This essential app is often overlooked and it can save your phone if it’s lost or stolen

Every time you get a new phone or factory reset it, one of the first things you do is install your favorite apps. Netflix, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, Inbox, Nova Launcher, Outlook, etc. are probably at the top of your list of apps you install with each and every device.

However one app that is more important than all of these combined, and is often overlooked is the Android Device Manager. It’s an app that can help you locate your Android smartphone or tablet if you leave it somewhere, or if an unscrupulous person steals them you have a way to recover your devices with the Android Device Manager.

It’s happened to me before when I’ve left my phone behind in a friend’s car after a night out partying, and I usually leave my phone unlocked. I didn’t want my friend poking around my smartphone, so as soon as I realized I had left it in their car, I located my phone from my computer and remotely locked it using this useful tool from Google.

It’s one of the most important apps most people overlook, and wish they had enabled it once their phone is lost. Take five minutes out of your day to ensure you are using this service just in case you lose your phone or tablet.


Not all Android devices come with the Android Device Manager preinstalled, but you can download it for free at the Google Play Store by following this link.

Once installed you need to ensure that you are signed in with your Google account.

Set up Android Device Manager

Step 1: Switch Android Device Manager on or off

If you have a tablet with more than one user, only the tablet owner can control this setting.

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Tap Security.
  3. Under “Android Device Manager,” switch Remotely locate this device and Allow remote lock and erase on or off.

Once turned on, you will need to also enable location access.

Step 2: Make sure location access is on

  1. Open your device’s Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap Location.
  3. At the top, tap Off to switch to On.

You can learn more about managing your account’s location settings.

Step 3: Check that Android Device Manager can find your device

After you turn on Android Device Manager, check to make sure that it’s working properly. Sign in to your Google Account on and check whether your device shows up.

After you have completed these three steps, you will be able to locate and remotely ring, lock, or erase your lost device.

Locate a lost device using Android Device Manager

  1. Sign in to your Google Account on
  2. If you have more than one device, click the arrow next to the device name to select a different device.
  3. Android Device Manager will show you the approximate location of the device selected.

If you have another mobile device, you can use the Android Device Manager app to locate your lost device. You need to have the Android Device Manager app installed on the device that you plan to use.

  1. On the device that you have with you, open the Android Device Manager app .
  2. Sign in to your Google Account.
  3. Change the device displayed:
    • On your phone: Swipe along the bottom of the screen to see your devices.
    • On your tablet: Touch the arrow next to the device to select a device.
  4. Android Device Manager will show you the approximate location of the device selected.

Remotely ring, lock, or erase a lost device


Before erasing your device: Remotely erasing a device performs a factory reset. This removes all data from the device. While any data stored in your Google Account can be restored, all apps and their associated data will be uninstalled.

  1. Sign in to your Google Account on
    Tip: If you’re helping a friend, we recommend opening an incognito tab in Chrome and having your friend sign in to the Google Account used on the lost device.
  2. To select the lost device, click the arrow next to the device name. Android Device Manager will show the location of that device.
  3. Select an option. You may need to turn on Lock & Erase first.
    • Ring
      Rings your device at full volume for 5 minutes — even if it’s set to silent or vibrate.
    • Lock
      Locks your device with a password if you don’t already have one set.
    • Erase
      Permanently deletes all of your data. Android Device Manager may not be able to wipe the content of an SD card in the device. After you erase the device, Android Device Manager will no longer work on it.
  4. If you’re helping a friend, your friend can sign out when finished by tapping Sign out at the top of the screen. Otherwise, after 5 minutes of inactivity, sign-out is automatic.


  • James Barcus

    Have a Nexus 5X and using Android 7.. I don’t see this setting in Security.

  • S Crockett

    It’s under Settings-> Google -> Security. … And (at least for Nexus devices and I’m pretty sure all other devices as well) you don’t need the Android Device Manager app installed too set this stuff up, or to find/lock your phone when lost. I’m my experience, you only need the app on a phone to find another phone. If you’re looking for your phone you’d use the website as described.

    • James Barcus

      I’ll keep trying. I found the setting exactly where you said it would be. Made sure I unchecked and re-checked to activate it. I’ll wait a while and check to see if it’s registered but going to still says I have no devices active. This is what I see in the app on my phone..

  • Dejai

    How can you get ADM app to work even though you have spent countless hours on the phone with Google, Sprint, and LG? (who all blame each other) I have done everything besides replacing the phone (which they, sprint/lg wont do because it’s an app issue not a phone issue) I have tweeked and adjusted settings, factory reset a couple times. Please contact me if you know how to fix or have heard of this being a problem on the LG G5.