Track a Lost Smartphone with Android Device Manager

Dennis Faas's picture

Google has unveiled a new tool that allows Android users to find and track a lost smartphone or tablet device. The utility can also be used to wipe a smartphone's hard drive if recovery is deemed unsafe or unlikely.

Google is calling the service 'Android Device Manager'. The firm says the service should be available to most Android users by the end of August 2013.

It's been a long time coming. Apple released a similar tool -- called 'Find My iPhone' -- several years ago. That service lets iPhone users narrow down their smartphone's location to a specific geographical area (such as an apartment building).

Service Offers Remote Tracking Feature

While its name isn't quite as clear, Android Device Manager boasts similar functionality. The service has a number of useful features; for example, users can remotely change their ring mode from silent to loud and then call their smartphone to see if it's within earshot.

If that doesn't work, users can employ software installed on their computers to open Android Device Manager's online map to locate the lost or stolen device in real time. (Source:

Stolen Smartphone? Wipe Your Personal Data Remotely

In the unfortunate case that an Android device (like a tablet or smartphone) is lost, you can choose to protect your personal data (including credit card information and bank records) by remotely wiping the phone's storage drive.

"While losing your phone can be stressful, Android Device Manager can help you keep your data from ending up in the wrong hands," noted Benjamin Poiesz, an Android product manager. (Source:

Those interested in the Android Device Manager service will need to be running Android 2.2 or a newer version of Google's mobile operating system. Users will also need to be signed into their Google account to access the service.

For optimal security, Google also recommends Android users use their device's 'screen lock' feature. This allows Android users to lock their device using a pin, password, or even a pattern. (Source:

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