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May 18, 2017

Google’s revamped Find My Device app makes finding lost Android phones easy

by John_A

Why it matters to you

Leave your smartphone somewhere? Not to worry — Google’s new Find My Device app can help you locate it quickly and easily.

Android Device Manager, Google’s location-tracking and remote tool for Android smartphones and tablets, got a fresh coat of paint ahead of Google’s annual developer conference. It has a new name — Find My Device — and a revamped, streamlined interface with a renewed focus on device management.

The new Find My Device app, just like Android Device Manager before it, lets you easily locate, lock, and erase an Android device associated with your Google account. That same support extends to smartwatches powered by Android Wear.

Find My Device puts your devices front and center. Once you sign in with your Google credentials, you’ll see your phones, smartwatches, and tablets represented by icons at the top, which replace the old app’s drop-down menu. Tapping a device pulls up options to sound an audible alarm, lock it, or factory reset it. You’ll also see its current Wi-Fi status and battery life, as well as its rough geographic location on a Google Maps screen.

google play protect news screenshot

google play protect news screenshot

google play protect news screenshot

If your device doesn’t have a lock screen, Find My Device lets you enter a password you can use to unlock it when you find it. Alternatively, you can add a message or phone number where a good Samaritan can reach you if they find it.

The overhaul is long overdue. Google launched Android Device Manager way back in 2013, shortly after that year’s I/O conference, as an answer to Apple’s Find My iPhone service. Before then, managing an Android phone remotely required downloading and installing a third-party solution.

Somewhat cryptically, the app’s store listing mentions what appears to be a new brand: “Google Play Protect.” It might refer to a new of suite apps for Android devices, or perhaps a new development team within Google focused on security. We’ll likely have to wait for the Google I/O keynote address — and the follow-up Google I/O session on Android security — to find out more.

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