Level of difficulty: for beginners. Today, all popular mobile operating systems have in their arsenal built-in tools for remote device management. This may be necessary in the event of the loss or theft of a smartphone in order to find its location, send a message to those who found it, block or destroy its personal data. Most recently, we met with the implementation of these functions on the Windows Phone platform, and in this article we will tell you how to find a missing smartphone or tablet running Android.
How to find Android phone using Android Device Manager
A standard tool from Google consists of two interconnected parts. A small utility called “Android Remote Control” is installed on your gadget, and commands are given to it through the web interface. Many manufacturers install this utility on their devices by default, but if you do not have it, then you can download it on Google Play.
Setting up Android Device Manager
Google scrupulously treats the confidentiality of personal information, so you must activate the Android Remote Control utility yourself and give it the necessary permissions. To do this, follow these steps.
1. Open the device settings. Go to the Security section.
2. Select “Device Administrators”.
3. Check the box “Remote control Android”. Familiarize yourself with the features of the program and agree by pressing the “Activate” button.
4. Go back and close the settings.
How to discover where your Android is
If your gadget was stolen or simply lost somewhere, then using the Android Device Manager service, you are likely to find its current location. Of course, the capabilities of this service are limited, especially if the attackers promptly turned off the device or reset the settings. However, there are still some chances, especially if the device is searched in hot pursuit or it fell into the hands of inexperienced users.
To search for your smartphone or tablet, go to the “Android Remote Control” page. Select your device in the drop-down list if you have several of them, and click the button with the target icon “Locate device”. After a short wait, you will see a marker on the map, as well as information about the time of the last connection to the network in the floating panel on the left.
Please note that the accuracy of the detection is very dependent on whether the GPS system is activated on your device. But in any case, you can at least approximately determine the area for smartphone searches.
In a situation where the phone is somewhere near you, but you can’t find it, you can use the dialer function. Press the “Call” button, and the smartphone will start ringing at maximum volume for five minutes. Thus, it is easy to detect a gadget that has fallen under a bed or behind a cabinet within the borders of your home.
Not always the person who found your smartphone wants to appropriate or sell it. There are also honest people who will gladly return your favorite gadget to you. And to help them do it faster, you can send a special message that will be displayed on a locked screen. To do this, use the “Block” button in the “Android Remote Control” web interface.
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In the pop-up window that appears, you should set the lock password, message and phone number that will be displayed when you turn on your device. Thus, you will help the new owner to call you faster and avoid the temptation to dig deeper into your personal notes and photos.
In the most unfortunate combination of circumstances, when there is no hope of returning the device, you need to at least minimize the possible damage from the leak of personal data. In this case, use the “Clear” button on the “Android Remote Control” page. After pressing it and confirming your choice, the device will be completely reset to the factory settings and data will be destroyed. Please note that this will not affect the contents of the SD card, so you should not use it to store personal photos, documents or other confidential information.
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Search for a smartphone through the Lost Android program
As you can see in the previous section, the proprietary Android Remote Control application has only a basic set of functions that will help you not in all situations. If you need a more powerful program for remote control of your smartphone, we recommend that you get acquainted with Lost Android.
First, you need to install a small client from the Google Play application catalog on your device. Do not be surprised that as a result you will have a new Personal Notes application, because this is how Lost Android disguises itself from prying eyes. After starting the program, you must give it device administrator rights in the same way as we did in the case of Android Device Manager.
The heart of Lost Android and the remote control of your device is a special page on the network located here. It does not look too fashionable, but it does provide a lot of opportunities.
First of all, you will need to register using your Google account. After that, the connection with the Lost Android client on your smartphone or tablet will be established, and you can begin to study the available functions. Here is just a short list of them.
- Sending a log of recent calls and SMS-messages to your e-mail.
- Turn on the sound signal, vibration, screen on the lost device.
- Search for the location of your phone on a map. In the event that GPS is currently disabled, you can turn it on remotely and increase your search accuracy.
- Sending SMS from your phone through the Lost Android web interface.
- Lock and unlock your phone from the Internet.
- Remote wipe of all personal data, including those stored on the SD card.
- Sending pop-up messages to the new owner with a request to return the gadget.
- Receiving a message on the status of the phone, which will include the battery level, IMEI, SIM card number and much more.
- Manage your phone using SMS messages. This will help you if your phone does not have an Internet connection.
- Sim card change notification. Even if the new owner changes the SIM card, you will immediately know about it and still be able to give commands to your gadget.
- Lost Android can take pictures with the front or rear camera and send to your email. For the sake of fidelity, a pop-up message first appears on the screen, and the camera clicks at the moment when the new owner touches the close button. Thus, you will definitely get a photograph of the attacker.
- Remote viewing and backup of contacts, text messages, photos. So you can get back at least your data if the smartphone has irretrievably disappeared.
Even such a concise enumeration of the capabilities of the Lost Android program indicates that with its help you get almost complete and unlimited power over your gadget, despite the fact that it is far from you. At the same time, it is very important that, along with push notifications, SMS commands are also used for management, which forms an additional communication channel with your device.