What to Do When Your Android Smartphone Gets Stolen
We’ve all experienced it once: you reach your hand inside your pocket or inside your bag, and your phone isn’t there. Whether it was stolen or you’ve merely left it in a public place, your smartphone in another person’s hand is a great security concern.
Fortunately, there is a built-in feature in every Android device that allows you to pinpoint your phone’s location. If you’re in a well-mapped place, it could even tell you the exact address. It’s called the Android Device Manager, officially created by Google.
Finding Your Phone
To access the Android Device Manager, simply go to Google and type “find my phone” in the search bar. It doesn’t matter if your Android device has multiple Google accounts synced to it, as long as you sign in with an account that’s linked to the device you’re trying to find.
You will then see an approximation where your phone was last detected, based on a number of factors. With a strong internet connection on your missing phone, you will get more a more accurate location. From here, we have three courses of action:
The first option is ring. This is helpful if you’ve only misplaced your phone and want to pin down where it is. Upon clicking it, your phone will ring at full volume for 5 minutes, until you press the power button on your phone. Don’t worry about your phone’s notification settings. It will ring even if your phone is on silent or vibrate.
Our next option will be the most useful one: lock. This is an indispensable tool if you’re sure that your device has been stolen. This option will make your phone inaccessible by replacing your current lockscreen with a password lock. Your phone will then be unusable unless you input your password on the device.
The last option we have is should indeed be considered the final option: erase. This will completely wipe all data from your device. Though it may sound seem drastic, this is a vital option if you want to protect personal information or confidential business data from getting in the wrong hands. However, keep in mind that this option is irreversible. Only choose this option if you’re 100% sure you won’t be getting your phone back.
Though Apple products may have a leg up with regards to data security, Google isn’t very far back. However, all of these options come with one major caveat: your phone has to be online via either Wi-Fi or mobile data. So make sure to do it immediately before your smartphone is taken out of range, or before you run out of battery or prepaid load.
As a preventive measure, remember that it’s prudent to set a lockscreen passcode or password for your devices. With all of the precious information we keep on our smartphones, we have to do all we can to protect ourselves from possible data theft or worse.