Nov 06 AT 2:35 PM Dima Aryeh 50 Comments

Android Device Manager may be disabled by Google Play Services update; go re-enable it

Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager is an incredible tool for those who are absent minded or just unlucky. If you misplace your phone, you can use ADM to make it ring even if it’s on silent. If you lose it, you can locate it using a computer or even wipe it if you have very sensitive data on it. Once you lose your phone, ADM will be your last hope… that’s something you don’t want to be without.

But strangely, the newest update to the Google Play Services is leaving people without Android Device Manager, and unknowingly, too. The update seems to be disabling ADM entirely for some, but not for everyone. So if you have Google Play Services 4.0.30 or 4.0.31 (check by going to Settings > Applications > All > Google Play services), your ADM might be disabled.

Luckily, this is a very easy fix. Simply go to Settings > Security > Device administrators and re-enable Android Device Manager. If you’ll someday need it, and we hope you never do, you don’t want it to be off.

However, does it worry anyone else that Google decides to release an update to a crucial part of most Android phones that just sneakily disables a feature that can save someone’s device? I think that’s absolutely ridiculous. Unfortunately, there isn’t much we can do. Just stay smart and keep it enabled. And if it is enabled, check on it once in a while. Was yours suddenly disabled? Leave a comment with your device, Android version and Play Services version!

Source: Android Police

Dima Aryeh is a Russian obsessed with all things tech. He does photography, is an avid phone modder (who uses an AT&T Galaxy Note II), a heavy gamer (both PC and 360), and an aspiring home mechanic. He is also an avid fan of music, especially power metal.

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  • Bruce Warren

    HTC DNA, GPS 4.0.31; 4.1.1

    Yup, it was off. Good catch.

  • danWC

    Yep, mine was disabled. Nexus 4 , 4.3, 4.0.31

    • Mix

      Ditto.

      I bet somewhere someone lost their phone and can’t find it because of this and Google will get a class action lawsuit.

      • Fahad

        What? Why would they get a class action lawsuit over something like that. I mean if they had left it on by default i’m sure people would be crying over privacy concerns. People loose their phones all the time and if you’re intelligent enough or tech savvy enough you would have caught this feature. Most tech blogs and android blogs have covered this if i’m not mistaken. The way I look at it either way people were gonna bitch.

        • STEVEN

          Don’t know about class action suits…but there is a big gap between automatically having it on default vs having some kind of popup notification that informs you of changes and instructs you to make a change if you want to turn the service on

        • LukeT32

          Not turn it on… but leave it to the current setting. Not disabling it automatically without notifing the end user.

  • Gregg

    Thanks for this! Mine was disabled… Canada, Bell Galaxy S3, JB 4.1.2, Play Services 4.0.31

  • Cesar Cardoso

    +1 disabled. Nexus 4, 4.3, 4.0.31.

  • alexanderharri3

    Same, Galaxy S4 on 4.3, GPS 4.0.31.

  • 573W1E

    +1! Was also disabled. GPS 4.0.31. HTC One 4.3/Sense 5.5

  • spazby

    Disabled, GPS 4.0.31, Galaxy S3

  • Billy

    Thanks for the update. Mine was also off. Where is the direct communication from Google? How does such a security sensitive feature get turned off and then ignored? I can forgive bugs but this is irritating.

  • Ant

    I had to enable it — Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I525 4.1.2

  • michael

    note 3 disabled

    Android phones that just sneakily disables a feature that can save someone’s device? I think that’s absolutely ridiculous AGREED!!!

  • Bart

    Since I never really verified it was enabled in the first place, I can’t blame Google. Also, I already have at least 4 other apps capable of this remote service. I seriously doubt Google, (aka open architecture, give freebies, much nicer than Apple), would intentionally want to shaft us. It is really sad to see how many people having little to no clue about the facts all ready to jump all over possibly innocent others. Most likely this was an oversight. Programmers do make mistakes.

    • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

      The issue is that Google has absolutely no testing standards. This kind of bug can lose someone a lot of money and important information. Google needs more rigorous testing. They let out an Android version without the month of December….

      • WHYANDROIDWHY

        Is Android intentionally trying to force me into an IPhone. Every week I encounter a new problem.

        And transferring to a new Android phone is such a major inconvenience I can’t take it anymore. I want to backup to iTunes and keep my stuff.

        I don’t want to lose all the games Ive played with for 2 years. So what if I spent all that time buying and playing games and unlocking level after level. THe privilege I get for a new phone is to lose all of it. I don’t want to start Angry Birds (all 4 of them) from level 1 again.

      • Bart

        @ Dima. You already know that I value you, both as a person & a writer. However, to state that Google has “absolutely no testing standards” seems a bit unrealistic and unreasonable. But I am more than willing to hear why you state such with such conviction.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

          Oh, it was a hyperbole, an exaggeration. They have testing standards, but in my opinion, they are dreadfully low. Letting bugs like this through is inexcusable. Dangerous, even. Android, like most Google products, is in a perpetual beta state of sorts. Luckily, Samsung and HTC tend to polish it up. But after owning a Nexus device, I can definitely say it feels like a beta. That’s Google’s style, to me at least.

        • http://www.androidandme.com Dima Aryeh

          My apologies for exaggerating like that. Silly of me.

    • Joking right?

      Nicer than Apple? Are you serious?
      Some Phandroids are just as bad as iSheep. Blind loyalty and their OS can never do anything wrong
      Yes you can blame Google when they make a move. If nothing else, the Nexus users should be getting some direct communication from Google

      • Bart

        No actually I’m not joking. Having worked in IT for a major telecom; having observed the industry of computers and phones for a couple decades; seeing how Apple treats employees, business partners, vendors, customers and more–I am very serious when I state Apple is not a friendly company. But you are welcome to your opinion. I’d love to hear what you base your statements on. Oh, and i readily admit that I prefer Android OS over iOS–Does that make me a fan-boy? Whatever!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mula951 Oscar Rivas

    Yup! It was disabled! Nexus 4 Android 4.3 (Patiently awaiting 4.4 lol)

  • bullwhacker

    Thanks for the info.
    WTH… I also found mine disabled.
    I have this activated to do the very same thing mentioned in the e mail find or wipe my phone if lost or stolen.
    Since Google has decided to do this WITHOUT notifying or giving you the option; you can bet on it law suits will come..

  • martyh

    Mine was disabled as well: Play Services 4.0.31; stock Android 4.3 on a 2012 Nexus 7.

  • CallMEOtter

    Thank you for this. IT indeed was disabled.

    Pretty crappy of Google to do this and not have some kind of notification popup.

    I swear Im hating Android more and more.
    The fact they won’t upgrade the GNex to Kit Kat when they’ve publicly said the goal is to bring Android to all and make the OS available on lower end devices feels like the last straw.

  • donger

    Thanks for the heads up.

  • SGB101

    Mine was still working, cm10.2n

  • AJ

    I’m using Avast Mobile Security on my HTC One. The ADM is off — do I need it or will it conflict with Avast?

  • Alan Reboli

    Good god you guys are whiny. Yes mine was turned off, should you be upset? No. They probably did it because of the NSA hoopla. Re-enable it, check it every once in a while and move on.

    HTC One 4.3 / Sense 5.5

  • Andy Roberts

    Disabled on the GS3. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Slith

    Thanks! It was off on both my tablet and phone.

  • shiftylock

    T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 here running 4.3, ADM was disabled. Thank you so much for the post!

  • buff69

    Galaxy Note 8 galaxy note2 galaxy note all off but now on

  • mr91723

    How can you use the ADM make the phone ring in the silent setting?

  • Jon

    N5, was not enabled.
    Enabled it, and it worked. But, even though the phone was now appearing in ADM, it had never appeared in the list of devices under the Play store’s “settings” – only my N7 appeared there, so I couldn’t buy apps from my desktop browser and send them to the N5.
    Cleared the data and cache of Google Play Store and Google Play Services, and that got the device to appear in settings…but now it’s gone from ADM.
    Followed the instructions above, no luck – still appears in Play Store settings but not in ADM. I really don’t want to wipe it, but I may do just that :(

    • Jon

      Resolved. Factory reset the phone, and it appears in both the Play store list of devices and ADM’s list of devices now :)

  • kamayambapritchard

    i bought the phon with the android software.turn it on draw paten frm patn after many attempt.it come to google play.enter yo name/email then passward.i dot hav hw do i hav to activite it help ist to throw it

  • kamas

    google service on android.i bought the phone on the shop so when i turnd it on it gav mi the patan to draw so after so many patan it came to google where u enter email and pasword. I dot hav wat sould i do.

  • Prasenjit garai

    how to root hitech amaze s200?

  • Donna

    Mine a few days ago. Samsung thanks

  • Omar

    Yea, mine was off too.

    Android version 4.1.1
    Droid DNA

  • Michael

    I have a China Android mobile & the Android device manager function got enabled. The pin keys(1-9) are larger than the physical screen size, so it just shows me keys 1-6.

    I cannot get past the unlock screen. PLS Help…

  • taniya

    well i am having a problem in my karbonn A11
    after updating a new version
    my Google+ application doesn’t work not even my..hangout application ..

    a box occurs on the screen.!
    written- Google play services are missing …
    i try to download it from play store but..
    i failed.. to do soo..!!

    now wat to do..

  • J

    well great, i lost my s3 and i cant find it with android device manager, which probably means it was disabled when i lost it. Thanks, google!

  • Annoyed

    well this explains why i cannot find the device i am missing.
    the device is not even in the list of devices.
    Really annoyed about this and the fact i only knew about this now.
    Galaxy Tab stolen in December and was able to see it in my list of devices but as mentioned its now dissapeared

  • terry

    Wss off on my gs3 and note 8 tab
    Supper thanks

  • WHITEY

    htc one x at&t 4.4.2
    and still can’t manuyally check for updates
    htc dm has unfortunately stopped running???

  1. Bruce WarrenGuest 1 year ago

    HTC DNA, GPS 4.0.31; 4.1.1

    Yup, it was off. Good catch.

  2. danWCGuest 1 year ago

    Yep, mine was disabled. Nexus 4 , 4.3, 4.0.31

    • Ditto.

      I bet somewhere someone lost their phone and can’t find it because of this and Google will get a class action lawsuit.

      • FahadGuest 1 year ago

        What? Why would they get a class action lawsuit over something like that. I mean if they had left it on by default i’m sure people would be crying over privacy concerns. People loose their phones all the time and if you’re intelligent enough or tech savvy enough you would have caught this feature. Most tech blogs and android blogs have covered this if i’m not mistaken. The way I look at it either way people were gonna bitch.

        • STEVENGuest 1 year ago

          Don’t know about class action suits…but there is a big gap between automatically having it on default vs having some kind of popup notification that informs you of changes and instructs you to make a change if you want to turn the service on

        • Not turn it on… but leave it to the current setting. Not disabling it automatically without notifing the end user.

  3. GreggGuest 1 year ago

    Thanks for this! Mine was disabled… Canada, Bell Galaxy S3, JB 4.1.2, Play Services 4.0.31

  4. Cesar CardosoGuest 1 year ago

    +1 disabled. Nexus 4, 4.3, 4.0.31.

  5. Same, Galaxy S4 on 4.3, GPS 4.0.31.

  6. +1! Was also disabled. GPS 4.0.31. HTC One 4.3/Sense 5.5

  7. Disabled, GPS 4.0.31, Galaxy S3

  8. Thanks for the update. Mine was also off. Where is the direct communication from Google? How does such a security sensitive feature get turned off and then ignored? I can forgive bugs but this is irritating.

  9. AntGuest 1 year ago

    I had to enable it — Samsung Galaxy S3 SCH-I525 4.1.2

  10. michaelGuest 1 year ago

    note 3 disabled

    Android phones that just sneakily disables a feature that can save someone’s device? I think that’s absolutely ridiculous AGREED!!!

  11. BartGuest 1 year ago

    Since I never really verified it was enabled in the first place, I can’t blame Google. Also, I already have at least 4 other apps capable of this remote service. I seriously doubt Google, (aka open architecture, give freebies, much nicer than Apple), would intentionally want to shaft us. It is really sad to see how many people having little to no clue about the facts all ready to jump all over possibly innocent others. Most likely this was an oversight. Programmers do make mistakes.

    • The issue is that Google has absolutely no testing standards. This kind of bug can lose someone a lot of money and important information. Google needs more rigorous testing. They let out an Android version without the month of December….

      • WHYANDROIDWHYGuest 1 year ago

        Is Android intentionally trying to force me into an IPhone. Every week I encounter a new problem.

        And transferring to a new Android phone is such a major inconvenience I can’t take it anymore. I want to backup to iTunes and keep my stuff.

        I don’t want to lose all the games Ive played with for 2 years. So what if I spent all that time buying and playing games and unlocking level after level. THe privilege I get for a new phone is to lose all of it. I don’t want to start Angry Birds (all 4 of them) from level 1 again.

      • BartGuest 1 year ago

        @ Dima. You already know that I value you, both as a person & a writer. However, to state that Google has “absolutely no testing standards” seems a bit unrealistic and unreasonable. But I am more than willing to hear why you state such with such conviction.

        • Oh, it was a hyperbole, an exaggeration. They have testing standards, but in my opinion, they are dreadfully low. Letting bugs like this through is inexcusable. Dangerous, even. Android, like most Google products, is in a perpetual beta state of sorts. Luckily, Samsung and HTC tend to polish it up. But after owning a Nexus device, I can definitely say it feels like a beta. That’s Google’s style, to me at least.

        • My apologies for exaggerating like that. Silly of me.

    • Joking right?Guest 1 year ago

      Nicer than Apple? Are you serious?
      Some Phandroids are just as bad as iSheep. Blind loyalty and their OS can never do anything wrong
      Yes you can blame Google when they make a move. If nothing else, the Nexus users should be getting some direct communication from Google

      • BartGuest 1 year ago

        No actually I’m not joking. Having worked in IT for a major telecom; having observed the industry of computers and phones for a couple decades; seeing how Apple treats employees, business partners, vendors, customers and more–I am very serious when I state Apple is not a friendly company. But you are welcome to your opinion. I’d love to hear what you base your statements on. Oh, and i readily admit that I prefer Android OS over iOS–Does that make me a fan-boy? Whatever!

  12. Yup! It was disabled! Nexus 4 Android 4.3 (Patiently awaiting 4.4 lol)

  13. bullwhackerGuest 1 year ago

    Thanks for the info.
    WTH… I also found mine disabled.
    I have this activated to do the very same thing mentioned in the e mail find or wipe my phone if lost or stolen.
    Since Google has decided to do this WITHOUT notifying or giving you the option; you can bet on it law suits will come..

  14. martyhGuest 1 year ago

    Mine was disabled as well: Play Services 4.0.31; stock Android 4.3 on a 2012 Nexus 7.

  15. CallMEOtterGuest 1 year ago

    Thank you for this. IT indeed was disabled.

    Pretty crappy of Google to do this and not have some kind of notification popup.

    I swear Im hating Android more and more.
    The fact they won’t upgrade the GNex to Kit Kat when they’ve publicly said the goal is to bring Android to all and make the OS available on lower end devices feels like the last straw.

  16. Thanks for the heads up.

  17. Mine was still working, cm10.2n

  18. AJGuest 1 year ago

    I’m using Avast Mobile Security on my HTC One. The ADM is off — do I need it or will it conflict with Avast?

  19. Good god you guys are whiny. Yes mine was turned off, should you be upset? No. They probably did it because of the NSA hoopla. Re-enable it, check it every once in a while and move on.

    HTC One 4.3 / Sense 5.5

  20. Andy RobertsGuest 1 year ago

    Disabled on the GS3. Thanks for the heads up.

  21. Thanks! It was off on both my tablet and phone.

  22. shiftylockGuest 1 year ago

    T-Mobile Galaxy Note 3 here running 4.3, ADM was disabled. Thank you so much for the post!

  23. buff69Guest 1 year ago

    Galaxy Note 8 galaxy note2 galaxy note all off but now on

  24. mr91723Guest 1 year ago

    How can you use the ADM make the phone ring in the silent setting?

  25. JonGuest 1 year ago

    N5, was not enabled.
    Enabled it, and it worked. But, even though the phone was now appearing in ADM, it had never appeared in the list of devices under the Play store’s “settings” – only my N7 appeared there, so I couldn’t buy apps from my desktop browser and send them to the N5.
    Cleared the data and cache of Google Play Store and Google Play Services, and that got the device to appear in settings…but now it’s gone from ADM.
    Followed the instructions above, no luck – still appears in Play Store settings but not in ADM. I really don’t want to wipe it, but I may do just that :(

    • JonGuest 1 year ago

      Resolved. Factory reset the phone, and it appears in both the Play store list of devices and ADM’s list of devices now :)

  26. kamayambapritchardGuest 1 year ago

    i bought the phon with the android software.turn it on draw paten frm patn after many attempt.it come to google play.enter yo name/email then passward.i dot hav hw do i hav to activite it help ist to throw it

  27. kamasGuest 1 year ago

    google service on android.i bought the phone on the shop so when i turnd it on it gav mi the patan to draw so after so many patan it came to google where u enter email and pasword. I dot hav wat sould i do.

  28. Prasenjit garaiGuest 1 year ago

    how to root hitech amaze s200?

  29. DonnaGuest 1 year ago

    Mine a few days ago. Samsung thanks

  30. OmarGuest 1 year ago

    Yea, mine was off too.

    Android version 4.1.1
    Droid DNA

  31. MichaelGuest 1 year ago

    I have a China Android mobile & the Android device manager function got enabled. The pin keys(1-9) are larger than the physical screen size, so it just shows me keys 1-6.

    I cannot get past the unlock screen. PLS Help…

  32. taniyaGuest 1 year ago

    well i am having a problem in my karbonn A11
    after updating a new version
    my Google+ application doesn’t work not even my..hangout application ..

    a box occurs on the screen.!
    written- Google play services are missing …
    i try to download it from play store but..
    i failed.. to do soo..!!

    now wat to do..

  33. JGuest 1 year ago

    well great, i lost my s3 and i cant find it with android device manager, which probably means it was disabled when i lost it. Thanks, google!

  34. AnnoyedGuest 12 months ago

    well this explains why i cannot find the device i am missing.
    the device is not even in the list of devices.
    Really annoyed about this and the fact i only knew about this now.
    Galaxy Tab stolen in December and was able to see it in my list of devices but as mentioned its now dissapeared

  35. terryGuest 11 months ago

    Wss off on my gs3 and note 8 tab
    Supper thanks

  36. WHITEYGuest 5 months ago

    htc one x at&t 4.4.2
    and still can’t manuyally check for updates
    htc dm has unfortunately stopped running???