The worst thing that can happen to a smartphone user is losing his/her smartphone. It can be lost or stolen.
While there are a number of apps, websites and services claiming to track down your lost phone in case of such mishappening, but it always better to take precautionary steps beforehand.
And one such precautionary step you can do is enabling Android Device Manager.
Android Device Manager has been there for quite some time but only a few people know about its existence.
It is a great online tool which can prove to be your helping hand in your mission of finding your lost phone.
But what is Android Device Manager? What does Android Device Manager do? How to use Android Device Manager? Let me help you with these questions.
And here we go..
What is Android Device Manager?
Android Device Manager is Google’s very own online tool to track the current location of your smartphone. It is also called ‘Find my Device’.
Along with locating your phone, Android Device Manager lets you Ring, Lock and Erase your phone remotely. I’ll talk more about this later in this post.
For Android Device Manager to work, there are a few requirements and one of them is to make sure that it is enabled on your Android.
How to enable Android Device Manager?
By default, Android Device Manager is enabled on every Android device.
If you want to make sure that it is actually enabled or If you want to enable ADM, here’s how you can:
1. Go to the Settings of your phone.
2. Navigate to Google and tap on it.
3. Tap on Security.
4. Tap on Find My Device.
5. Switch on ‘Remotely locate this device’ and ‘Allow remote lock and erase’.
That’s it and now you have enabled Android Device Manager on your phone.
How to use Android Device Manager?
Before I start on how to use Android Device Manager, you need to know that there are few things required for Android Device Manager to work.
1. The Device must be turned on.
2. The Location of the device must be turned on.
3. Find My Device or Android Device Manager must be turned on.
4. The device should have an active internet connection.
5. The device must be signed-in to a Google Account.
If all the above conditions are met, only then Find My Device will work.
How to use Android Device Manager or Find My Device?
Using Android Device Manager is simple.
Visit Find My Device and sign-in to your Google Account. You’ll be welcomed with this on your screen.
As you can see on the right, you have a map which will pinpoint your current location and on the left, you’ll see your device’s name, Battery Percentage, Internet Connection status and all the three actions which you can perform.
The location will not always be accurate, but it can give a fair idea about the location of your phone.
Moving on from the location tracking function of ‘Find My Device’, there are other functions of this tool that can help you a lot in getting back your lost or stolen phone.
1. Play Audio or Ring
As the name suggests, this function will ring your device continuously for 5 minutes, even if your device is kept on silent.
If the map shows that your device is somewhere nearby then this is the function to go with. Just tap on Ring and you’ll find your way to your phone following the sound, as it will be ringing at full volume.
It will ring non-stop for five minutes until you click on ‘Stop Ringing’ or till you press the ‘Power’ button of your device.
If ringing your device doesn’t help, then its time that you Lock your device using ‘Find My Device’ and thus prevents the thief or the person who found your phone from accessing the data on your phone.
You can set a custom message which will be displayed on the lock screen of your phone. And along with a custom message, you can provide a phone number. This will lock the device but will enable the finder of your phone to call on that number ONLY.
If the finder your phone is not kind enough to call you back, then there is only one thing you can do. In fact, you should do. And that is to Wipe your phone.
Once you click on ERASE, the device will go back to factory settings. All your files, photos, apps and music will be erased. Keep in mind that it will erase only the contents of the internal storage, but not the content of SD Card. Your SD Card will remain as it was, untouched.
After you’ve wiped all your phone’s contents, Find My Device will not work anymore. That is because for Android Device Manager to work your device must be signed in to a Google Account and erasing the device will remove the existing Google account on your phone.
So, think thrice before clicking on ERASE.
In case your device is switched off or is not online, the LOCK and ERASE function will do its work when the device comes online.
What if Android Device Manager doesn’t work?
As I’ve already mentioned earlier, Android Device Manager will work only if certain conditions are met.
If Android Device Manager is not working for you then there is another way to track your phone. It is not as effective as Find My Device, but it can come of some help.
And that is Google Maps Timeline.
The Timeline keeps track of all the places that you’ve visited with your phone.
It’s like an automated journal which records all the places you’ve been to and also on what date. But remember that for this to work, the Location History must be turned on beforehand.
Here’s how you can make sure that Location History is turned on your phone:
1. Go to your device’s Settings.
2. Navigate to Location.
3. Tap on Google Location History.
4. Turn on Location History.
How to use Google Maps Timeline?
1. Visit google.com and sign in with your Google Account.
2. In the search box, type ‘My Timeline’.
3. Click on the top most link which says ‘Your Timeline’ or ‘My Timeline’.
On the next screen, you’ll be greeted with a map. All you need to do is select the date on which you lost your device and then Google will come up with a map showing all the places you went, your mode of transportation and how much time you stayed at a particular place.
But just like ADM, Timeline also requires an active internet connection on your phone to work.
And if you’ve erased your phone through ‘Find My Device’, then this method won’t be of any help.
What if nothing works?
If neither Find My Device nor Google Maps Timeline works, then third-party apps like Cerebrus, Lost Android, Prey Anti-theft, etc can help you with this situation.
You can read more about these apps in our article How to track a lost phone.
Although ADM is not your the best shot in tracking down a lost phone, but there’s no denying that it is a very useful tool.
It is advised to keep ‘Find My Device’ enabled on your phone, always, so that whenever you face a situation like this, the chance of getting back your phone increase. Better safe than sorry.
Now that you know how to use Android Device Manager, what are your thoughts on this tool? Do you find it useful? Are there any tips which you would like to share with me? The comments section is all yours.
And don’t forget to share this helpful article with your friends and family members.