We have all been there: You pick up your nice new shiny Android device and jump straight into the Google Play Store, download your favorite apps and games. Before you know it, you’re off and running and everything is grand.
There’s something you should do before installing all those apps. Indeed, the first thing you should do is download Find my Device, an app available in the Google Play Store.
Editor Note: Some of these features might only work on newer phones, running 8.0 or later.
It’s possible the app isn’t installed or enabled out of the box, but will be a lifesaver if you ever misplace your Android device. Why? What does it do? As the name indicates, it allows you find your phone, down to its last known location.
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Simply sign in with your Google account and your device will be linked to your account. The service uses a combination of WiFi and GPS to pinpoint the device location and provide a record on-demand of where it was last seen – super useful for if it goes missing.
To use Find My Device, your lost Android device must:
- Be turned on
- Be signed in to a Google Account
- Be connected to mobile data or Wi-Fi
- Be visible on Google Play
- Have Location turned on
- Have Find My Device turned on
Tracking your device is just as simple – head to android.com/find where you’ll see a map of your device(s) last known location. You’ll also be able to make the device ring loudly from here, which is super helpful for when I lose my phone!
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There may be times when the phone is simply out of cellular or WiFi service and you want to protect your data. For this, you can issue a remote wipe command and even if the device is offline, it will automatically delete all your data and wipe the device next time it gets a connection.
We also love the tool for other devices linked to your Google account. Done right, you can track you smartwatch, tablet, or anything else that might be hiding in plain sight.
As you can tell, Find my Device is incredibly important to protect your new Android device. We think it’s important enough that it ought to be the first thing you set up on your brand new phone. Go ahead and switch it on now if you haven’t already!