How to easily track down your lost or stolen Android phone or tablet

JULY 14, 2015

If you have ever lost your phone, you understand how frustrating it can be to find it - more so if it gets stolen. You can try these solutions to try and track down your Android based smartphone or tablet; you just need to configure the phone or tablet for it to be discoverable. Here is how.

Please note that the solutions below will require that your phone be on in order to give you an give you an accurate idea of its location, and to access options to remotely lock or wipe it. If the battery runs out or your phone is stolen and switched off, you may be out of luck. Which is a good idea to always back up your stuff.

You need to be signed into your Google account on the phone or tablet before you begin this operation. 

Device Manager offers the easiest way to track an Android phone. You don't need to have a third party app installed on your device to use it, but you do need to check that your settings are correctly configured before you lose your phone or tablet.


To start using Device Manager, open the Google Settings app (not the phone's own Settings) and tap on Security. Under Device Manager ensure the options to 'Remotely locate this device' and 'Allow remote lock and erase' are enabled. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone 

Location access also needs to be switched on for Device Manager to work.

Once again open the Google Settings app, but this time choose Location. On the next screen tap 'Google Location History' under Location Services, then ensure it's switched on. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone 

You now have two ways of tracking a lost Android phone. 

If the phone is switched on and has a signal you'll be able to track it in Device Manager - head to on another device and sign into your Google account. It should automatically find your device and report its location on a map.

Also in Device Manager you'll find options to make the phone ring, lock out a suspected thief or wipe its contents. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone  

There is also an Android Device Manager app, which is useful if you have several Android devices to track. It's free from Google Play. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone

Another option, if your phone is switched off, is to check your location history to find its last reported location. You can do this by visiting and tapping on Manage History under Places you go. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone

You'll now see a map of all the places in which your device has reported its location during a time period that you specify. The last known location is where Google last saw it before the battery died, and if your luck's in it may still be there. 

Find my phone: How to locate a lost Android Phone

Note that location history uses Wi-Fi- and mobile signals rather than GPS, so it won't be as accurate as Android Device Manager.
Some third-party options are also available for tracking phones, laptops and tablets. Prey is a particularly popular option, available not only for mobile devices but also Windows, OS X and Ubuntu laptops. 
Article based on one that appeared on PC Advisor.