How to configure the new Android Device Manager on your phone

Martin Brinkmann
Aug 8, 2013
Updated • Aug 8, 2013
Apps, Google Android

When you lose your phone, you may be in a world of trouble. This is especially the case if it gets stolen and you have not taken the right precautions to protect your data from access, for instance through the use of encryption.

Even if you have only misplaced it, you may run into issues locating your Android phone.

Remote access software can help you out in both cases, either by locating your phone or by erasing all data on it so that a thief cannot access the data and do even more harm.

Up until now, you had to rely on third party apps like Plan B for that. Google recently announced the launch of the Android Device Manager. It is a free built-in service that provides you with basic remote access capabilities, provided that your phone is supported by the feature.

My Samsung Galaxy Note II was updated yesterday, and I'd like to take the opportunity to provide you with a guide that explains how you can set it all up.

Android Device Manager

The first thing you may want to do is check on your phone whether the feature is available or not.

  1. To do so, open the Settings and switch to the security menu there.
  2. Locate Device administration here and tap on Device administrators.
  3. If you see Android Device Manager, you know that the remote access feature is available on your device.
  4. Tap the box to enable the feature.
  5. This opens a permissions dialog that you need to accept by clicking on activate.

android device manager device manager activation

Now that you have activated the Android Device Manager on your phone or tablet, it is time to head over to the admin interface on the web to make use of it.

You need to sign in to your Google account that is linked to the Android device first, and will receive a maps overlay afterwards.  It lists the following information and options:

  1. The phone's current location. This did not really work for me, even after I have enabled GPS on the phone.
  2. Ring the device for five minutes at full volume. To stop that from happening, press the power button.
  3. Erase Device to perform a factory reset which will delete data on the phone without warning.

android device manager admin interface

I suggest you bookmark the web page so that you can access it immediately when the need arises.


Android Device Manager is not offering as much functionality as third party solutions as Android Lost (yet) but it is natively built-in. If all you need is the ability to erase the device's data, to locate it, or ring it, then there is no need to select a third party app for remote access functionality. If you want more, then you need to look elsewhere as it is rather basic.


As Marco pointed out, if you are running Android 4.1 or newer, you need to enable location access under Google Settings > Location > Access location.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. bruh said on August 18, 2023 at 1:25 pm

    Uhh, this has already been possible – I am not sure how but remember my brother telling me about it. I’m not a whatsapp user so not sure of the specifics, but something about sending the image as a file and somehow bypassing the default compression settings that are applied to inbound photos.

    He has also used this to share movies to whatsapp groups, and files 1Gb+.

    Like I said, I never used whatsapp, but I know 100% this isn’t a “brand new feature”, my brother literally showed me him doing it, like… 5 months ago?

  2. 💥 said on August 18, 2023 at 3:55 pm

    Martin, what happened to those: 12 Comments ( Is there a specific justifiable reason why they were deleted?

    Hmm, it looks like the gHacks website database is faulty, and not populating threads with their relevant cosponsoring posts.

  3. 45 RPM said on August 19, 2023 at 6:29 pm

    The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk that it’s about to be deleted from my ‘daily reads’.

    It’s really like “Press Release as re-written by some d*ck for clicks…poorly.” And the subjects are laughable. Can’t wait for “How to search for files on Windows”.

    1. owl said on August 20, 2023 at 12:51 am

      > The page on ghacks this is on represents the best of why it has become so worthless, fill of click-bait junk…

      Sadly, I have to agree.

      Only Martin and Ashwin are worth subscribing to.
      Especially Emre Çitak and Shaun are the worst ones.

      If intended “Clickbait”, it would mark the end of Ghacks Technology News.
      Ghacks doesn’t need crappy clickbaits. Clearly separate articles from newer authors (perhaps AIs and external sales person or external advertising man) as just “Advertisements”!

      We, the subscribers of Ghacks, urge Martin to make a decision.

  4. chessandonions said on August 20, 2023 at 12:40 am

    because nevermore wants to “monetize” on every aspect of human life…

  5. Frank Rizzo said on August 20, 2023 at 11:52 pm

    “Threads” is like the Walmart of Social Media.

  6. Ashray said on August 21, 2023 at 4:06 pm

    How hard can it be to clone a twitter version of that as well? They’re slow.

  7. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Yes, why not mention how large the HD files can be?
    Why, not mention what version of WhatsApp is needed?
    These omissions make the article feel so bare. If not complete.

    1. Paul(us) said on August 21, 2023 at 5:18 pm

      Sorry posted on the wrong page.

  8. Marc said on August 21, 2023 at 6:00 pm

    such a long article for such a simple matter. Worthless article ! waste of time

  9. plusminus_ said on August 21, 2023 at 7:54 pm

    I already do this by attaching them via the ‘Document’ option.

  10. John G. said on August 21, 2023 at 11:43 pm

    I don’t know what’s going on here at Ghacks but it’s obvious that something is broken, comments are being mixed whatever the article, I am unable to find some of my later posts neither. :S

  11. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Quoting the article,
    “As users gain popularity, the value of their tokens may increase, allowing investors to reap rewards.”

    Besides, beyond the thrill and privacy risks or not, the point is to know how you gain popularity, be it on social sites as everywhere in life. Is it by being authentic, by remaining faithful to ourselves or is it to have this particular skill which is to understand what a majority likes, just like politicians, those who’d deny to the maximum extent compatible with their ideological partnership, in order to grab as many of the voters they can?

    I see the very concept of this as unhealthy, propagating what is already an increasing flaw : the quest for fame. I won’t be the only one to count himself out, definitely.

    1. Tom Hawack said on August 23, 2023 at 2:34 pm

      @John G. is right : my comment was posted on [] and it appears there but as well here at []

      This has been lasting for several days. Fix it or at least provide some explanations if you don’t mind.

  12. Tom said on August 24, 2023 at 11:53 am

    > Google Chrome is following in Safari’s footsteps by introducing a new feature that allows users to move the Chrome address bar to the bottom of the screen, enhancing user accessibility and interaction.

    Firefox did this long before Safari.

  13. Mavoy said on September 16, 2023 at 2:17 pm

    Basically they’ll do anything except fair royalties.

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