At some point in time after "smart phones" hit the market people starting leaving them on buses, in taxis and had them stolen. The Chief Information Officers website states that in August, 2013 that approximately 200 cell phones are left in New York City cabs every day. That adds up to about 73,000 per year. With the current smartphone average cost of $372 each (September 2013) people are losing over $27 million a year in money. Keep in mind that is also only in NYC!
This created a market for security apps for those devices that would allow the phone to be found when those events struck. There have been and still are some very good ones out there; however, leave it to Google to come out with their own free application made just for this purpose.
Besides finding your "lost" Android devices (phones and tablets both) you have a couple of other options too – more on those later. Keep in mind that the only stated versioning requirement for your Android device to work with this is that it must be running Google Play services version 3.2.25 or higher.
Google created an automatic rollout of this capability several months ago and was announced, as with most Google rollouts, with very little fanfare. To see if your device it working with it go to Android.com/devicemanager and log in with your Google account username and password used with that device. If it is on you will see your device(s) listed.
If it is not listed you need to start the service on your device. On your phone or tablet go to your Apps Menu, select Google Settings and then just touch "Android Device Manager", if available. This is mostly found on >>>>>>>>. There are two check boxes whose jobs should be obvious. The one you need to check is labeled, "Remotely locate this device" which permits you to do exactly what it states. The other one, which I highly recommend is, "Allow remote lock and factory reset." The last one allows you to wipe your device slick if you know you will not get it back or if you do not want anyone seeing your secret information. Also, to keep strangers from getting phone numbers, addresses, email addresses, etc. about everyone in your address book.
The info for your device once logged onto the site is the name of your device, where and when it was last located and three buttons at the bottom of the small navigation window. As far as accuracy, when I wrote this column I was at the location shown in the graphic at 2:19 pm. The map showed me that at that exact time it is on the map about 10 feet from where I am sitting…spooky.
Your choices are to RING your phone, which will ring it, even if the volume is off at full volume for five minutes or until you shut it off on your phone. Next, you can LOCK your device. Locking changes the password to get into the device to a different one that only you know. You can set it back when you retrieve it later.
The final choice is to Erase the device. This is the last resort and will basically clear off all of your information, apps, data, etc. from the phone and put it back into the "brand new out of the box" mode.
On one of their pages Google also warns you by stating the obvious, "Important: If you believe your device has been stolen, contact law enforcement. Don’t attempt to retrieve the device yourself." In other words, "Don’t be a superhero!"
This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 1st, 2013 at 4:15 am and is filed under Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.