Losing your Android device, either to theft or your own forgetfulness, is certainly no fun. But it’s a lot better than it used to be. Google has finally released their answer to Lost Android, Lookout, and Apple’s Find My iPhone: Android Device Manager. ADM should be hitting your device soon, if it hasn’t already, to help you locate or factory wipe your misplaced Android device. Here’s how to use it.
Android Device Manager will automatically hit your device without you having to do a thing. If you don’t have it yet, you will soon. But before you can take full advantage of ADM, you’re going to need to do a few things, like enable factory reset on your device. Setting it up is pretty simple. First, visit google.com/android/devicemanager.
From there, a map will pop up with some information about your device, along with a prompt to enable the Erase Device function of ADM. You can either manually open up the green Google Settings app, which should be in your app drawer, or use the send notification link on the ADM webpage, giving you an easy way to find exactly where you need to be to enable remote factory reset. If you don’t use the notification, just open Google Settings, and select Android Device Manager. The option to toggle both the ability to factory reset your phone from ADM, and locate it, will be in there.
After you’ve done that, you’re all set to go. At the moment, there are three main functions of Android Device Manager. You can ring a lost phone, factory reset a lost phone or locate your device on a map using your phones GPS. You can also rename what your device appears as in ADM.
Simply loading ADM online will show you the location of your device, but if you’re tracking it while it’s on the move, there’s a refresh button that will recalculate your device’s location.
If your device is located somewhere simple, like in your own house, you may want to use the Ring function. As Google explains, even if your phone is on silent, using the ring function in ADM will force your phone to ring at full volume for five minutes. To turn it off, you have to press the power button on your phone. There’s nothing on your device indicating why it’s ringing, you’d have to know how to stop the ringing or play around to figure it out.
If you believe your device has been stolen, and your have precious information on it, then the Erase Device function will come in handy. After you click Erase Device, a pop up will tell you what it will erase (essentially everything), and what will happen after that. Unfortunately, Google says it “may not be able to wipe the content of the SD card in your device.” Best of luck if you have anything private on there.
If your device is off when you try to factory reset it, have no fear. The moment it’s turned on, it will be erased.
You may think erasing the content of your device is the best thing to do as soon as you find it’s missing, but you may want to hold on. After you erase your device, ADM will not work anymore.
Right now, that’s all there is to it. As with all of Google’s products, we expect to see more features added in time. If you have any questions, please be sure to let us know in the comments, and we’ll help however we can.