If you’re reading this, you probably just lost your Android phone or smartwatch, but don’t panic! Hopefully, we can use some tools already built into your Android phone or tablet to track your device. If you haven’t lost your phone or tablet yet, but worry you may someday soon, you should make sure these apps are downloaded.
How to track an Android phone
Google’s Find My Device app
Have you added your Google account to your Android device? Then you already have this feature enabled on your device by default. Before we celebrate too soon, there’s a few requirements to this feature, your phone or tablet 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
If you’ve got all the above boxes checked off, then these are the next steps:
1. Go to android.com/find and sign in to your Google account. Allow the app to find your Android device.
Make sure to accept Google’s terms and conditions if you want to use the app.
2. You should see your registered Android device on the top left, a couple of options below that, and a Google map on the right.
3. You’ve got four options with your lost Android phone or smartwatch:
- Find your phone on the Google map: Look at the map on the right of the screen to pinpoint the last place you left your phone.
- Play Sound: Just like it sounds, this feature will make your Android device ring for a few minutes, even if it’s set to silent.
- Secure device: You can remotely lock your Android device and sign out of your Google account on your phone, so in case someone stole it, they won’t access all of the info tied to your Google account. You can even add a message or contact info to the lock screen so a friendly stranger can return it to you.
- Erase device: If you’re sure your Android phone is gone for good, you can remotely erase all the content on it. Don't worry though, if you find it after erasing, your Google Account password is all that's needed to use it again.
You can use the map to see where you left your phone.
Samsung’s Find My Mobile app
Samsung has a service to help Galaxy users find their lost Android phones. For the service to work, however, the feature needs to be enabled and you need to be signed in to your Samsung account on your phone. Hopefully these two things happened before losing your phone. Well, don’t worry, you might have enabled the app and just forgot about it. Either way, take these steps to find your missing Galaxy phone.
- Go to findmymobile.samsung.com.
- Sign in to your Samsung account.
- Track your missing phone.
Borrow a friend’s phone and follow the steps above to track your missing Samsung phone.
You can turn on the feature by going to Settings > Biometrics and security > Find My Mobile and toggling the switch to green. Now you can use the service to find your phone if you lose it in the future.
Third-party Find My Phone apps for Android
We recommend using either the Google or Samsung service for tracking your Android phone, but if neither of those sound appealing to you, there are a number of third-party apps you can use. It really comes down to whether or not you feel more comfortable sharing your device's location with a big company like Google, or if you prefer to share it with a smaller group developing the third-party apps.
Whatever you choose, make sure you read the terms and conditions before letting random apps know your phone’s location.
Life360 Family Locator
Ever want to have a GPS tracker on all the members of your family? Life360 allows you to create a “Circle” of your family members, and you can track where they are at any given time. The app itself is free, but you can upgrade to different plans that include location history, roadside assistance, and even track how fast your kids are driving.
Just in case your kid is getting home from school suspiciously quickly …
You can download the Life360 Family Locator app here.
Prey Anti Theft
The Prey Anti Theft app supports up to three devices with one free account. If one of those devices goes missing, you can sound an alarm on your missing phone and lock it down remotely from the Prey Anti Theft app.
Source: Prey Project
You have a nice host of options for when you lose your Android phone with Prey Anti Theft installed.
You can download the Prey Anti Theft app here.
The Lost Android app lets you access your phone from an external website. From there, you can do tons of different things to help you find your lost phone, or cause havoc for the person who stole your phone by locking it, flooding it with messages, stopping the Wi-Fi connection.