Find My Android Devices

By Patrick Baker ~

Last month, we discussed locating a misplaced, lost, or stolen iPhone, iPad, or MacBook. This month’s column focuses on how to find missing Android smartphones and tablets.

There are several versions of the Android operating system on smartphones and tablets. Device makers frequently take the “stock” version of Android (made by Google), apply their look and feel, and often load their own apps.

Most Android devices require a Google account to utilize Google’s apps and services. Google’s Find My Device app allows you to locate your Android smartphone or tablet and remotely lock or erase it. Let’s review the requirements for using this essential feature.

What You’ll Need

To use Find My Device, your device must be (or have):

  1. Updated to the latest version of Android (version 8.0 or higher required).
  2. Powered on.
  3. Signed in to a Google account.
  4. Connected to the internet using mobile data or Wi-Fi
  5. Find My Device service enabled in device settings.
  6. Location Services turned on in device settings.
  7. Device visibility enabled on Google Play.

Enable Find My Device in Settings

To enable Find My Device:

  1. Open Settings on your device
  2. Tap Security
  3. Tap Find My Device
  4. Tap the switch to enable Find My Device

Note: navigating to Find My Device in Settings may be different for your version of Android. You may need to tap Security & location or Google and Security to access it.

Enable Location Services

To enable Location Services:

  1. Open Settings on your device
  2. Tap Location
  3. Tap the switch to enable Location

Enable Device Visibility on Google Play

To make your device visible on Google Play:

  1. Go to
  2. Scroll to My Devices
  3. Check the box for Show in menus under the Visibility column.

Verify You Can Find Your Device

  1. Go to
  2. If you have more than one device, select your device at the top of the screen.

You can also install the Find My Device app on another Android device that you can use to find your smartphone or tablet.

Enable 2-Step Verification Backups

If you use 2-step verification on your Google account, you’ll need to set up at least one backup method for utilizing Find My Device: a backup phone or a backup code. This step is only required for Google accounts using 2-step verification.

Find, Lock, or Erase Your Android Device

After you have prepared your device and Google account, you may use a web browser or another Android device to: 

  • See your device’s location on a map
  • Remotely play a sound on your device
  • Remotely lock your device
  • Remotely erase your device

For the extended version of this article, please visit

Patrick Baker is an IT consultant and the founder of Prime of Life Tech. To learn more about his services, visit, email, or call (720) 319-7145.

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