Remember Android Device Manager? Google introduced the service back in 2013 to help you locate your phone and erase the device if it was stolen or cannot be found anymore.
It required that you enable the service on the device before you could use the web dashboard to track down the phone.
If you did not do that, you had no option to locate your phone using the device manager service.
Today, Google introduced a simpler option to locate your phone. All that you have to do is search for "find my phone" on Google to start the process.
Google asks you to sign in to your account or confirm your password before it starts to track your phone's location.
Once that is out of the way, it displays the current location of your phone on Google Maps right away.
There is one caveat though as this works only if certain features are enabled on the device.
First, the location service needs to be enabled. If that is not the case you get a device unavailable error message and cannot use the ring functionality as well.
Ring sends a command to the phone to play the ring time in maximum volume for five minutes. Great for location the device when you cannot find it. To make it stop press the power button on the phone.
Second, it only works if you are connected to the Internet. It does not matter if WiFi or mobile is enabled, as both work fine.
The location radius may improve after a short while. When I tested it, it showed a radius of 50 meters first and then a couple of seconds later a radius of 22 meters in which the device was detected.
If you compare the functionality to Android Device Manager you will notice that certain functionality is missing.
You cannot erase or lock the device for instance which you can do on the Device Manager dashboard.
The main advantage of using Google Search is that it works without Device Manager activation.
If you have enabled the feature however, you may want to use the dashboard instead as it provides you with additional options that you may find useful.
Find my phone is ideal for situations where you misplaced your phone and need to locate it quickly. If you happen to lose your phone often in your own apartment, this should work well for you provided that you keep the location service and at least one connection to the Internet enabled on the device at all time.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.