Have you switched from iPhone to Android and would like to know if a service such as “Find my iPhone” is available on the green robot system, which allows you to locate the device remotely in case of theft or loss? Of course there is! It is called Android Device Manager, it is completely free and is included “as standard” in all Android devices currently on the market (except those that do not include Google apps for licensing reasons).
Android Device Manager, just like “Find my iPhone”, is very useful in cases of loss of the smartphone but it exhausts part of its usefulness in cases of theft. In fact, to work, it requires that the device is turned on, connected to the Internet and with GPS active. If one or more of these requirements are not respected, the service does not allow to locate (and therefore to control) the telephone remotely. Fortunately, however, Android is an open system and it is possible to turn to third-party solutions that offer more advanced anti-theft features and increase the chances of finding your device even if it is stolen.
If you want to find out what I mean and want to learn more, take five minutes and read on. We are going to see, together, how to find Android with Android Device Manager and with some third-party apps which, thanks to their advanced protection measures, can be particularly useful in case of theft of the phone. I hope they never have to serve you but, you know, in these cases it is better to be foresight, so let’s ban the chatter and take action immediately!
Android Device Management
Let’s start with Android Device Manager , the smartphone location service included by default in all Android terminals available on the market (except those that, for licensing reasons, do not have Google apps inside them).
As mentioned above, Android Device Manager only works if the phone is turned on, connected to the Internet and has GPS on. In order for the service to do its job, therefore, it is necessary to access the Android settings and verify that the location services are active and that the Android Device Manager has permission to control the phone.
To carry out the above checks, access the Android settings (the gear icon), go to Geolocation and, if it is not yet activated, activate the lever relating to the location functions (top right). When the operation is complete, select the Google item from the Android settings (or select the Google Settings icon from the list of apps installed on your smartphone), go to Security and, if necessary, activate the functions Locate this device remotely and Allow blocking and remote cancellation .
Once you have activated the location services on your smartphone and authorized the Android Device Manager to control the device, you can locate the phone remotely by connecting to the Android Device Manager website and logging in with your Google account (obviously it must be the same Google account configured on the smartphone ).
Once logged in, wait a few moments for the smartphone to appear on the map and, if you deem it appropriate, use one of the buttons located at the top left to control it remotely: by clicking on the Make ring button you can make the phone ring in order to attract the attention of bystanders (or detect the exact location of the device, if you are nearby); by clicking on the Lock button you can block access to the smartphone with a security code and show a personalized message on its lock-screen, while clicking on the Cancel buttonyou can reset the device by deleting all the data inside it. Please, use the “Delete” option only in case of real need (ie when you no longer have any hope of finding the phone), as using it you will lose the ability to locate the device remotely.
If you want, you can also locate your smartphone from another Android device by downloading the official Android Device Manager app , which is compatible with the vast majority of Android smartphones and tablets and works exactly like the site I just told you about.
App to find Android
If Android Device Manager seems a little too limited and you need an app to find Android even if it is stolen, check out these workarounds available on the Play Store.
Cerberus (for a fee)
Cerberus is one of the most complete and effective anti-theft solutions available on Android. You can try it for free for 7 days, after which it costs 5 euros / year. It offers all the features of Android Device Manager plus the ability to reactivate the GPS in case of deactivation, take photos and videos remotely, control the phone via SMS, get the list of calls and messages and much more. It works on most Android devices without special requirements, but to take advantage of some more advanced features, such as the one that reactivates the GPS in case of deactivation, it is necessary to root.
To use Cerberus on your smartphone, download the application from the Google Play Store, start it and press the Create a Cerberus account button to create your personal account. When the operation is complete, follow the initial Cerberus configuration procedure and activate the administrator permissions for the app by pressing the Enable device administrator and Activate buttons . If you have rooted your phone and want to use the advanced features of Cerberus, press also on Grant Superuser permission .
Now all you have to do is press the ≡ button located at the top left and configure the Cerberus features according to your preferences. For example, you can prevent any thieves from turning off your smartphone by activating the Lock Power menu function , you can configure the automatic taking of photos and videos by activating the Automatic photo capture function , you can set the reception of notifications in the event of a change of the SIM in the phone activating the SIM checker function and so on.
After setting all your preferences, you can find Android with Cerberus by connecting to this web page , clicking on the Login item located at the top right and logging in with your Cerberus account.
Therefore, wait a few seconds for the position of your smartphone to be displayed on the map and use the drop-down menu located at the top left to remotely control the device using all the available functions (eg Start localization to locate the device, Lock with code to lock it with a code and so on).
Wheres My Droid (freemium)
Wheres My Droid is one of the most complete and easy-to-use anti-theft apps for Android available on the Play Store. Its main flaw – if we want to consider it that way – is that it is only in English. It is available in three versions: a free version that allows you to locate the phone via GPS, make it ring remotely, command it via SMS and receive alerts in the event of a SIM change; a 4.58 euro Pro that includes all the features of the free version + the ability to take pictures in case of unsuccessful phone unlocking, remote blocking and deletion of the device, blocking the uninstallation of apps and the ability to hide the Wheres My Droid icon and an Elitefrom € 1.49 / month which includes all the functions of the Pro version + the tracking of smartphone movements, the sending of notifications in case of possible theft of the device and the possibility of obtaining information such as call history and statistics of the remote device.
After downloading Wheres My Droid on your phone, to activate the application you have to press the Start , Next and Create account buttons . Then fill out the form that is proposed to you to create your account to access the remote management panel of Wheres My Droid (you will then have to verify your address by clicking on the confirmation link received via email), set the name with which to identify your smartphone , choose whether to use your phone to locate any other devices monitored through Wheres My Droid (by pressing on Allow or Do Not Allow ) and presses on Next and Done to complete the initial app setup procedure.
At this point, “tap” on the red bar located on the main screen of Wheres My Droid and agree to activate the administrative permissions for the app by pressing first on Go to and then on Activate . After this step too, press all the buttons on Wheres My Droid and set all the app functions according to your needs (and the version of the app you downloaded / purchased). For example, by pressing the GPS setup button you can activate or deactivate the location of the phone via GPS, by pressing the Attention words button you can view and / or modify the commands to be given to the phone via SMS and so on.
Once all preferences have been adjusted, to locate your smartphone remotely, all you have to do is connect to this web page, log in with your Wheres My Droid account data and choose one of the options available in the left sidebar : Locate to locate the device, Ring to make it ring and so on.
Android Lost (freemium)
If you are looking for an anti-theft solution for Android but don’t want to spend money, you can turn to Android Lost which is almost completely free. Some of its features, such as searching among contacts and running other apps remotely, are reserved for the Premium version (3.35 euros) of the app, but are not essential.
To install Android Lost on your phone, download the application from the Google Play Store, start it and grant it administrator permissions by “tapping” the Request Administrator Rights and Activate buttons . Subsequently, connected to the AndroidLost.com site , click on the Sign In item located at the top right, log in with your Google account (the same configured on the smartphone) and click on the Allow button to activate your Android Lost account .
At this point, you can locate your device at any time by connecting to the AndroidLost.com site , selecting the Controls tab and clicking first on the Basic button and then on the Send location button located in the middle of the page. Within a few seconds, a Google Maps map will appear with the location of your smartphone.
To take advantage of the other functions of Android Lost, all you have to do is select the appropriate tabs (eg Basic for basic functions; Status to activate or deactivate GPS, Bluetooth etc .; Security to lock or unlock the phone and so on) and select the functions listed on the page that opens.
If you want to activate the ability to control the smartphone via SMS (using the commands found in the SMS tab of the AndroidLost.com site), select the SMS tab of the AndroidLost.com site, type the number from which to send the SMS in the SMS allow field and presses the Allow button .