No matter how cautious you are with your devices, there is a good chance you’ve endured the awful experience of losing a smartphone at some point in your life. Whether it occurs after a raucous night out with friends, or you had the unlucky experience of running into a skilled pickpocket, it’s always a drag to reach for your digital friend only to come up empty.
Luckily for Android users, there are apps and services specifically designed for tracking down and locating lost or stolen smartphones. To help you sift through the sea of available options, we compiled this list of the absolute best methods for finding and retrieving lost Android devices. Let’s take a closer look at how to track an Android phone.
Note: Digital Trends doesn’t condone the use of these phone trackers for anything other than locating a lost or stolen Android phone. While these apps work wonders for finding a wayward phone, it’s never cool to be a creep. Please use sound judgment when employing the following services. You should also be aware that you can’t track your phone unless it’s switched on and connected to a mobile or Wi-Fi network.
Find My Device
- Track your phone via GPS
- Erase your phone remotely
- Remotely play a sound
- Lock your phone remotely
- Works with tablets and smartwatches, too
Google’s Find My Device app is a must-have for Android users and one of our favorite Android apps. If you added a Google Account to your Android device, then Find My Device is automatically turned on. You can check via Settings > Security > Find My Device, or something similar, where Find My Device should be toggled on.
The app makes it simple to locate your lost device, and it’s free to download it from the Play Store. After you install the app, it will ask you to log in, and to make sure location is turned on. Once the app is installed and running, you can locate your device, as long as it’s turned on and connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data.
To track your device, you can also go to google.com/android/find in any browser, whether on your computer or another smartphone. If you’re logged into your Google account you can also just type “find my phone” into Google. If your lost device has access to the internet and location is on you’ll be able to locate it. One of the great features here is that you can lock the device and write a message with an accompanying phone number. That way if someone finds or has your device, all they have to do is press the Call Me button on the screen to call the specified phone number. You can also choose to play a sound or erase the phone remotely if you have no other choice.
Remember that if you track your phone using a browser, you will have to log in to your Google account. If you logged in from someone else’s smartphone or desktop browser, then you’ll want to log out of all your accounts when finished. If you leave your account logged in, anyone with access to that computer will be able to track your smartphone. The app only takes a minute to install and set up, and because it’s so easy to use, it should be your first choice for finding a lost Android device.
Find My Mobile
If you have a Samsung phone, like the Samsung Galaxy S10, then you can use Samsung’s Find My Mobile service. You will need a Samsung account to use this. You can find the option in Settings > Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile where you can toggle the service on and decide if you want to allow Remote unlock and Send last location. With Remote unlock Samsung stores your PIN, password, or pattern, so you can unlock it even if you forget, but it can also be used to control your phone remotely. Send last location simply sends the last known location of your phone to Samsung’s servers when the battery is about to give out, so it’s worth having this toggled on. You can also sign in to Samsung’s website with your account in any browser to track your lost phone or tablet.