Android users finally gets feature long used by Apple users: tracking a lost phone

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The ‘Find My Phone’ feature has been a handy tool for many iPhone users, but until now, Android users didn’t have the same built-in functionality. Now, Android users can take advantage of the same security feature using the newly unveiled Android Device Manager.

The feature was announced on the official Android blog on August 2, and is now available to users running Android 2.2 or higher. Right now, it’s only got some very basic features, but it should cover the key elements you need from this kind of software.

If you’re trying to locate your Android device, visit the Android Device Manager web page and (if you aren’t already logged in) sign into your Google account. The website will display a list of all active devices associated with your account, and show you via Google Maps where it’s located. You can track all your Android devices via the drop-down menu.

Once you’ve found the rough geographic area of your phone, you’re presented with two options: Ring, which will let you locate your device if it’s in the vicinity or abandoned in a friend’s car, and Wipe Device, which will remove all information from your phone in the event that it’s been stolen.

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For the wipe feature to work, you first need to enable the feature on your device first. Go to the Google Settings app, select Android Device Manager, and make sure Allow Factory Reset is checked. It will confirm that you are allowing for your device to be wiped remotely, and once you’ve agreed, you’re good to go.

You don’t need to do anything in order to get access to this feature; if you’re running Android 2.2 or higher and have signed into the Android Device Manager page, you’re all set.

This functionality has been usable by iPhone, iPod and iPad users since ‘Find My Phone’ was announced three years ago. Like the Android Device Manager, you need to make sure Find My Phone is enabled, which will allow you to locate the device and wipe it remotely. Unlike Android Device Manager, there’s also the option of remotely locking the phone.

There have been third-party apps to perform this task on Android prior to the Android Device Manager, but this is the first time Google has officially offered this kind of security software.

Geek.com offers this video tutorial if you want to see first-hand how to set it up, and how it works:

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