Ever had one of those incredulous
episodes that force you to go hunting your phone – a quest
that more often than not includes a descend into the depths of the
living room couch? We sure have. And it's almost never a pretty
picture – couch cushions thrown each and every direction, all the
while you're trying to fight off the not-so-nice voices in your head
that keep pointing out to you just how silly and imperfect you are.
Of course, what usually follows is the realization that your phone is
actually under the newspaper on the coffee table right in front of
you. That's right – you just spent 15 minutes rustling through
leftover food from Thanksgiving 3 years ago that somehow got stuck
under the seat cushion.
Sure, you may say that we're
exaggerating, but we're only doing so to make a point: Google's
Android Device Manager is a gem that we have been missing sincerely
on the platform. What's more, with the
latest update to it, the Manager is actually getting more and
more valuable for more than your trivial sparring with home
furniture. Namely, apart from the original duo of features that the
Android Device Manager launched with – a Ringer and an option to
wipe your device's data and settings – it now also has the option
of locking your device remotely. More importantly, now that we've had
a chance to fiddle with the new lock feature, it feels so essential
that we're scratching our heads wondering how Mountain View missed
this in the initial version. After all, nobody wants to lose all his data, even if his
device is lost or stolen, by sheer virtue of hope that it'll be
reclaimed. The new lock options is a life-saver in this very regard.
TLDR? Right. So let's get right to
our how-to guide.
Android Device Manager
Android Device Manager
1. Step 1: Setting up Android Device Manager
Obviously, for Android Device Manager to work, you first need to have your device associated with your Google account. Don't worry – if you can access the Play Store, then you're good to go. By default, Android Device Manager can only utilize the Ring function, which basically plays one of the loudest pre-installed tunes on your phone at maximum volume for 5 minutes. Once you locate your temporarily misplaced droid, you can press the Power button to silence it.
2. Step 2: Setting up Android Device Manager
As we said, if you want to take advantage of the full capabilities of the Android Device Manager, there's some manual work you'll need to do. For starters, in order for Google to estimate your location, you'll have to turn on Location Services if you haven't already. Keep in mind that the different versions of Android have a slightly different Settings menu, so the below snaps may not be the exact path to it for everybody.
3. Step 2.1: Setting up Android Device Manager
Now that the Android Device Manager is allowed to access your phone's location, it'll be able to pin-point the location of your phone pretty accurately:
4. Step 3: Setting up Android Device Manager
In order to take the reins fully, you'll also have to grant Administrative privileges to the Android Device Manager. The easiest way to do that is to hit the “Send a notification to your device” link seen in the slide prior to this one. This will sent an actionable notification to your device, which you can use to go to the exact Google Settings sub-section. Go ahead and tick the box!
5. Step 3.1: Setting up Android Device Manager
Alternatively, you can go to Google Settings and locate the option manually.
6. Step 3.2: Setting up Android Device Manager
Regardless of which method you choose, both paths lead to the same place.
7. Step 3.3: Setting up Android Device Manager
Simply hit 'Activate' and you'll unlock the full potential of the Android Device Manager (you may have to refresh the page). As you can see, the Lock and Erase options are no longer grayed out – they're now operational.
8. Step 4: Locking your device
If you can't locate your device or it gets stolen, chances are that you won't have a recent back up and, as such, would like to avoid wiping your device, even if you have sensitive information on it. Thankfully, Google's new Lock option allows you to prevent access to your data without having to go for a wipe. Simply click Lock and enter a new password. As soon as anybody tries to power on the device, he or she will have to crack your password somehow before gaining entry. Nifty, huh?
9. Step 4.1: Locking your device
As promised, none shall pass!
10. Step 5: Erasing all your data and settings remotely
If you're inthe employ of certain three-lettered organizations, you may have information on your device sensitive enough to warrant a full wipe. This is irrevocable, so if you don't have a recent back up, you stand to lose quite a bit. In other words, use with due caution only.
That's it folks! Pretty simple and powerful, isn't it?