One thing that we are all scared of is losing our phones because in today’s day and age losing our phone means losing access to all our data, contacts, and gigabytes of sensitive and important personal information. The best advice is to be careful of your phone at all times, but we are all humans at the end of the day and we forget things easily, even if they are important. The next best thing after not misplacing our phones is to be able to find a lost phone. Both iOS and Android smartphones come with this functionality where if you have set up your phone using the right options, you would be able to find a lost device and take all kinds of necessary actions to locate them remotely. Today, we will be discussing about how to make use of this option on an android device.
To be found, an android phone must be adhering to the following criteria –
- The phone should be switched on.
- The phone must be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi and signed in to a Google Account.
- It must be visible on Google Play.
- It must have location turned on.
- Find my device option should be enabled.
- If the 2-step verification is set up on that Google Account and the lost phone is used for the corresponding verification, there must be a backup verification option (phone/code) set up.
Finding Your Phone
If all the prerequisites are satisfied, you will be able to find your phone using any desktop or laptop with internet access. The steps for the same are as follows –
- Log on to android.com/find, you will be prompted to sign in to your Google Account.
- Sign in to the same Google Account which is logged in on the lost phone. (If more than one phone is connected to this account, click on the lost on the next page)
- Once you do this, a notification would arrive on the lost phone.
- Next, a map opens up which either displays the current location of your phone (may or may not be exact) or it’s last known location (if the phone is not currently active).
- On this page, you will have the following options –
- Play Sound: Selecting this option rings your phone at full volume for 5 minutes straight, irrespective of whether the phone is set to silent or vibrate.
- Secure Device: This option locks your phone with your existing lock option, that is, PIN, pattern, or password. If no lock is currently set, this option also lets you set one. Not just that, you can also add a message or phone number on the lock screen, in case someone else finds your phone.
- Erase Device: Choosing this option permanently deletes all your data from the phone after which find my device stops working on it too. Note that this may or may not delete data on your external SD cards, and if you find your phone afterward you would need to log in using your Google account password to be able to use the phone.
Alternatively, you can also use a different Android device to find your lost phone by downloading the Find my Device app from Google Play Store. After downloading, sign in using your Google Account and follow the steps mentioned above.
Even though Google provides you with the functionality to be able to find a lost phone, I am sure none of you would want to take the chance. However, owing to the forgettable nature of humans and for times that are beyond our control, do make sure that your phone has all the prerequisites enabled on it right now because, emergencies and lost phones do not come with a warning!
I hope that precautions are taken and no phone misplaced but in case you do, you will be able to easily locate, ring, lock and erase your phone as per the demand of the situation.
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You will be unable to find the current location of your lost device if it is turned off. However, you will be able to find the last known location of the device, that is, its location when it was still on.
To check if Find my Device is enabled on your phone or not, head over to your phone settings and look for the Security settings under it (or Security & Location). On this tab, you will be able to turn the ‘Find my Device’ option on and off.
No, if your device is hidden on Google Play, Find my Device won’t work for it. To make your device visible, open Settings on Play Store and under the ‘Visibility’ tag, select the device.
Head over to your Google Account, and open the security tab. Under this, access the ‘2-Step Verification’ option on the Signing in to Google tag. You can add a backup phone, or get backup codes for verifying your identity when this option is enabled and you lose access to your primary device.
To unlock your phone, you will need to enter the password of the Google Account which was signed in on the device which is same as the one you used to access ‘Find my device’.