Google has improved its tracking service for lost and misplaced Android devices so that a handset can be shut down rather than completely erased when missing.
Usually a pioneer in all areas tech, Google and the Android community have been slow to address the growing problem of smartphone and tablet thefts and of how to protect or erase their contents. The smartphone in particular is so crucial to the typical consumer’s life that being without it for as little as a day can cause havoc.
And because they are used for everything from gaming to productivity and banking, their contents are usually immeasurably more valuable than the devices themselves – to both their owners and to cybercriminals.
In August, more than four years after Apple had already taken the initiative with its own service, Google launched Android Device Manager in order to address this growing problem. With the app installed, a lost or misplaced smartphone or tablet can be found on a map and the handset’s ringer remotely triggered to attract the attention of passersby. It also enables a worried owner to remotely wipe a device’s contents in the case of theft for better peace of mind.
However, completely wiping a phone is a big decision to make, especially if its contents aren’t backed up. Mindful of this, Google has now added a remote lock feature, which enables a user to reset locks and passcodes instead, perfect for those situations where an owner is not sure if it is gone forever or simply rather seriously misplaced.
But, don’t forget that the system needs to be activated in order to work. To do so go to the device’s settings menu and as long as the handset is running version 2.3 of Android or later, activate the system in the security window.