XDA Basics: How to use Find My Phone on Android
Got a hole in your pocket? We’ve been there where we realize we’ve lost our phone. Nothing makes a person feel down on their luck quite like reaching into their holster, only to be dismayed when they pull up nothing but lint. I need to find my phone before somebody else gets a hold of it, fast.
Apple users enjoy the safety net that is the revolutionary Find My Phone feature. Android has returned the favor in kind by developing a similar service for its own demographic – Find My Device works in much the same way. It geo-locates your missing phone’s whereabouts, dropping a pin down on a map for you to follow to its rescue.
For a missing device on your own home turf, Find My Device can also send a signal to an otherwise silenced phone, setting off its ringer and showing you just where exactly on the kitchen counter you’ve left it.
Using Android’s Find My Phone Feature
When you sign into an Android device with your Google account, the device will enable the Find My Device feature automatically. This feature can be used to find any Android device, as long as the device itself is turned on and your location services have also been enabled.
Other requirements include a connection to mobile data or Wi-Fi wherever it happens to be and visibility on Google Play.
If you need to find your phone and it meets these conditions, you can retrieve it using the following method:
- Sign into a Google account on the main profile of your lost phone at android.com/find;
- If you have more than one phone, select the one that is missing;
- Select Play Sound to make the phone ring for five minutes. This works even in silent or Do Not Disturb mode.
If your phone does not appear to be within your immediate vicinity, you’ve got other options. You’ll notice that the map to the right will have a radius laid over wherever the system believes your phone is. While not always precise, this map will, at the very least, give you some idea of the last place your phone was detected.
This will be useful if you’re traveling or in otherwise uncharted waters. You’ll be able to retrace your steps until you are reunited with your beloved once more.
Find My Phone with another device
One of the cutest things that Google does is, if your phone is connected to your Google account, you can simply Google “find my phone” in order to pull up the aforementioned service in the SERPS. This is only one way of finding your device with another device. If you’ve got the Find My Device app already installed elsewhere, you can use it to find your phone in much the same way as in the previous section.
- Sign into the Find My Device app on the device still in your possession (sign in with your own credentials if looking for your own phone; select Sign In as a Guest if you are searching for somebody else’s lost device;
- Proceed as described above.
Make sure your device can be found
When bracing yourself for the inevitable, there are a few things you can do to prepare yourself. Making sure that your device is turned on when you lose it may not be something you will be able to account for perfectly. The best you will be able to do is to always make sure that your phone is charged, especially when taking it out into the world.
Ensuring that the Find My Device feature has been enabled is something more in your control as a user. You can check your own device’s status in the following way:
- Open the Settings;
- Navigate to Security > Security & Location or Google > Security, logging into your phone or service provider as well, if applicable;
- Toggle your options accordingly.
Enabling Location services should also be on your list. Without leaving the Settings, hop over to Locations. You should have a similar option allowing you to switch the service on and off.
To enable Google Play visibility, visit play.google.com/settings. Under Visibility, you should have the option to turn the setting on and off for all of your devices. If you’re worried about losing your phone, make sure that you have it enabled.
Having the Find My Device app installed on everything that you own will save you a step when disaster finally strikes. We recommend being preemptively prepared in this way.
After all of the above has been squared away, running a “fire drill” from the safety of your home will put your device’s reception to the Find My Device service to the ultimate test. Just hide your phone in another room and follow the steps outlined above. Now, you’ll be able to take your device with you anywhere knowing that if you lose it, you’ll be able to find it.
An Ounce of Prevention
With this installed on your device’s profile, little should concern you when it comes to making the most of your life, phone resolutely in hand. The bottom line: stuff happens. When things get a bit too far ahead of you, having services like Android’s Find My Device feature to rely on will help you prevent the worst-case scenario.
And if it doesn’t? We really like the look of that new Pixel phone that they just announced. The Android phone you just lost while vacationing in Cabo? Somebody else out there doubtlessly needs it more than you do. It’s their problem now.