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Android Security: Lock and Locate your lost phone on Google Maps

Losing a phone is always a problem and more so, if it is a smart phone without any security shield installed. Some have their whole life in it, from personal pictures to financial information. So needless to say, if you have a smart phone it’s vital for you to have some security features installed. Many phones come with these features by default but often people neglect to set them up.

Today, I’m going to talk about Android phones. If you have a Samsung Android device, you can go to security and find a host of security features that you can setup; from Sim lock, Sim change alert, Tracking on maps to remote location wipe (remote wipe only works for some top end models) using Samsung Dive service. Android Settings app

There are also various third party apps on the Play Store which you can use to secure your phone; first by making it difficult for someone else to unlock your device and then in case they somehow unlock it, by using remote wipe feature to completely delete your personal stuff and tracking the phone online on maps.

Google Android Device Manager

Today, Google has released a new feature called Device Manager. Any Android user (with OS version 2.2 and up) can use the device Manager feature to enable remote ringing of device, locking and erasing all data. Also, one can track the location of the phone on Google Maps.

Just visit the Device Manager page and sign in using the Google account with which the Android phone was registered. Now, on your phone, open Google Settings app (if you hide apps, also look into those hidden apps) and go to Android Device Manager. Select all the available options.

From now on, your device will be under your control, even when you lose it.

Few things to note here. None of these features will work as long your device is switched off. These features will also not work if the phone is ON but is kept in Airplane mode or the data is switched off manually. In other words, these features will work only if there is an active data connection. But one good thing is, these features are not SIM dependent, so even if someone changes the sim card, you can track your device.

Where this will fail

Obviously, there is clearly a way to by pass all this security and use your stolen device without any problem. But for this the thief has to be a highly knowledgeable person. If you remotely lock your device with a password, he obviously cannot unlock your phone without knowing the password. But, if he knows stuff, he can get into recovery and reset everything to factory settings. This will wipe out your Google account from the phone and will hence get unlinked with online Device Manager.

Having said that, having some security is far better than having nothing and the chances of a thief having such technical knowledge is very, very slim.

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