All mobile phones have one unpleasant property - to get lost. In addition, they are sometimes stolen. And with this, unfortunately, nothing can be done. Until recently, “sowing" an Android device outside the home meant parting with it forever without the hope of a return, because unlike iOS, there were no search functions on Android. Today they are, which means that the chances of returning the loss are no longer zero. And we have to get to know them.
We’ll talk about how to find a lost Android phone via Google and using third-party applications and services.
Google Phone Search Service
In the event of the loss of a mobile gadget, the functions of modern versions of Android can not only determine its location by cell towers and satellites, but also remotely block it. And if there is no hope of a return (stolen) - erase the owner’s personal data.
To do this, the following conditions must be met:
- The device must be turned on (it is not necessary that your SIM card is in it).
- It must be linked to your Google account.
- The function "Remote control" should work on it.
- It must have activated the transfer of geodata and enabled Internet access.
- The phone must be detected on Google Play.
If you turned off the function of setting the location (location) for the sake of saving battery power, you will not have a chance to find a lost or stolen phone. Satellite search does consume a lot of energy, but you don’t need to use it in the city. Turn on location of the device by cell towers - this option is more economical.
How to enable location sharing on Android:
- Launch the Settings application (Settings).
- On the Personal menu, tap the line for Location Services.
- Check the box next to “By network coordinates”.
To find out which devices are connected to your Google account:
- Open any browser (on a PC or mobile device - it doesn’t matter), go to Google.com and log in using your account.
- Open the recently used devices page. This list should contain the phone number you are looking for.
How to enable remote device control on Android:
- Launch “Options” (Settings).
- Touch the Protection (Security) item in the Personal menu.
- In the right pane, select Device Admins.
- Check the box next to “Android Remote Control” and open it.
- In the "Activate device administrator?" Window, click "Enable."
How to find a phone on Google Play:
- Go to the Google Play website through any browser, open the “Settings” section (button with a gear icon).
- Take a look at the My Devices list. All Android phones, tablets, watches, etc. tied to your account should be present in this list.
How to locate a lost Android gadget
The steps below are performed through a computer or other mobile device connected to the Internet.
- Open a browser and log in with your Google account.
- Go to the main page of your account and in the section "Phone Search" click "Proceed".
- Select a lost device from the list and enter your password to enter your account again. Once in the search section, click the "Find" button.
The location of your device will be displayed on a map of the area.
Other available features:
- Phone ringing. When activated, the phone will ring for 5 minutes (even at zero volume), attracting the attention of people. However, this helps more if you don’t remember where you put it, but if you lose or steal a call, it can make the situation worse. Also, not all devices support it.
- Blocking. Return to the previous page and open the "Block phone" section. Change the default message if desired. Click Block.
- Call your phone using the Google Hangouts messenger. To jump, click on the highlighted word.
- Log out of the account on the device. To exit, press the corresponding button.
- Delete user data from the gadget's internal memory (excluding the memory card). Choose this option if you are sure that the phone fell into the wrong hands and an attacker can use the information on it to harm anyone. For example, it will start sending malware to your contacts or gain access to e-wallets. If you agree to the deletion, click the "Yes, erase" button, but the search on the map, blocking and dialing after this will be unavailable.
Services like Google’s Phone Finder are also being developed by mobile device manufacturers. The principle of operation and the set of features they have is the same or slightly larger. For example, Samsung offers users of its smartphones the following:
- Locating on a map.
- Remote lock.
- Erase sensitive data.
- Ringing (loud reproduction of a ringtone for 1 minute to attract the attention of others).
- Access the call log.
- Notification of removal of the owner’s SIM card.
- Remote transfer of the device to "emergency mode" - reducing the brightness of the screen with the shutdown of most functions and applications to save battery power. So that the lost phone as long as possible remained in sight.
Find my device from Google - a mobile application for finding lost devices
To simplify the search for lost or stolen Android gadgets, you can also use the Find my device mobile application, available for free download from Google Play. It has the same set of functions as Google Phone Search. Namely:
- Allows you to locate the gadget on the map.
- Calls him (makes him ring at maximum volume for 5 minutes).
- Blocks usage.
- Allows the owner to log out of their Android account and remotely erase user data.
Find my device is designed to be installed on the device that will be used for search, and not on the one you want to protect from loss.
The conditions for accessibility of the application functions are the same as for the “Phone Search” via browser Google service.
The Russian-language web service PLNET allows you to establish the location of the lost gadget by phone number and IMEI (international identification code for a mobile device that is assigned to each device in the factory). The search is performed by satellites and cell towers and works in the following networks of Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh mobile operators:
The main functions of the service are paid. Free, unlike Google, it allows you to find out only the country, region and city in which the desired device is located. More accurate coordinates - for 500 rubles and after registration. In addition, for a paid subscription, real-time device tracking, a history of its movements and search by IMEI are available. In the latter case, you should indicate with the IMEI the number of the SIM card used by the owner before the phone was lost. If you did not have time to record it while the phone was with you, look at the stickers on the box.
The OM-TEL service has similar functions for locating devices, except for searching by IMEI. Printable travel history printouts are also available for paid subscribers. The service of one-time determination of the exact coordinates by phone number costs 900 rubles.
The service works in the networks of the following mobile operators:
And PLNET, and OM-TEL, and other similar resources are still more suitable for tracking relatives (children, spouse, etc.). In the search for stolen smartphones, they are of little use, because an attacker, if he is not mindless, will immediately replace the owner’s SIM card with his own. In this case, the service will show the place of the last registration of your SIM card in the operator’s network. Or will not show anything.
SNDeepInfo is a service for checking the serial numbers and IMEI of various mobile devices to determine whether they are listed in the database of lost and stolen. Supports all models and brands of phones.
SNDeepInfo user can add IMEI or a serial of a lost or found device to the service database himself, leaving his email address for communication. Optionally, you can also specify the amount of compensation for the return. Registration or payment is not needed for this.
TrackerPlus service works like the previous one, but only IMEI maintains the database. With it, you can, for example, find out if the phone you bought from your hands was stolen from the previous owner. And also enter the code of your device into the database.
The author also considers the IMEI phone search services to be of little use, because with their help it is impossible to find out either the location of the device or who is currently using it. They are designed for honest people who, in the event of finding a device lost by someone, will themselves begin to search for its owner. Law enforcement agencies also do not use such databases - they have the opportunity to obtain the necessary information directly from mobile operators.
CM Security: protection and antivirus
In addition to antivirus, firewall and system optimization tools, CM Security also includes an anti-theft module. It includes:
- The function of setting the location of the device via the Internet (monitored on the application’s own website after registration).
- Dialer (works similar to Google and Samsung methods).
- Remote lock.
- Hidden photography of someone who entered the wrong password twice.
CM Locker contains a set of tools to protect sensitive data from the curious and the device itself from theft. Among its features:
- Setting passwords to run applications and files.
- Link your phone to your Facebook account for remote access in case of theft or loss.
- Remote lock and dial.
- Search for a location on the map.
- Photographing everyone who entered the wrong password.
Cerberus is a program to protect the device from theft with an expanded set of features. Among them:
- Remote monitoring of phone movement through the application website.
- Remote lock.
- Ringing tone.
- Messaging to a lost phone.
- Deleted screenshots.
- Capturing photos and videos of an attacker’s face. Record sound through a microphone.
- Erasing user data from internal memory and SD card.
- Remote control of the device through the console interface using commands.
- Automatically turn on location sharing if it’s turned off.
- Power off lock, so that the thief could not turn off the device and thereby interfere with its search.
- Create your own user rules, etc.
The bulk of the functions of Cerberus only works in the paid version. Even more of them are available upon obtaining root privileges.
How to find through a computer
Lost Android phone, if it is turned on and all settings are not reset, you can search using the Android Device Manager service. To do this, log in to his page. If there is no account, then you can create it in two clicks. After entering the login and password, a window with functionality appears. On the site you can lock the phone and clear its memory.
Google Play can be used through a computer or mobile device. You need to go to "Settings" and view the list of devices. Then - in the "Search for a phone" section and click "Proceed." The found smartphone, if the Internet is working on it, is displayed on the map. Here you can lock the device or change the greeting message.
You can send a call through Google Hangouts. If using the special button to erase the data on the SIM card, then it will be impossible to block and ring the phone.
On the PLNET service website, a smartphone is searched by phone number or international identification code indicated on the box (IMEI). Information comes from satellites and cell towers of mobile operators. You have to pay for using the service, but you can find out for free where the subscriber is located (country, city).
OM-TEL service works on a similar basis, but does not provide IMEI search services. Using a paid subscription, you can print the movement history of subscribers of the Megafon, Beeline, MTS, Kiivstar, Kcell, Tele 2, Velcom network subscribers.
Such services are used primarily for tracking a child or spouse. Attackers immediately take out a SIM card. In this case, it will be possible to determine only the moment of the last registration in the operator’s network.
To search for smartphones based on Android, the Find my device application from Google is used. Available for free download. It is installed on the phone from which the search will be performed. Shows the location on the map, sends a call, blocks, logs out of the account on a lost smartphone and deletes information.
Samsung manufacturer took care of the owners and installed a service for finding smartphones. Use it to find the device on the map., block remotely, delete confidential information, ring for one minute, access the call log, get information about removing the SIM card, put the smartphone into low power mode and find the Samsung phone.
- CM Security antivirus with the function of protecting the device via the Internet.
- CM Locker with a set of tools to protect confidential information.
- Cerberus is an advanced software to protect your smartphone.
Pre-setting your phone using the Anti-Theft Avast application allows you to protect your phone in case of loss or theft. In the program menu, you can configure the lock, notification of low battery, track the device via GPS. If the device disappears, you can always track it online.
Using Google Play, you can install the Lost Android application yourself. After installation, it is marked as a personal notebook. This is to ensure that attackers do not suspect anything. At startup, they give her administrator rights. The program is managed on the Google website. After authorization, several functions are available there.
A few tips:
- You can find out about devices connected to your account on the official Google website through any browser on your computer or smartphone. On the recently used devices page, the desired device is marked.
- In order to find the device without problems, you need to take care of turning on the geodata transfer function. They launch “Settings / Parameters” and set the search function by network coordinates in the location services.
- A stolen device can be controlled remotely. To enable the function, launch “Settings / Parameters” and select the item “Protection / Security”. The “Device Administrators" column is checked and the function is activated.
There are several ways to search for a device operating in normal mode. Each is comfortable in its own way. Many owners of lost smartphones do not start looking for them, since finding the phone if it is turned off seems to be an inconclusive event.
But you can even find a disabled smartphone, as the Google service remembers the last location of the device.
Google Remote Control Find My Device
Adnroid developers have created a special feature that helps to find an Android phone by Google account. For this search method, you first need to bind your device to the account. To carry out the search itself, you only need to have access to the Internet and a computer in order to log in. Inside the account there is a special section that shows data about your mobile.
If you don’t have a laptop or PC at hand, you can download Find my device, which has the same functionality, onto another Android device (tablet or phone). You will be able to use the “Find My Device” service if you activate the settings on your mobile in advance, and you won’t be able to do this after loss or theft. The function is activated from the Android control menu.
Enabling Device Management
To obtain the necessary capabilities to control and activate the way to track the device, you need to perform a number of presets. The main task is to link your Google account and your phone. In the device manager, you need to enable remote control according to the following instructions:
- Sign in to your Google Account. To do this, you can use the program or login through the phone settings in the "My Accounts" menu.
- Open the section called Security.
- Inside, click on the Andriod Remote Management section.
- Activate the “Remote settings lock” and “Remote device search” functions.
Built-in Service Features
Using Google accounts, you can not only track the location of the device on Android, but also perform a number of other actions. An important condition to find the phone when it is stolen is Wi-Fi turned on and the geolocation function. Through the built-in service you can:
- Lock your phone through your Google account. To do this, the user enters a special password and the attacker can no longer use the device.
- The ability to track a stolen or lost smartphone if it has GPS and Wi-Fi activated for data transfer. This is possible even if you replace or throw away the SIM card.
- Активация громкого и беспрерывного звукового сигнала в течение 5 минут даже при выключенном звуке.
- Функция сброса до заводских настроек для предотвращения похищения личных данных и информации.
- Возможность создать сообщение, которое будет выводиться на экран смартфона.
Поиск телефона Андроид через Find My Device и браузер
Функция по умолчанию отключена, но присутствует на всех устройствах, которые работают на Android. You do not need to install additional programs for this tracking method; the option is activated through the device manager. You can find the phone through Google account from a computer using a standard browser. To activate Find My Device, you need on the phone:
- Open the "Google Settings" item.
- Go to the Security tab.
- Opposite the item “Device administrators”, check the box.
- Confirm function activation.
Log in to your account from a computer through a browser and follow these steps:
- Open the search box at www.google.com/andro> Google maps received a new addition called "Show where I am." It has become part of the official app and helps determine the location of the Android phone. The function builds graphs of the user's movement along the route, marking the points. To enable this method of tracking movements, you must perform the following steps:
- Install Google maps on your smartphone.
- Open the main menu and go to the application.
- Activate the "Show where I am" function, set the tracking interval.
- Enter your phone number or mail.
- To track or spy, you need to open Google maps, run the section “Show where I am”. Select the device of interest from the list and see the result of recording the route.
Another interesting feature from Google to track your phone is called "Timeline." It will not help to track the user in real time. Used to see where a person has been for a certain period of time, works by analogy with the tracker on cars. To do this, you must perform the following steps:
- open Google maps under the account to which the phone is attached,
- click on the item "Timeline",
- indicate the required period for viewing: year, month, day,
- wait for the results to form.
Android geolocation using Google apps
You can track a person’s movements both from a computer and from another phone. For this, the same tracking methods are used, the only difference is that additional applications are needed for the smartphone. They will receive information transmitted by the victim’s phone. Most of the programs are free, the following options are popular among users:
- Lost Andro> A useful application that helps you find out where the user with the installed program is located. It has wide functionality, which includes not only location determination. Using the utility you can:
- ring the phone so that it emits a signal even in silent mode,
- using sms to get the coordinates of the device,
- take a picture of the thief from the front camera (pro version),
- remove applications and modules (pro version) ,,
- block all functions on the device (pro version),
Lost Andro> Another way to track Android is the Android Lost Free app. Completely free program that has a wide range of functions. You must install it on your phone in advance so that you can use the following functions in case of loss or theft:
- activation or deactivation of GPS, Wi-Fi,
- control of incoming and outgoing calls,
- alarm start and screen flicker,
- delete all data from Android,
- Create photos from any camera on your gadget.
This tracking method will help to track the moment of the SIM card change. The notification will come to a pre-specified email address. Removing Android Lost is difficult because it does not appear on the menu. The main rule is that the program must be installed on the phone immediately. If your gadget is lost or stolen, you won’t be able to use this tracking method. You can download the utility from the official Google store.
Conditions for a successful search
Using Google services, it’s not always possible to find a phone. This is due to inactive functionality, lack of authorization or Internet connection. There are several important conditions that allow you to achieve a relatively small error in the search.
Using the “Find device” function will give the result if the smartphone:
- associated with the service through a Google account and almost Gmail used during registration,
- connected to the internet
- authorized on Google Play and visible on it,
- works with the active functions “Location” and “Find device”.
When all the above conditions are met, you can determine the location of the device with a relatively small error. Since such a search does not guarantee success, you should not rely solely on it. If you are sure that the phone is stolen, you must contact the law enforcement authorities and tell as much as possible about the situation in which he was lost.
To increase your search efficiency, you must:
- on Google Play, indicate the availability of the device by checking the corresponding box,
- Log in to your account on the Find Your Device website and select the one you need from the list,
- Install the Find My Device app by downloading it on Google Play.
You can search from a computer, tablet device, or other smartphone. The main conditions are Internet connection and authorization through one Google account.
Via google maps
Any display of the location of the Android smartphone will be carried out through Google Maps. This service allows you to see not only the coordinates of the device, but also its route based on the last marked points.
To find a smartphone, you must follow this instruction:
- Log in to the main account through which the search will be performed,
- Search notification will come to the smartphone,
- the current location of the device will be displayed on the map - the coordinates will be approximate, you can see where the smartphone was last seen.
It should be understood that the accuracy of such a search depends on many factors, including the quality of the Internet connection. In many cases, it will not be possible to find the device through a Google account, since the smartphone will not have access to the network.
Android Remote Control
Using services connected through an account, you can control the device. Several functions are available for this:
- ringing - for 5 minutes the device will produce a signal at full volume, even if silent mode with vibration is turned on,
- blocking - is performed using previously set PIN-codes, graphic or digital passwords, or it blocks the phone’s screen with the possibility of displaying any text on it,
- cleaning - deleting all user data and settings on the device, excluding those that are on the memory card (after that, the “Find device” function will not work).
Location History Timeline
The function of saving and displaying the route of the device is implemented using the "Timeline", which shows the movement chain using information about the latest connections of the smartphone to the network. On the map you can see the movements marked from any active devices, including tablet and PC.
For the function to work correctly, it must be enabled in your Google account.
All applications that help find a device running on the Android operating system use Google services to search. This also applies to Google Maps, which are built into many tools. Based on this, the additional use of third-party applications will not affect the likelihood of finding the phone.
An exception is the “native” software of the smartphone manufacturer, which provided users with a built-in tool for searching and blocking in case of loss and theft. Such applications also require registration and authorization on Google sites.
By phone number
Any Internet services that offer search via phone number and tracking SIM cards via satellite do not provide reliable information. But, having gained access to other people's personal data, they can use it for fraud. Many such portals require payment.
Finding a lost or stolen phone is often extremely difficult, and most often does not bear fruit. But using Google services to find a smartphone connected to the search system is quite realistic. Due to the capabilities of the site, you can significantly clarify the coordinates of the location of the loss and try to find it with the help of friends or law enforcement agencies.
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