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Android Device Manager – A Review

Smartphone has become our constant companion. Can you imagine a day without it? Losing your smartphone can be a horrifying and financially terrible event. We advise you to take utmost care of your smartphone – to protect it, to take care of the data on it and to handle it properly.  Android Device Manager is an app that helps you track your phone and manage the data on it in case it is stolen or lost. Let us go through the features that this awesome app has in store for you.

Android Device Manager – What It Is?

Android Device Manager, as the name itself, should indicate, is a tool that lets you take care of your Android device. And it does that even remotely.

The app is developed by Google itself. It is designed primarily to help you in such situations as finding your lost smartphone. It helps you find the exact location of your smartphone if it is lost. More than finding the phone when it is lost or misplaced, the major functionality of the app lies in its capacity to help protect your privacy.

Yes, it would be helpful when your Android device is stolen. You can use Android Device Manager to erase the data on your phone or lock it in so that it cannot used for any criminal activities or otherwise. The app is quite simple to use and offers you a few simple means to protect the data on your device from being accessible to unauthorized persons.

How Does It Work?

The app is quite straightforward in its functionality and interface. Just add your device to your Google account and that does everything about setting it up to make use of Android Device Manager.

Once set up, the app will list out the devices signed up to the particular Google account. Choose the one that you want to manage and lo and behold, the Android Device Manager will track its location in a few seconds. This can be a great option to find your phone if you have misplaced it. If the location on the Device Manager shows up to be somewhere near you, you can even make your phone ring up from within the app so that you can retrieve it.

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In an extreme case wherein your phone might have been stolen, you can go ahead and erase the content on your device. You can even lock up your device remotely so that it cannot be used by any unauthorized person.

How To Use Android Device Manager to find your lost phone?

The first thing we would advise you as soon as you have got your hands on your new Android device would be to enable the Android Device Manager. Most modern Androids have the feature enabled by default. If yours hasn’t, you can easily enable it from within your Google settings.

If you do not know how, then follow these steps –

  • Launch your Settings app.
  • Now, look for Google and tap on it.
  • In the Google settings screen, tap on Security.
  • Enable the options for Remotely Locate This Device and Allow Remote Lock and Erase.
  • You should also enable location access on your Android so that it track the location. You can do it through Settings -> Google -> Location.

Just set it up and access it through the web interface to get used to what it can do for you. This will help you take proper actions in the eventuality of your phone being stolen rather than wasting the valuable time in fiddling with the settings and the procedures.

How To Use Android Device Manager?

There are two ways you can use Android Device Manager. You can access it through the Android Device Manager app on another Android phone or through the Android Device Manager website.

Just log into Android Device Manager either on the app or through the web portal and sign into your Google account. The service will list out the devices connected to your Google account. You only need to choose the device you want to find. The application will attempt locating your device. If it finds the device in a location where it can find a signal, it will show it up on Google Maps map.

When the Android Device Manager is able to find your device, it will give you three options – Play Sound, Lock or Erase. If the device is at location where it cannot be tracked, Android Device Manager will report the location where it was last tracked.

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The accuracy of the location is indeed pretty good. When we tested it on our device, it gave a precision of around 20 meters.

Let us go through the details of each of the options –

#1. Ring It

In many cases, the phone is just misplaced rather than getting stolen. If the location is somewhere near you, try ringing it up. You should, probably be able to find your device. If the location is somewhere beyond, check if you had been to the place. Visit the place once again and ring it. There is a good possibility of finding your Android nearby.

If the location is unusual, you can consider taking the other two extreme options that the Android Device Manager offers you. However, we would recommend you first try finding your phone by ringing it after analysing the location reported.

#2. Lock It Up

If ringing is the solution, you can consider locking up your phone. This can lock up the phone and make it not usable for the person who has it.

While you are locking up the phone remotely, you have the option of entering a phone number. This remote command will lock your device up and let the person holding it to call you on that one particular number. No need to worry if the phone is switched off at the time when you execute the command to lock it. The changes will come into effect the moment the phone is switched back on.

#3. Wipe Your Phone remotely

This is the last resort you can employ to safeguard the data on your phone from being subject to unauthorized usage. Executing this command will initiate the factory reset on your lost phone.

We would advise you to exhaust all other options before opting to wipe your phone remotely. It will wipe all the data from your phone including your apps and other files. It could be cumbersome to get all those data back once you get your phone back (if you get, that is to say). Even then it could be the safest option to avoid your important data being accessed by any criminally minded person. You can consider backing up your data to a removable drive or onto your PC or laptop on regular basis. This will help you get your stuff back without any hassles.

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Please note that if your phone has an SD card in it, the data on it WILL NOT be erased.

Android Device Manager in a Nutshell

Well, coming from Google themselves, Android Device Manager packs in almost everything that you may need to track and retrieve your lost Android device. However, we miss some of the features available on a few third-party high-end device managers and anti-theft tools.

We would have appreciated Google if an option to make the phone unusable without by anyone who gets his hand on it. Apple’s Find My Device can be a case in point. An Apple device will need you to enter the Apple ID even after it is wiped off its data. In case of an Android, anyone can use the wiped Android as if it is purchased anew.

Some third-party anti-theft solutions send notifications to a predefined number. There are also apps that let you send special messages to the device and get images from it so that you can track it in an efficient manner.

The Parting Thoughts

The built-in Android Device Manager from Google lets you lock, ring and wipe your stolen or lost Android smartphone. However, if you are expecting any high-end features, you may need to look elsewhere. Google has recently renamed the app and the services to Find My Device, but we fail to see any advanced features making inroads into the app.

In any case, it can be a good choice if you are looking for an economical means to safeguarding your phone and the private data on it. It is the best you can go for. Do share your experiences with us if you have enabled it and used to retrieve your phone – whether stolen or lost.

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