Find a lost Android Phone using Find my Device

The smartphone is a technological marvel. And you might be using your smartphone a lot. I’m guessing that your smartphone probably has all of your personal information, private messages and even your saves for your favorite game. It’s no surprise that for most people nowadays, losing their phone is like a mini-Armageddon – it’s the end of the world. But, all is not lost because Google has created the Find my DeviceĀ app and feature.

If ever that you lose your Android device, retrieving it is easy. For added safety and security, you can even wipe your phone remotely. If wiping is not an option, you will still be able to see where your phone is wherever you are. So if you manage to lose your phone in the Philippines during a flight, you can still see even if you’re in let’s say India. Let’s talk about how to use Find my Device by Google to locate or wipe your phone.

Find my Device

As awesome as this feature sounds, there are some requirements that need to be met first. Just make sure that you sign into your Google Account for your Android device. When you sign into your Google Account, the Find my Device feature is turned on by default.

To use Find my Device, a lost Android device must:

  • Be turned on
  • Have signed in to a Google Account
  • Be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi
  • Be visible on Google Play
  • Have Location turned on
  • Have Find My Device turned on

If any of these criteria is not met, you might run into a problem. For example you’re in Bangladesh and your data is off because you don’t want to incur roaming charges, and you lose your phone. You might not be able to find it unless it gets connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot.

In any case, just make sure that you keep these requirements in mind so you can find your phone when the worst case scenario happens.

How to use Find my Device by Google

Using Find my device, you can easily locate your smartphone or tablet. However, your phone must meet the criteria above. Here’s an outline of what you need to do to start finding your device:

  1. Go to the Find my Device website by clicking here – android.com/find
  2. Find my Device will prompt you to accept some terms and conditions, simply click on accept
  3. The website will attempt to find your phone, be patient while this process is happening
  4. Once the device’s location has been established, you are given three options:
    1. Play Sound – a sound will be played on your phone for 5 minutes, unlocking the device will stop the sound
    2. Secure Device – Lock the device and sign out of your Google account. This is an important feature if you keep personal information on your Google account.
    3. Erase Device – Fully erases the device.
  5. Click on Play Sound
  6. Attempt to find your Phone using the sound

Clicking on Play Sound actually makes your phone ring on full volume. You’ll also see a timer of how long it took before your phone was unlocked. This happens remotely, it doesn’t matter if you’re in Pakistan or Indonesia, it just works.

But what if you want to go the extra mile and you want to erase the information on your lost device? Here’s how.

How to Wipe your Lost Device

If you’ve got a lot of sensitive information saved on your phone, you have the option of wiping it clean. if you fear that your phone has gotten into the wrong hands, you can prevent them from accessing important files and documents. We’ll be going through almost the same procedure as locating it with some differences.

Before you begin, make sure that device meets the criteria to be easily found.

How to Secure your Device Remotely

If you don’t want to completely wipe your phone information, you can just simply secure it. Here’s how:

  1. Head to the Find my Device website by clicking here – android.com/find
  2. The website might prompt you to accept some terms and conditions, simply click on accept
  3. Find my device will attempt to find your phone. It will give you a general location of where the phone was last seen or if it is currently active, it will show the exact location
  4. Once the location has been established, click on Secure Device.
  5. It will ask you if you want to display a recovery message and recovery phone number. Input the information as needed.
  6. Click on Secure Device
  7. Done

What this does is it locks your phone and signs out of your Google account. If you chose the option if displaying a recovery message, it might make your search easier. If someone picks up the phone, they might see the message and contact you.

How to Completely Wipe your Phone Remotely

If you’re at the point where you’ve got a lot of important information on your phone, and you can’t risk someone finding your phone, then doing a complete wipe might be the solution. Completely wiping your phone will erase everything. Your account, pictures and any apps on the phone will be erased. Think of it like factory resetting the device remotely. If you’re sure that you want to go through with the process, here’s how you can do it:

  1. Navigate to the Find my Device website by clicking here – android.com/find
  2. The website might prompt you to accept some terms and conditions, simply click on accept
  3. Find my device will attempt to find your phone. It will give you a general location of where the phone was last seen or if it is currently active, it will show the exact location
  4. Once the location has been established, click on Erase Device.
  5. The website will show you a warning of what will happen to your phone. Make sure to read through it before proceeding.
  6. Click on Erase Device
  7. Done

Your device should now revert to its factory settings. With all your files deleted, you can rest with peace of mind.

Find my Device App

If you’ve got another Android device, you can actually use that to locate your other device. All you need to do is download the Find my Device app on the Google Play store. The features are the same with accessing the website. I recommend using this option if you don’t have a close-by PC and you can only use your phone.

Additionally, the Find my Device App can integrate into your Google Maps so you can easily navigate back to your phone. It’s a pretty fluid experience but of course, it’s an experience that you might not want to go through.

You can download the Find my Device app by clicking here.

Final Words

Nobody wants to lose their phone. But it’s great that there a lot of fallbacks that you can use just in case. With Find my Device by Google, you’ll be able to easily track your phone. You can also remotely make changes on the phone. This is one of the reasons why I enjoy having an Android phone.

If ever that you lost your phone, just head back to this guide and try to locate your phone! Just make sure that the requirements are met. Personally, I don’t want to experience using this feature (because that would mean that I would lose my phone), but I’m sure really glad that it’s there. Thanks, Google.

Did this guide help you? Let me know in the comments!

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