If you own an Android phone, and you’ve misplaced it, the chances are pretty good you’ll be able to locate your phone if you’ve planned ahead.
If you haven’t planned ahead yet, then this article is for you. You’ll learn about five different ways you can configure your phone and various accounts so that if you ever do misplace it, you’ll be able to find it again with just the click of a button.
1. Find My Device
If you have an Android phone, then you most likely have a Google account connected to it. Because of this, Google is well situated to find the location of your phone whenever you need.
This works exactly the way Find My iPhone works for iOS users. However, unlike iOS where the access point is iCloud, the easiest way for Android users is to use Google’s Find My Device service straight from Google Search.
Simply type “find my android” into Google, and Google will show a map with a pin on your phone location.
You do need to be signed in to Google on the computer where you’re doing the search for the location to display properly.
More features are available if you go to the Find My Device page.
There, not only will you see the phone location, but you can also have your phone ring for five minutes (this helps tremendously when you’ve lost it somewhere in your house).
You can also lock your phone and immediately erase the device. Remotely locking your phone is an important security action you should always take if you’ve discovered that your phone is in a location where your personal information might be vulnerable. If you suspect someone can access, or will access, your phone and there’s sensitive information on the phone, remotely erasing it may feel like a nuclear option, but it could save you a lot of headaches in the long run.
2. Find Your Android With Your Carrier
You don’t have to use Google to find your Android device. Another option is to go with whatever cellular carrier you get your service through.
The following services are touted as family security services, but you can just as easily use the service to find your own phone if it gets lost.
Verizon Family Locator
Verizon’s solution for locating phones is a service called Family Locator. Once you’ve signed up for the service, you just need to install the Verizon Family Locator app on each phone you want to track.
The app can be set up to give you SMS alerts whenever specific phones are leaving or arriving at a location (like school or work), and it can even provide parents with an estimated speed a teen driver is traveling when they’re driving.
Download: Verizon Family Locator (Free)
T-Mobile offers a similar service as Verizon, called FamilyWhere.
FamilyWhere lets you locate any phone on the plan, or automate the process by getting text notifications when they visit certain places. Family members can also “check in” to let each other know where they are at any given time.
If you’re signed up for the T-Mobile FamilyWhere service, you just have to install the app from Google Play.
Download: T-Mobile FamilyWhere (Free)
AT&T is keeping up with other providers by offering their own family tracking service called FamilyMap.
The features of this service mirror those of other cellular company offerings. You can see real-time locations on a map, get automatic SMS updates and alerts, and even see a log of locations visited.
It does feel a bit like a “big brother” way to run a family, but if you’re someone who’s lost their phone and needs to find it, having this app installed and running can be a real lifesaver.
You can download it from Google Play to find your Android — but make sure you install it before you lose your phone, otherwise you’re out of luck.
Download: AT&T FamilyMap (Free)
Sprint Family Locator
Sprint offers a service called Family Locator, which could just as easily be called “Sprint Phone Locator”.
Sprint’s app is one of the highest rated family locator apps on Google Play, compared to the other cellular providers.
With Sprint Family Locator you can set locations to receive “safety checks” when family members arrive there safely. You can also see where everyone is at once on a single map, and see a location history for every phone. And of course, if anyone in the family lost their phone, the app will show them where to find it.
As you can see, nearly every major cellular provider in the U.S. offers a phone location service of some kind that’ll help you find your Android device if you ever lose it.
Download: Sprint Family Locator (Free)
3. Use Your Smartwatch
While every smart watch is different, the concept is the same. You should have an app available on your watch called something like “Find My Phone”. This is what it looks like on my Gear S3 Frontier.
The app is very simple to use. On the Apple Watch, it’s called “pinging” your phone. On Samsung, it’s just a matter of pressing the green start button to ring your phone.
While your phone is ringing, you’ll see the status screen on the smart watch showing that it’s trying to make contact with your phone by sending the ringtone.
With the amount of times every week that I place my phone under a piece of paper or under some clothing in my bedroom, I’ve lost count how often I’ve used this feature. I no longer panic when I can’t immediately find my phone — I just call up this app on my smart watch and make my phone start calling out to me.
It’s a beautiful invention for absent-minded people.
4. Find My Android Apps
In addition to all of the tools described above that you have available for finding your lost Android, there are also a number of great apps available that you can install on your phone so you can use any web-connected computer or some other smartphone to find your misplaced phone. The following are a few of the best ones.
Find My Phone by SMS
If you’ve tried all of the above apps or services that ring your phone, but you’ve realized it’s not located anywhere inside the house, your next best option is using an app that will give you the current address or coordinates.
The Find My Phone by SMS app is a simple but effective concept. All you have to do is set up a special keyword that you can use to text your phone from any other phone, and receive the nearest street address of where your phone is located.
The reply SMS also includes a Google Maps image of the location where your phone is located.
Download: Find My Phone by SMS (Free) [No Longer Available]
Whistle & Find – Phone Finder
Another useful method for finding your phone if it’s located somewhere in your house is the Whistle & Find app. This app lets you walk through your house while whistling.
When you come within “hearing” distance from your phone, your phone will start ringing using the preconfigured ringtone you’ve set up in the app.
Some of the older reviews of these kinds of apps mention that background music or notification pings could set off the app. I tested this app using Spotify to play instrumental music with violins that sounded a lot like whistling, and it didn’t affect the app at all. It only responded to my whistling, and it worked every time.
You can enable the “clap” feature instead, if you prefer to locate your Android by clapping instead of whistling.
Download: Whistle & Find (Free)
Where’s My Droid
One app that is sort of a Swiss-Army knife of phone locator apps is Where’s My Droid. If you really want ultimate protection for your Android, this is the one to install.
Once you activate full admin permissions on your phone, you can remotely use this app to take pictures, trigger a ringtone, send an SMS with the phone location, and even enable a motion alarm.
Each feature has a configuration menu that you can use to tailor alerts and actions. For the purpose of this article, the area you’ll want to focus on so you can remotely check the location of your Android phone is the GPS setup page.
Make sure GPS location is enabled, and you may want to Enable GPS flare as well. This makes the phone send out an alert email to you if the phone is below a certain battery threshold. This is great in the situation where you haven’t realized your phone is missing yet, and the battery is low. At least you’ll receive an email with the last known location of the phone before the battery died.
Once you’ve enabled the GPS feature, you can visit the Where’s My Droid web page, log into your newly created account, and connect remotely to your phone.
From this website, you can see the location of your Android device on a map. You can also control the camera, lock or wipe the phone, or pull contacts and a call log from the phone as well.
If you want a full-featured app that does everything you need so you won’t ever lose your phone (permanently), this one is it.
Download: Where’s My Droid (Free)
Don’t Lose Your Android Phone!
Losing a phone is one of the most common reasons people have to buy a new phone. That can get expensive fast. Avoid the hassle and make sure you’ve set up some app or service listed above on your phone. Even if you never do actually lose your phone, at least it’ll give you some peace of mind.
Have you ever lost your Android phone? Did you have any apps like these installed and did it help? Share your experiences in the comments section below!