Google Reimplement Android Device Manager
In Google’s unending quest to create multiples of everything, Google announced today they were making finding your lost device even easier. You may be familiar with the Android Device Manager application which already does this, but is hidden in an overflow menu on the Play Store website that few know where to find. Well Google obviously took the difficulty to use and find to heart and moved it to the awesome My Account feature you can access at myaccount.google.com. In an interesting twist of fates Google did not create a whole new application like one would think – based on their past – they just re-skinned and moved the Android Device Manager features to this new home. All functions of “Find My Phone” through the My Account page are done through the ADM application installed on your phone.
The Find My Phone dashboard lists all your devices including tablets and devices like the Nexus Player. While you cannot locate Android TV devices, you can sign out of them which is a welcomed feature. Surprisingly Google has seen fit to include Apple devices, but in a more limited capacity. My wife’s iPhone was available through the site, it included a handy link to iCloud to lock or wipe the device and allowed me to logout of my Google account on the device. I would assume it would invalidate any logins for the Apple email client and remove your account from apps like Hangouts, Google Play Music and the Google app
So how does it work? To sum it up, pretty awesomely.
Once this was announced I tried it out on my HTC 10 and it worked within seconds allowing me to ring and locate my phone. If ringing your phone doesn’t work, or it has been stolen/lost entirely you can skip straight to locking your phone. Locking can be done with a password and you can leave a message and add a callback number. However, if you already use a passcode/password (which you should) the one you use on the site is not valid and the device password is used. My favorite feature is that it will lock the device and remove the fingerprint authentication ability and Smart Lock. It reacts just as if you did a fresh boot and your PIN IS REQUIRED to unlock the device. For those worried about law enforcement and fingerprints this is an awesome feature assuming you or someone can lock it in that situation. This can also help if the mob cuts your finger off to unlock your phone when you refuse his offer.
Other options include the ability to call your phone or sign out of your device and it reminds you to contact your carrier and local law enforcement. Finally, Google allows a thermonuclear option that will
blow up your phone erase your device immediately upon a network connection. For MicroSD card users it appears Google MAY be able to wipe your card, but it clearly states it may not be able to, my guess is Marshmallow devices and up will have their MicroSD wiped, a feature I don’t plan on testing.
Anyways this is a welcomed addition to Google users regardless of platform, but especially for Android users. It is always great for to see Google making it easier for its users to lock and recover their lost devices!