running it in all metal mode first with the sensitivity cranked kind of low. Look for a larger signal rather than a small blip though be prepared to get a lot of false signals, especially near fences, concrete and the street.

If you don't find it until spring that may not be a total loss. I just moved to Georgia from the twin cities and every spring I'd walk the parking lot at work where the plows would stack the snow up. The only ones that didn't power up were the ones that got damaged by the plows. Just make sure it's dry before you turn the power back on.

You can also test the detector with another cell phone to make sure you get a signal with your settings.

skydealer 12-05-2013 11:05 PM

Does your cell phone use a memory card for storage? Even if the phone is damaged you may be able to retrieve the pictures off of it if it uses an SD card.

Kat26 12-05-2013 11:49 PM

I am in Duluth, MN.

It's an iPhone not sure if there's a card in it but everything is so cryptic on it.
Unfortunately calling was no use - it was on vibrate and buried dropped in fresh snow (we got over a foot that night and this was the morning after that snow so a fresh 1+ Of snow.

Lost around 10 am. Phone was still on at 6 pm after neighbor plowed driveway so I dont think it was run over/destroyed, by 8 pm phone was dead (which I expected).

Other neighbor across the street said she found a phone in her yard in march, plugged it in and it worked so I am holding out hope!

I am VERY new to this. Metal detecting for the first time.
Any advice you can give relating to the settings or how to use in these conditions would be appreciated (nothing is too obvious!)

Depth: unknown (6-18 in snow?), but could be in snow bank (deeper possibly)
Unit: Ace 250 (renting it :-(
Experience metal detecting: 5 minutes

Glennz 12-06-2013 12:59 AM

I have never used that model but if it is like mine make sure the iron id ison and the sensetivity to at least mid range also you want to pick up as much metal as possible

Mntnclmbr 12-06-2013 01:14 AM

If you do find it, I'd dry it off as best you can. Then I would put in a bag of rice for a couple days before trying to charge it.
I found an iPhone this past summer that had been lost for about 4 months.
It had a cracked cases with a chunk missing. It was in New Mexico which is fairly dry, but it worked great after charging.

jmorton04 12-06-2013 01:45 AM

On vibrate?
A dog can find it. Do you have one or can you borrow one?
Hope this helps.
John Morton

Kat26 12-06-2013 02:15 AM

On vibrate but dead as of 8pm, which I expected bc I lost it around 10 am that when it was about 50-70 percent, and in cold weather sap battery faster.

I do not have a dog, but I am curious... Honestly, I know about as much about dogs as I do about metal detecting) not much).

But, 2 of my neighbors have labs, and a close friend has a labtriever.
What kind of dog is best?

The one thing is I have disturbed the area quite a bit - looking for phone, shoveling, the snowfall was so extreme my neighbor plowed my driveway w/o asking but, was grateful for he help despite, because it is so much snow here.
I don't think he ran it over.

Some basics I need considering the following setup:

-1ft deep snow (approx) could be a lot more if buried in snowbank)
-Garrett Ace 250; (renting mot gonna cut it)
-a few "spots" it could be (20x20', 10x30', 10x10' and 20x20')
(All spots in my yard/dw or neighbors, all are friendly and know I am trying this MD thing too!!!)

Also: never done this- need to know:
1) how slow to go/sweep
2) what is the phone made of (use filters or no?)
-iPhone5 I believe is Aluminum case under the plastic
-not sure what the thee components are: I am guessing some Copper and Iron but not sure how much; or what kind of "coin" that would be equivalent to
3) I am not a hobbyist per se, (yet), but I have a good place for it I think! If I were to buy one, what would be ideal with this goal (find phone) in mind?

1) What sensitivity level? (Max, min, halfway? I think there's like 6-8 levels)

Dirt Nuker 12-06-2013 09:41 AM

If it's more than a foot deep, your chances of getting a hit with the MD are much smaller. List the phone at and see if you get some help that way. Don't rent the MD. Unless you know how it works, you'll be chasing many bad signals and wasting time.

Now for the bad news. iPhones don't have external memory cards (like many phones on Android do). Even on my Samsung Galaxy S3 I have every picture I take is automatically sent to my Dropbox account. No picture is ever lost, even if I lose the phone. Even then, there is always a copy on my phone or on the memory card if I choose to save pictures to it instead (which everybody should do). Sadly, when it comes time to sell/trade the phone, I'm pretty sure the battery's moisture sensor will show water damage and make it worth much less. One other tip is to get some kind of alarm application. Even if my phone is powered on and silent, I can access it through the app company's website, send a text message or an email and have an extremely loud alarm go off. Also works great in cases of phone theft. Well worth the cost (some are even free).

If the snow is deep, crank up the sensitivity one bar under full and put the MD into "all metal" mode. Swing it sloooow. The closer you get to the ground, back off on the sensitivity. Good luck!

Kat26 12-06-2013 12:12 PM

"List the phone at "
Did that, last night. (I have a feeling I'm not gonna get a lot of takers in this -15*/(-30* w/windchill) weather :no:

Willing to stick out the cold myself, if I can have at least a clue of what I am doing. I kind of get how it works, I understand enough, that, if you don't know what you're doing, or know your equipment well, that you're probably wasting time. Thats why I'm trying to learn.

"Sadly, when it comes time to sell/trade the phone, I'm pretty sure the battery's moisture sensor will show water damage and make it worth much less."

I don't care, if the phone works at this point or in spring, that's a bonus. I've come to accept the financial loss. All it takes to replace the phone is money, money can be replaced, I just have to work longer, harder, and live on ramen for a few months :-)

But pictures and the memories are priceless.

I have heard of lots of people finding phones in the spring so I am considering that.

Even if I don't find a detectorist to help out, I am happy to take all the help I can get, or if someone has an extra one that I could borrow, or rent (affordably) those are all things I would be willing to try.

I like learning new things, like being outside, I can handle the cold, just really want to find.

skydealer 12-06-2013 04:25 PM

Do you think using a garden rake would work on the snow that's not packed down?

ryansclzo 12-08-2013 05:26 PM

With the ace 250 you could run it in jewelry mode to get rid of iron, and then put the sensitivity at its highest.

Good luck, hope your pictures are safe!

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