How to Find Your Android Phone or Tablet if it Has Been Stolen or Lost
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In today’s society losing your phone is almost as bad as losing your wallet, possibly worse in some cases. Thankfully most Android devices offer a reasonably simple solution to tracking it down and getting all your precious data back. In the case of theft simply having to option erase everything remotely is what is most desired. Unfortunately, as simple as it can be to locate a missing device, there are a few prerequisites that will need to be met first in order to track down your phone.
Perhaps you are recently back from holidays and have lost your phone somewhere in your car or suitcase. Or maybe you were unfortunate enough to have been pickpocketed on the subway during the final part of your journey home. Thankfully, finding an Android smartphone or tablet is quick and easy.
● Firstly, your device needs to be connected to your Google account. (logged in)
● Secondly, your device has to have internet access. (WiFi or Mobile, either option works)
● Thirdly, 'Allow Android Device Manager' (ADM) needs to be turned on. This setting is turned On by default, however, can be changed in the Google Settings menu.
● The last option is 'Allow (ADM) to lock your device and erase its data', this option is turned Off by default. (not needed to locate your phone just erase data)
To find Android device manager (ADM) on your phone, simply open the Settings menu, scroll down to the GOOGLE icon, then tap and scroll down once more until you find the Security tab. Inside this menu you will find both these options.
Note: If you have already lost your phone this cannot be accessed for obvious reasons.
Now that we have gone through the prerequisites for tracking down your lost Android device, here is the step by step method to actually located it.
The first method and the easiest is to open your Internet browser, go to www.google.com, log in with the account associated with your phone, and type the following into the search box Find my Android. After a few seconds, you will be greeted another screen. On this screen, click Allow and continue.
The next screen that greets you will show your phone’s current name, which will be the default for your model if you have not chosen to change it. Here click Accept once more to continue. After clicking Accept Google will take a few moments to load, after loading you will be looking at the location of your phone on Google maps. It’s accurate to about 10 meters, which should get your pretty close.
As well as showing the location of your phone, there are also three handy options.
Ring. The first option which dials your phone at MAX volume for 5 minutes. Which is fantastic if you have left it on silent somewhere in your car or apartment.
Lock. The second option, instantly locks your phone, enabling a lock screen password. Once the password is entered, you can also add a recovery message and enter a phone number you wish called, to hopefully return your phone.
Note: This creates a lock screen even if you previously didn’t have a passcode or pattern lock enabled on your phone.
Erase. The third and final option locks your phone and erases all the data. This is the 'all hope is lost option', as once Erase has been activated ADM will no longer function. It’s basically - 'Goodbye old friend'
Note: Whether it will be able to fully wipe data on the SD card will depend on the make and model of your phone.
If your phone isn’t located using this method there are two possible reasons, the phone is switched off, or it cannot connect to the internet. Keep persisting with this method and hopefully, you will get a connection sooner or later. If on the other hand your phone has been stolen, there is the possibility the thief may have logged you out of your google account, therefore making tracking with this method impossible. Having a passcode or pattern lock on your phone at all times is the best method to protect against this possibility.
THE BACKUP PLAN... Again this method relies heavily on several prerequisites in order to locate your device.
1: The device needs to be connected to your Google account.
2: The device has to have access to the internet.
3: Location Reporting and Location History options need to be activated on your device (This can be done through the settings menu. Settings > Location settings).
Having these options activated on your device will allow you to use the Google timeline feature. This option wasn’t designed to track or follow the location of a lost or stolen phone, however, it can help in finding the possible location it was last active from.
Step 1: Log into the Google account associated with your Android device, then head over to the Google Maps page. In the top left-hand corner there is a drop down tab (3 horizontal lines) select this, then select Your timeline this will bring up your location history, providing the above prerequisites have been met.
Step 2: Select the most relevant timeframe in which you believe your phone went missing. Today, yesterday, the 19 of September, whatever it may have been.
Google will bring up a fairly detailed map of your movements, depending on the accuracy mode set in your location services. An example is shown above. This method can be particularly handy if you’ve had a big night out drinking with friends and wake the next morning with hardly a clue where you spent half of the evening...
If option one fails this is the next best way to find your phone, especially if the battery has gone flat whilst you were sleeping off a hangover... Although these are two great ways to recover your device, it won't always guarantee the happy ending you are most certainly look for. Fortunately there are several inexpensive, payed apps available on the play store which can greatly increase the chances of tracking down your lost or stolen phone. If you are prone to forgetfulness or just commonly unlucky I would recommend investing in one for potential future mishaps.
Fortunately, there are several inexpensive, paid apps available on the play store which can greatly increase the chances of tracking down your lost or stolen phone. If you are prone to forgetfulness or just commonly unlucky, I recommend investing in one for potential future mishaps.