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How to use Android Device Manager as an anti-theft tool

Sterling Keys

We first reported on the arrival of the Android Device Manager a few months ago. Personally, I’ve used it more times than I can count when I’m trying to find my misplaced phone or tablet that may or may not have slipped in between a few cushions on our couch. However, asides from being great at finding misplaced Android devices, it also can double as a theft deterrent device, enabling you to locate, lock, and even wipe your device remotely should you need to do so. Of course, you need to first make sure this is set-up properly, so let’s take a look at how it is done.

Well, there's the device manager page, but how do I setup lock and erase?/ © AndroidPIT

While you might not think it’s likely to happen to you, it’s definitely nice to know that you at least have some kind of control over your device should it end up in someone else’s hands.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that you’ve enabled the service for your devices that are linked to your Google account by heading over to the Device Manager page (www.android.com/devicemanager). If it is the first time you’ve visited the page, it will ask for permission to act as an administrator for this service. What most people don’t realize is that just by logging onto this page and getting everything done here doesn’t complete the process. You also need to enable to features on your smartphone as well.

Setting up your Android Device

The first thing to do to enable your device is to head to your Google Settings.

© AndroidPIT

Once inside Google Settings, you will have access to the Device Manager option and this will bring up two selections that you can enable: Locate this device remotely and Allow remote lock and data factory reset. By default, the second option is disabled and once enabled, it will allow you to remotely lock your device and wipe it in case of theft.

© AndroidPIT

When you’ve activated this option, a confirmation page will pop up that will confirm that you know what entitles enabling this option.

If you can’t find the icon for Google Settings or for some reason you don’t have it,  you can also enable this in your Security portion of the Settings.

© AndroidPIT

Once inside Security, head to Device Administrators and check off the Device Manager box to allow your device to be locked remotely.

© AndroidPIT

Once that’s all said and done, you can now use Android Device Manager to remotely lock and wipe your device for whatever reason you deem necessary. While it may be a last ditch effort to protect your stored information on your device, it’s much better than having someone gain access to your personal Google accounts such as gmail and whatnot.

Has anyone here had to use the device manager to wipe their device? If so, tell us below in the comments.

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Write new comment:
  • Mark R. 7 months ago Link

    I'm in China & it tells me location reporting is blocked in China so not sure this will work. AVG offers something similar but never had to use either.

  • Tom B. 7 months ago Link

    The website has been down for over a month. Users have reported getting an: Internal Server Error. Error 500 message. Google is aware of the problem but doesn't seem overly concerned about actually fixing it.

  • kiran kumar gouraboina 7 months ago Link

    Will it work even if there is no data connectivity??

  • Edward Amarille 7 months ago Link

    As great as the idea is, there is 1 major pitfall. Worthless if the phone is turned off, which is the first thing a thief does after taking an electronic product.

  • CJ Brown 7 months ago Link

    IF a thief turns off the smart phone - some are not that smart (some will even start using said stolen smart phone immediately), so until there's a FREE APP that is the answer? I have done the 2 steps mentioned in this article (and perhaps the next article can recommend some anti-theft apps) ...

  • Pteryx 7 months ago Link

    You need the lost or stolen phone to be connected to internet to see it don't you? BTW when I was in setup on my phone configuring device manager I found Samsung's version of device locator & enabled that too.