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Protect your Android phone if it's lost or stolen

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By Peter Cruickshank 07 Dec 2017
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If you've bought a new phone, one of the first things to do is make sure it's protected from loss, damage and theft. Android Device Manager can help you find a lost Android, whether it's stuck in the back of your sofa or left out somewhere by accident. You can spot your Android device on a map, force it to make a loud sound and even wipe its memory so you can keep your data safe.

Setting up Android Device Manager

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Google's own smartphone security software, Android Device Manager, can protect any phone or tablet running the Android operating system. It's turned on by default, but we'll explain how to turn it on manually (just in case).

 
 
 
 
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1.

Open your Apps list and tap on the Settings icon to open the Settings menu.

2.

Scroll down the menu and tap on Google.

3.

In the Apps section of the Google menu, find and tap Security.

4.

To check if the security is working, tap Find My Device. If the switch at the top of the screen is turned on, your device is protected.

Using Android Device Manager from a computer

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If you've misplaced your phone, there are plenty of ways you can use Android Device Manager to find it again. The most common way is through a computer, which we'll explain in the steps below.

 
 
 
 
1.

Visit the Android Device Manager website at android.com/find, or search on Google for "Where's my phone","find my phone" or something similar.

2.

To see your phone's location on a map, press the refresh button to the right of your phone's name.

3.

Once you know where your phone is, you can take more control over your phone with the following three options.

  • Play sound - This option makes your phone ring. This works even if your phone is on vibrate or silent mode, and is very useful if you lose your phone around the house. The phone will ring either for five minutes or until you find it and press the power button to silence it.
  • Lock - Pressing this will instantly lock the phone with a new PIN code. This is useful if you left your phone somewhere and need to make sure no-one is able to use it. If you ever forget your PIN, you can use this feature to reset it to something new.
  • Erase - This resets your phone and wipes all your personal data from it. This is a last resort, as erasing your phone data means you can't use Android Device Manager again afterwards. If you know your phone is in the wrong hands and you aren't likely to get it back, choosing Erase will remove your accounts, photos and apps before anyone can access them.
4.

If you have more than one Android device, you can switch between any phone you're currently signed into by tapping the icons just above your phone's name.

Using Android Device Manager from a smartphone

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If you've noticed your phone or tablet is missing but aren't near a computer to track it, you can use a second Android device to find it again. Start by installing Google's Find My Device app from the Google Play Store, then follow the instructions below.

 
 
 
 
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1.

Open Find My Device and sign in with the same Google account in use on your lost phone or tablet.

2.

To see your phone's location on a map, press the refresh button to the right of your phone's name.

3.

Once you know where your phone is, you can take more control over your phone with the following three options.

  • Play sound - This option makes your phone ring. This works even if your phone is on vibrate or silent mode, and is very useful if you lose your phone around the house. The phone will ring either for five minutes or until you find it and press the power button to silence it.
  • Lock - Pressing this will instantly lock the phone with a new PIN code. This is useful if you left your phone somewhere and need to make sure no-one is able to use it. If you ever forget your PIN, you can use this feature to reset it to something new.
  • Erase - This resets your phone and wipes all your personal data from it. This is a last resort, as erasing your phone data means you can't use Android Device Manager again afterwards. If you know your phone is in the wrong hands and you aren't likely to get it back, choosing Erase will remove your accounts, photos and apps before anyone can access them.
4.

If you have more than one Android device, you can switch between any phone you're currently signed into by tapping the icons at the top of the screen.

Hopefully that's everything you need to know, but if you need any extra help, you can get in touch with an expert from Team Knowhow for more information.

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