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How To Video
Find your lost device with Android Device ManagerCan't find your Android phone or tablet? Pinpoint its location and remotely erase it with the Android Device Manager. Sharon Vaknin shows you how.
If you've been jealous of Apple's Find My iPhone service, you've probably wondered why Google doesn't give Android owners the same thing. Well, it took a few years, but that locator tool is finally here. The Android Device Manager lets you find an Android phone or tablet, make it ring, and if you think it's in the hands of a thief, you can even remotely erase it. To show you how this works, let's say I lost this phone and I'm trying to find it with this tablet. First, head on over to google.com/android/devicemanager and log in with the Google account associated with the device you're looking for. Use the drop-down menu in the white box to choose the device you wanna locate. Now, if we look at my lost phone, we can see that the GPS is working to find it. Back in the browser, the blue circle on the map shows you where your device is. It's not a precise location, but it's usually accurate within a few decimeters. At this point, you can make your phone ring by clicking this button and it will sound off even if it's on silent. If you think your phone was stolen, it's probably a good idea to leave the investigation to the police. In the meantime, you can use this Erase Device option to remotely wipe all the data. For this feature to work, you'll have to set it up on that device ahead of time. Head to your phone or tablet, then go to Google Settings, Android Device Manager, and check this box. Just note that if you are forced to use that Erase Device option, you completely lose access to it. Meaning, you can no longer locate it. Now, it's great that Google is finally giving us this feature, but it could use a little help. For starters, you can't remotely lock your phone, so be sure to set a secure lock screen passcode and this probably goes without saying, but this feature only works when the phone you're looking for is online and still registered to your account. If you have any questions along the way, hit me up on Twitter and check out howto.cnet.com for the written guide to this tutorial. For CNET.com, I'm Sharon Vaknin.