Finding your lost Android device

Not everyone is perfect. People sometimes forget to turn off the lights, or forgot to feed the cat. Some of us lose things, like our very expensive devices.

Welcome to Part 1 of’s Android Guide series. In this part, we will be covering many different ways that you can retrieve your lost or stolen Android device.

Method #1: Android Device Manager (ADM)


Android Device manager logo

Before we begin on how to use Android Device Manager, here are the prerequisite requirements in order for Android Device Manager to work. For more information and support, head to Google’s Android Device Manager Support Page

· A valid connected Google Account with your device
· Device has working Internet Access or Data usage access (preferably LTE, faster transfer speeds and locates your device faster in real time)
· Give Android Device Manager Permissions to remotely Wipe your device, and remotely Lock your device with a passcode/password.

First things first, grab your device and open up the Google Play App. Search Android Device Manager and download the app. Or install it manually from your computer, by going Here.

After installation, open up your device’s settings and allow Android device manager to become a device administrator, often located under the security section.

the 3 ways to communicate with your android phone in ADB

Once you open up the app for the first time, the app will prompt you to sign into your Google Account. Once there you will be brought to the main interface, where it will display an instance of Google Maps, where it also displays your device, device name, and 3 options including Ring, Lock, and Erase. You can also switch between multiple Google Accounts. The Map will display the device’s location, most likely your current location assuming your device is with your person. Let’s briefly go through what each of the 3 options you see are.

The first one is Ring. This one is pretty self-explanatory.

Call your Android phone from Android device manager

Select the Ring option from the 3 options, once you do, the Ring option will cause your device to Ring at maximum volume for 5 minutes straight, non-stop, until somebody hits the power button on the device to make it stop. This option is not only useful to annoy the thief who stole your device, or alert nearby people to pick up the device to return it to the owner, but if you’ve lost your device in your house, you can use this option to quickly locate it. Sometimes, people tend to leave the ringer off and put it to vibrate when they misplaced their device at home, therefore making calls to your device is useless. When ringing with Android Device Manager, ringer will ring at full volume regardless of whether or not the ringer is on or off, because earlier, we let Android Device Manager become a device administrator, giving it full reign to do as it needs to.

The second option is Lock. This feature will allow you to create, or change a pin or password on your device.

From Android device manager you can lock your phone or tablet

If your device does not have a passcode set as lockscreen security, the Lock option allows you to create one. You can also change your existing password/pin number from the Android Device Manager website. You can also select a message to display on the device’s lock screen.

The last option is Erase. This option is your last resort for a device that is lost FOREVER.

Erase all data from android device manager

This option remotely wipes all data from your lost device. If you have sensitive data on your device that cannot be shared, or you just really do not want strangers tampering with your private info/data, this a last resort for you. Only do this if you are certain your device is permanently lost. If you remotely erase your device, and the next day you happen to find it due to misplacement, you may find yourself screwed. This option can also work when the device is powered off. The next time your device is powered on and connected to the internet, Google receives a command to power off your device, getting ready to factory reset itself. Remember this is normally used as a last resort option.



This method literally tracks your device physically, instead of option number 1, where it is all software and online based. There are many GPS tracking devices that are bulky and hard to carry around, and most of the time cannot be placed on your phone tracking its every move.

Small GPS unit for phones

There is a fundraiser on IndieGogo called Trackr Bravo which is an extremely thin, compact, form-factor GPS tracking device that can be placed with most items, including your phone, assuming you have a compatible case. This method is very straight forward, set it up and connect your device with the Trackr app on your phone, and track it wherever in the world it is.

Stay tuned to for more upcoming guides.

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About Kenny Leung
Kenny currently lives in Buffalo, NY. Where he studies computer networking & programming. He has owned a number of Android phones including the Galaxy s3, Galaxy 3 mini, Galaxy s4 mini, LG optimus 3D, and the Oneplus one which he is currently using. Kenny will likely get the Oneplus two once it is released.

5 thoughts on “Finding your lost Android device

  1. Have just had a gun 2 my head and attempted high was stolen. How can I track it.?

    The simple card is off but I have a Samsung account.?Google account. ..Facebook account, ,,

  2. I have lost my new Samsung phone before 4months… waiting for online tracking with IME.. But still it’s switched off.. any other option to get my phone pease telll

  3. pankaj gupta says:

    i need to track my phone

  4. i need to track my phone

  5. I like article but dont understand something. Assume i setup the 5 minute ring option on my tablet then left it on a train. How do i activate it as it idoesn’t hve a sim. Similarly if i left my galaxy s3 on the train and dont have any other Android devices how do i activate the ringer.

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