Remember Android Device Manager? The feature was pretty much a less gracefully-worded version of Apple’s “Find my iPhone,” letting you remotely communicate with your phone, and even lock it, when you lost it. Android Device Manager is no more, however, but don’t panic; that doesn’t mean you’re now easy pickings for thieves. ADM is merely being revamped as the much more appropriately named “Find My Device” which also comes with a couple of nifty new features.
Here’s everything you need to know about the feature and how to make the most of it to give yourself at least a little peace of mind when you lose your phone.
Setup and Features
The first thing to know is that this app doesn’t come pre-baked into your phone. You’ll need to head over to the Play Store to download Find My Device. Once you’ve installed it, log in with your Google account credentials to start using it. (This isn’t compulsory – see the next heading for more info.)
Once you’re in you can manage all Android devices associated with your Google account, switching between them using the icons at the top of the screen. Remember that in order to track your device’s location you’ll need to have Location settings switched on (Settings -> Location -> On).
Selecting a device will show you its current battery level and the WiFi network it’s connected to, if any. If it’s connected to some network you don’t recognize, then that should help you make a decision about what further action you want to take. The “Lock” option locks your device and lets you leave a message for anyone who finds it as well as a phone number where they can contact you. “Erase” wipes the phone completely and will then require your Google credentials to log into it again.
The “Play Sound” option does just that, ringing the phone for five minutes so you can listen for it.
Using Find Your Phone on Other Devices and Computers
One of many good things about this app is that you don’t need to set it up before starting to take advantage of it. Say you’ve lost your phone but haven’t ever used or installed the Find My Device app. You can simply log into the app on someone else’s device and use that instead. (Select the “Sign In as Guest” option, then sign in with your details.)
You can also log into Find My Device on any browser, whether on a phone or computer. Simply type “find my device” into Google and select the option that, at the time of writing, still says “Android Device Manager.” (This will probably be updated eventually to “Find My Device,” so be wary of that changing.)
Another option is to type “find my phone” into Google on Chrome which will instantly bring up a box at the top of the search results showing your phone’s location (if you’re signed in to your Google account), with options to ‘Ring’ and ‘Recover.’
This feature is so useful that it deserves to be mentioned every now and then because really everyone should be using it. Thanks to features like this, smartphone theft is on the decline as it allows you to lock thieves out of your phone, rendering it useless to them. So use it because otherwise you’ll be letting the thieves win.