Phones have become such an important part of our daily lives that it can be immediately traumatic if you suddenly can’t find your phone – whether you left it in a taxi, accidentally dropped it out of your pocket or put it under your bed. If you have an Android phone, you can use the Find My Device feature to (hopefully) locate your phone.
Find My Device relies on enabling two things: the feature itself (of course) and Google’s location services. In addition, the phone must also be turned on and signed in to a Google account.
The Find My Device feature is part of the standard operating system on Pixels and several other Android phones and is usually enabled by default. Please note that some Android models may offer a different app; For example, Samsung phones have their own Find my mobile app.
If you want to use Find My Device from Google, you can check if it is part of the Android version of your phone.
- Go to Institutions † Security and search for Find my device†
- If the app is listed but turned off, tap it and use the switch to turn it on.
If you don’t have the Google app, but want to use it instead of the one your manufacturer installed, or if you want to use an Android tablet instead of a computer to find your phone or watch, go to the Play Store and install Google’s Find My Device App also.
Then you can check if Location is enabled:
- Go to your phone’s settings and search Place† It says right below the header if it’s on or off.
- When it’s off, tap on Place and enable it.
- You can also check which apps have access to your location and which ones have used it recently. To take this opportunity to fine-tune this setting, tap App location permission to adjust the location permission settings.
Find your phone
Now you’re done. If you can’t find your phone, just go to Google’s search page and type “Find my device.” You will get a list of the devices you have registered with Google; choose the one you want to find. Choose one.
You’ll be taken to the Find My Device page, where your phone will be given a name, the last time it was pinged (and the name of the Wi-Fi network being used), and its current battery power. A Google map shows where your phone was last.
Once you have found your device, there are three options that will be displayed on the left side of the screen. Which one you choose depends on whether you feel the device is in a safe place or not. You can:
- Let the device play a sound (usually the ringtone) for five minutes so you can locate it.
- Lock the device and sign out of your Google account so your data is safe while you pick it up (recommended if you left it in a taxi or restaurant, for example).
- Delete the device. This is for times when you are reasonably certain it has been stolen and cannot be retrieved; you won’t be able to find your device after that, but your content won’t be on it anymore.
Meanwhile, the phone shows a notification that it has been found.
Update March 15, 2022, 3:35 PM ET: This article was originally published on August 13, 2021 and has been updated to reflect changes in Android.