There are a handful of phone recovery or anti-theft apps on the Google Play Store which can be a lifesaver in case you want to find a lost phone or, even worse, a stolen phone. But many people might only realize that there are such apps AFTER it got lost. Then it usually is too late and you have to face the ugly truth that the phone is gone for good.
To find a lost Android phone it usually still needs a working internet connection in order to transmit its location. To get the best location results it should have an active connection to a WiFi network.
How to find your lost phone with Google and its own services
Find your phone using Google’s Find My Device (formerly Android Device Manager)
- Your device is connected with your Google account.
- Your device has access to the internet.
- Allowed Find My Device to locate your device (turned on by default). This can change in the Google Settings app.
- Allowed Find My Device to lock your device and erase its data (turned off by default).
Find My Device is Google’s official and easy-to-use tool to track your lost Android phone or tablet. The best thing about it is that you don’t need to install an app to be able to track your devices. The only requirement is that your Android phone is connected to your Google account, turned on and connected to the internet.
All you need to do is visit the Find My Device website while being logged into your Google Account. Once the site is loaded it will automatically try to track down your lost phone. If you have several Android devices registered, make sure the right one is chosen in the menu.
In a recent update, Google implemented some of the features into its search results page. This means that you’re able to quickly locate any registered Android device right from the search results. By using the search phrase “where is my phone”, Google displays a little map above the search results in which it will try to find your lost Android phone. Once found, you can let it ring by clicking on “Ring”.
Although this makes it more convenient to find your lost phone quickly, it won’t offer you all the options you get with the full interface of Find My Device.
By using it, you are able to track your registered Android devices, let your phone ring and wipe your phone’s data (which has to be enabled on your phone). Besides that, Find Your Device doesn’t offer more options to remote control your lost phone. I hope that Google keeps improving it and introduces more helpful features, such as taking a selfie of the person using it in case it got stolen.
If there’s no laptop around when you lose your device, you can also use someone else’s phone to track it. Instead of using the mobile browser, you can also use the Find My Device app. You can sign in using the guest mode and your Google account credentials. Now you should be able to track your lost device, let it ring or wipe its data.
Are you not able to locate your lost Android phone this way? This can happen for several reasons. The one you should hope for is that your device is simply not connected to the internet or turned off. In that case, simply keep trying to track it until it (hopefully) connects to Google’s services again.