(Pocket-lint) - Google makes it really easy to track down your phone if you've lost it or had it stolen.
Since about 2015, Google has offered phone location tracking as part of the Google account. It will let you find Android devices that you are signed into that are running Google mobile services and it's really easy to use.
Here's how it works.
How to find your Android phone
The easiest method comes thanks to Chrome's syncing with Google. If you use Chrome and are signed into the same Google account on Chrome as you are on your smartphone, then it couldn't be simpler.
- Open Chrome and ensure you're signed into Chrome using the same account as your mobile device.
- Type "find my phone" into the search bar and hit search.
- The results page will include a box at the top showing you where your phone is. You can use the drop-down box to select the specific device you're looking for, with the map showing the location.
- You have options to ring that phone (so you can find it at home), or recover - where you can click through and find options to lock, erase, or remove the phone from your account.
In another browser
If you don't use Chrome, you can still use your browser, it's just not quite as simple.
- In your browser head to google.com/android/find.
- If you're not logged in, log in using the same account as your Android phone.
- The next page opens in the Google account page to find your phone.
- As above, you can then select the device you want to locate that's associated with your Google account, and ring, wipe or lock that device.
Managing your devices in your Google account
Because Android phones need a Google account to run (with the exception of a few, for example recent Huawei phones), Google will always be able to locate those devices, as well as manage them. That means you can view devices that are associated with your Google account within the account management area. Remember that this applies both to personal accounts and any G Suite accounts you might have for work.
You can access this through a browser or through an Android device itself. Just head to your Google account and then to Security where you'll find a list of devices you have signed in. Again, you can locate devices here, but more usefully, you can remotely wipe devices you can't access (perhaps because you broke the display), or remove devices from your account that you no longer use or own. This extends beyond phones to include Chromecast devices, Wear OS devices and PCs where you might be signed into Chrome.