There are many convenient solutions available how to track your Android phone to figure out its location and even disable it altogether. We will outline some security practices, introduce several different Android tracking methods, thus leaving you with a comprehensive toolbox that you can use to secure your electronic companion.
1. Type in Google search “find my phone”
The simplest way to find your Android phone is via the Google search bar. Simply type in the phrase “find my phone”, and the first search result will show a map with the location of your phone. The map will also contain a link to switch devices to locate the device you’re looking for, and the map also has a button at the bottom of the map to “ring” the phone. Be sure to be logged into your Google account in your browser that is connected to your device.
2. Google’s Android Device Manager
Android Device Manager is a native tool present in all recent versions of Android. Its purpose is to allow users to quickly and conveniently locate their smartphone and remotely wipe all data. The best thing about this solution is how easy it’s to activate and use.
For this option to work you need to:
- Have “remote location” turned on
- Google Settings > Android Device Manager > Remotely Locate This Device (turn to on)
- Have “location access” turned on
- Google Settings > Location (turn to on)
- Track your phone using one of these two methods
You will immediately be able to start tracking your device. No matter which method you use to connect to your smartphone, you will always be able to remotely ring, lock, or erase it using Android Device Manager.
3. Google Maps Timeline
Another native way how to you can get locational information about your smartphone is by visiting your Timeline. This service records all the places that you’ve visited and allows you to browse through the entire history. To activate or deactivate Timeline, you have to:
- On your computer, go to your timeline.
- At the bottom, select Enable Location History or Pause Location History.
The obvious downside is the privacy concerns that might bother some people who are not keen on Google recording and storing their every move. The counterargument is that your personal information are going to be recorded anyway, so you might as well use it to your advantage.
4. Top 3 Smartphone-Tracking Applications
As it’s always the case with Android, you don’t have to rely on the stock solutions and can take advantage of the enormous selection of smartphone-tracking applications available on the Google Play Store. Our selection of top 3 best applications should make things easier for you some valuable time.
Wheres My Droid
Wheres My Droid is a simple, single-purpose application that’s designed to do one thing and do it well: help you find your lost or stolen smartphone. To accomplish this goal, the app is packed with useful features including, GPS flare on low battery, automatic ring, white noise siren, passcode protection, and more.
All of this functionality is available for free, but users can also upgrade to Pro version, which features remote device lock, remote SD and phone data wipe, uninstallation prevention, or the ability to hide the app icon, just to name a few.
With more than 65,000 5-star reviews, Cerberus anti-theft application is a proven security solution that can accomplish just about anything you could possibly want from it. In Greek mythology, Cerberus is a monstrous multi-headed dog, who guards the gates of the underworld. Similarly, the Cerberus application consists of three heads: remote control through the Cerberus website, remote control via SMS from another phone, and automatic alerts.
Among the long list of features are things like the option to record audio from the microphone, capture pictures with the camera, or start a remote shell to execute commands.
The only downside is that the free version is limited to just one week. You can then purchase a license using the in-app purchases for around $3.
Lookout Security & Antivirus
Our last pick is Lookout Security & Antivirus, which is a comprehensive security suite designed to protect against all mobile threats, including phone loss and theft. It was selected by many influential tech magazines, such as TechCrunch and PCWorld, as one of the best Android applications currently available.
What makes it so great? It’s the combination of continuous app scanning with lock and wipe functionality, safe browsing, privacy advisor, and timely theft alerts that include a photo and location of the thief. The application includes a two-week trial period after which you can either pay for the Premium version or use just the basic functionality.
Device-Tracking and Security Checklist
There is a short list of security precautions that you absolutely must go over. Neglecting any of them gives attackers and thieves much larger attack vector they can use to bypass your smartphone’s security and get hold of your private data.
1. Activate Android Device Manager (ADM)
According to Google, Android Device Manager makes it easy to locate, ring, or wipe your device from the web. We have already covered it in greater detail earlier in this article, so there’s no need for us to repeat ourselves. Just make sure to activate this essential security tool before it’s too late.
2. Install a Tracking Application
Many dedicated smartphone tracking applications give you a useful assortment of extra features that Google left out from the Android Device Manager for the sake of simplicity. These include resilience to deactivation and uninstallation, remote wipe via SMS message, or the ability to use both the front- and the rear-facing cameras to capture the thief red-handed. Any application recommended earlier in this article will do the trick
3. Encrypt Your Smartphone
Sometimes it’s not the smartphone that the thief is after. Sometimes the target is your data and private information. Passwords and security credentials stored on your device must be encrypted to prevent anyone with a USB cable from accessing your data.
4. Use a Lock Screen Password or Pattern
A lock screen with a password or pattern lock is the most basic form of protection, but one that shouldn’t be underestimated. The main purpose of a lock screen is to buy you some precious time to locate or wipe your device. It also forces the thief to wipe the device before it can be used again, taking with it active logins.
5. Avoid Unknown Sources
Applications installed from other sources than Google Play Store are the chief culprit when it comes to malware infestation and hacker attacks. Certain types of malware grant a total control over your device, making all security precautions obsolete.