This post was edited by Iyengar at 14:04, Feb-02-2015 |
Calm Down!!!! you are here either you have lost phone or you want to keep yourself prepared for the apocalypse day. Oh man don't ask, do you know that adrenalin rush that slowly manifests itself in your body when you realize that something is not were it's supposed to be? The classic scenario is when my Mi3 Phone isn't in your pocket or laptop bag. I start slapping my pants where all the pockets are but... ah nothing!!!! Eventually, I find it below the paper stack or on the floor or sofa or any other place. My nerves calm down and I can go on with my day. The point is, what if I not that lucky and it's stolen or lost? I'm not talking crazy. We realize that there are such apps AFTER it got lost or stolen. How unfortunate if you ask me and accept the sour truth that the phone is gone for good.
Truth be told I'm not 100% satisfied with Android Device Manager, but rest assure this could also be a way to retrieve the device back. One the brighter side it's a bliss for MIUI ROM installers. One Mi Acct is all you need and you could head to "My XIAOMI Cloud Service" and with few clicks you might have your device located. There are a few ways to remote control and track your phone even if you haven't installed a recovery app before it vanished.
Let's have a look at the various ways to get your Android smartphone back!
- My device is still connected with my Google account.
- Device has access to the internet. Note: If the device is in Aeroplane mode or Switched Off this would not work.
- Allowed Android Device Manager a.k.a ADM to locate my device (although it's turned on by default).
- Allowed ADM to lock my device and erase its data remotely (turned off by default).
- ADM is a Google's official and easy-to-use tool to track my phone. Not to forget that I don't need to install an app to be able to track my devices unlike shown in Movies. James Bond anyone?
On the Phun side: Truth be told... I always wondered how to switch on other people smart mobile cam remotely and see what they look like. Well that's possible is it? I have seen this in some movies though.
Besides tracking, letting my phone ring and wiping phone data (which has to be enabled manually), ADM doesn't offer more options to remote control my phone. Hopefully, Google will work on that and offer more features, such as taking pictures in case it got stolen and I would like to know who took it. Not too much to ask eh?
In case there’s no laptop around when I lose my device, I can also use my friends Mi phone to track it. Instead of using the mobile browser, I can also use the ADM app. Head to Google Store HERE for a copy. All I have to do is sign in using the guest mode and add Google account credentials. Now I should be able to track lost device, let it ring or wipe its data. Reminder: If you device is in Off state or Aeroplan mode or without Internet connectivity, this would not yield results. In that case, simply keep trying to track it until it (hopefully) connects to Google’s services again.
In case it got stolen, it’s possible that the thief has disconnected my device from Google Account. If that happens, neither ADM nor any other tracking tool will be able to locate the device, since it’s necessary to be logged into Google Account. This doesn't apply to previously installed tracking apps but in this scenario there are none on the phone.
- Device connected with Google account.
- Device has access to the internet.
This could be a complicated way to track my phone. That being said, I need to install the tracking app 'Android Lost' on my phone and activate it by sending it an SMS (this can be done from any phone). The question is "How to install something when I don’t have my phone currently? Remember I have lost it already. No worries! that’s very easy. For starters I can install any app on all registered devices directly from browser through the Google Play website. Simply navigate to the Android Lost app and click the install button. Not rocket science eh?
The remote installation process of Android Lost is very straigh tforward and only requires that phone is still connected with Google account. However, in case of theft, I have to hope that the thief doesn't disconnect from Google account. That's a lot of if's and hope's.
And then the games begin:
Step 1: Install Android Lost remotely
Install the Android Lost app remotely via Google Play in browser and it will be installed on phone remotely. As already mentioned, the phone still needs to be connected to your Google account. Otherwise, this won’t work. Almost forgot!!! the device needs 2g/3g/4g data connection or WiFi.
Step 2: Activate Android LostHad the device still in my possession then all I need to do is starting the app. But in this case, obviously, probably not the case if I have lost the device. So, to register my device remotely, I have to send an SMS with the text “androidlost register” to my Mi3. This SMS can be sent from any phone. This will trigger Android Lost to register itself using my Google account credentials.
In cases like tablet, SMS might not be an option unless it's phablet. In those case, install "AndroidLost Jumpstart" before I install the actual Android Lost app. It will jump start the registration process when Android Lost is being installed.
Step 3: Log in to the Android Lost website
Visiting the Android Lost website and sign in using Google account. After doing that, I should have access to all remote control features such as the following:
Read the latest SMS on your phone
Force my phone to play a loud alarm with a flashing screen. Perfect!!!
Get the location of my device
Lock and unlock device
Wipe entire phone so no private data falls into the wrong hands.. The bank SMS's details
Erase the SD card
Use the camera to make pictures (front or rear camera) to get a nice shot of the nice person who took your device. etc
And then I present you "Plan B" another tool as the alternative to Android Lost
- Device is connected with Google account.
- Device has access to the internet.
As explained previously, if Android Lost is not working out for me, that would mean my "Plan A" did not suit the needs and if device is running legacy version of Android (2.0 up to 2.3) could have to give a try for "Plan B" from Lockout a try. I prefer installing the app directly from the store to the device and, if successful, Plan B will send my device's location to my Gmail address i have registered with. It will send mail(s) every 10 minutes with the current location. I can also use any other phone to send an SMS with "locate" to the device to get the location via email.
As already mentioned, Plan B only works with devices on Android 2.0-2.3, so it won’t work with most devices. Also, the app "hasn't been updated" in a while, so no guarantee that it will work to my needs. Never the less .. It was Plan B and I still have C, D, E, F.........
If you are reading this means you are still not able to get hold of the device yet. Time to take long breath and think whats best for this situation. I really trying my best as this would be my last resort to get my device back.
Once again if you have read my previous article; I had hinted on how Google keeps track of my location. Using Google Maps Location History to track my lost phone (even if it’s turned off) would perhaps yield results.
- Device connected with my Google account.
- Device has access to the internet.
- Location Reporting & Location History need to be activated on the device (can be done in the Google Settings app on your device).
Unlike ADM, I'm not just going to get the device location or the thief; but point to note is that the Location History feature of Google Maps doesn't focus on tracking down a lost phone. I can use my location data to for many different reasons such as looking up past travel routes. However, it is also a good way to locate your phone. You now know where the device or thief would typically work or sleep with long hours.
Nope, I'm not having a desire to be James Bond, but here’s what I need to do. I would simply go to the Google Maps Location History and make sure the current day is selected in the calendar. Clicking on “Show time stamps” below the calendar to see all the times my device’s location was registered. Now scroll down and select the latest time stamp to see the last available location. Tada...
Other than ADM, which also uses GPS for tracking, Location History only uses cell tower IDs and WiFi location detection to collect location data. This means that the accuracy can vary significantly. Well before that I wasn't sure i would get back my device isn't. Considering this isn't bad idea at all.
Worst Case; Let us assume I haven't lost my device but the power is completely discharged and have left it & have forgotten. Simply meaning it could be in my office or home or the pickup CAB.
So the question... how can this tool help? assuming my phone’s battery is empty? Well, before my phone died, Google "might" have saved its current location. That would mean I might be able to find it using the last reported position in location history. Not bad eh?
The advantage of Location History is the ability to track your phone’s location frequently over a period of time. If someone stole it, I could make out often visited places, which could be the thief’s home or workplace. That might help you and the authorities to catch the person. Although the success rate seems otherwise.
My friend @volcano619 have done a lot research and detailed out as how to use the Mi Cloud effectively to it's maximum capacity. I would have to repeate myself but you can refer to his thread HERE.
To sum it up
- Device connected with Mi Account
- Device has access to internet
- Find Phone toggle ON under Mi Cloud Settings
The only reason I'm debriefing MiCloud option in the end due to the fact that most of the device would not have MIUI Rom installed. I'm sure the Global ROM would be much faster if it could use Google API or Maps as I could not locate my device as I hoped so.
Closing Notes: Smartphones has gone much smart as days goes by, but it doesn't beat the most intelligent creature (US) of the planet blue. The system itself is designed by us and could beat it any time any day. How ever sophisticated devices we have, it all boils done to basic common sense. I could simply reset the device to factory settings or put turn on Aeroplane mode and perhaps with evil intentions try unlocking the welcome screen security to retrieve the user data.
If you are still reading this means, either you have completely lost almost all the hopes of retrival. I'm unable to bring you cheer back in your face but note that the government has issued various notices advising people to check the list of stolen mobile handsets on various websites before purchasing a pre-owned mobile phone.
As far as the lighthouse is concerned; if the IMEI number shared with local police department (if they care to help) and with help of your service provider they could check on the device location based on the pings with the mobile tower it contacts for connectivity. I wouldn't say far fetched.
I would be more than happy if you could spare some time to share your success stories had you lost your device and was able to get back with or without your data intact.
Please do share your