How to Use Google Find My Device

Easily track your Android phone when it's lost

Couple looking at phone for navigation pointing in a city

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Losing your Android smartphone or tablet can be stressful, since, these days, it feels like your whole life is on it. Google's Find My Device feature (previously Android Device Manager) helps you locate, and if necessary, remotely lock down your smartphone, tablet, and smartwatch, or even wipe the device clean in case of theft or after you've given up on finding it.

The directions below should apply no matter who made your Android phone: Google, Huawei, Xiaomi, etc., except for Samsung, which has a different process.

How to Set up Google Find My Device

You can set up Google Find My Device on any of your Android devices, then use it to locate your device from your computer or another one of your Androids using the Find My Device app. Sign in to the app using your Google credentials, and you’ll get the same experience as on desktop.

There are several requirements. The device must:

  • Be on
  • Be signed in to your Google account
  • Be connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data
  • Be visible on Google Play
  • Have location services enabled
  • Have Find My Device turned on

Here’s how to check that you’ve set up your device correctly. 

Enabling location services will eat up battery life. The device's location information is not required to lock and erase your device remotely.

  1. Power on the device.

  2. Pull down twice from the top of the screen to get to Quick Settings and make sure either Wi-Fi or Mobile data is turned on (or both).

    Android Quick Settings menu
  3. Go to Settings

  4. Tap Google > Google Account.

    Android's Google account settings.

    Your name and Gmail address will be displayed at the top of the page if you’re logged in. You’ll likely already have gotten a notification if you need to sign in.

  5. Tap Security & location.

    On some phones you might need to tap Google > Security.

  6. Under Find My Device it will say On or Off. If it’s off, tap Find My Device and toggle the switch to On.

    Android's Google Find My Device settings.
  7. Go back to Security & location and scroll down to the Privacy section.

  8. Under Location, it will say On or Off. If it’s off, tap Location and toggle the switch to On. Here, you can see recent location requests from apps on your phone.

    Android's location settings.
  9. By default, your phone is visible on Google Play, but it’s possible to hide it.  To check your device’s status on Google Play, go to play.google.com/settings. On that page you'll see a list of your devices. Under Visibility, select Show in menus.

    Google Play Store device visibility settings.

How to Use Google Find My Device

Every time you use Find My Device, you'll get an alert on the device you’re tracking. If you get this alert and haven't used the feature, then it's a good idea to change your password and enable two-step verification on your Google account if you haven’t already.

  1. Start by opening a browser tab, then go to google.com/android/find and log into your Google account.

    Google Find My Device website

    If it doesn’t find your device and you have it on hand, make sure you’ve followed all the steps above correctly.

  2. Find My Device will attempt to detect your smartphone, smartwatch, or tablet. If location services are on, Find My Device will reveal its location. If it's working, you'll see a map with a pin dropped at the device's location.

    On the left side of the screen are tabs for each device you've connected to a Google account. Beneath each tab is your device's model name, the time it was last located, the network it’s connected to, and the remaining battery life.

  3. Once you get Find My Device up and running, you can do one of three things:

  • Play Sound: Make your Android play a sound, even if it's set to silent.
  • Secure Device: You can lock your device remotely if you think it's lost or stolen. Optionally, you can add a message and a phone number to the lock screen in case someone finds it and wants to return the device.
  • Erase Device: If you don't think you're getting your device back, you can wipe it so no one can access your data. Wiping performs a factory reset on your device, but if your phone is offline, you won't be able to wipe it until it regains a connection.