Google just dropped a bomb on the official Android blog moments ago: Android Device Manager, a tool to help locate your lost phone. It's simple - you can track your phone from a web interface (or the official Android app!), and then ring or wipe it. Simple? Yes. Absolutely something we've all wanted since, I don't know, ever on Android as a standard feature? Duh.


Android device manager will be part of - you guessed it - Google Play [Services]. Google says the feature will be available "later this month," and the fact that it's compatible with Android 2.2 or higher would seem to indicate this is going to be widely available. Let's hope so.

Official Android Blog

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • redsmith

    I must be dreaming...

  • Kcls

    Aw yiss. We've been waiting forever for this!

    Edit: I wonder if it'll be as good as Cerberus. I highly doubt it.

  • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

    And I recently lost my phone!
    They should include remote bricking capabilities, or at least IMEI-Play Store blocking. Mexican Carriers won't block phones that aren't purchased in Mexico, and the authorities won't do anything about not-Mexican phones, so my US Galaxy Nexus is still operational on some jerk's hands. >_>

    • Dee

      he thanks you for it everyday:)

    • RitishOemraw

      thank you

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

    A bombshell indeed. Though I look at it as more of a backup until it's as powerful as something like avast. Still, default built-in protection is fantastic.

    • kindrudekid

      but in what manner?

      like do you need to be logged in, will it still work if say someone wipes it and uses it?

      i like how cerberus works, it works based off on your IEME, so even if someone flashes a new image, and later installs cerberus it will be linked to my account and still track it and the new user wont be able to load the stolen phone into his account.

      • Naga Sridhar

        you mean, IMEI?

      • Thomas

        That's what i would like to know as well, the first thing i would care about if I knew my phone was stolen would be to actually wipe the device, but I would also like to track the device afterwards.

      • QwietStorm

        Do you know how to re-enable the visual app listing in Cerberus after you've made it invisible?

    • Matthew Fry

      Hopefully, it adds currently root required functionality without needing root.

    • Sean Donovan

      i personally have been using wheres my droid since i started using android ( cupcake era ) i am real excited for this and also is a constant reminder that android will be building into itself features that required 3rd party apps..

  • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/ron-amadeo/ Ron Amadeo

    Whaaat, that means a new Play Services APK. Gimme gimme gimme.

    • Danny Holyoake

      GET TO WORK *cracks whip*

    • MrJamesBrown

      This just means more people will be bitchin' about the size of the APK

      • http://jamieellis.co.cc/ Jamie Ellis

        With now an Google Play Games App on Android devices they could perhaps export all (or most) code referring to Play Games within Play Services in later releases of both Apps!

    • Sean Donovan


    • Paul_Werner

      I'm hoping that you or someone else at AP does a side by side of this and Cerberus. Doubt there would be more features than Cerberus but it would be nice to see. Glad I got it when they had the free promotion

      • fonix232

        Depends. If Google matches this against the serial number/IMEI of the phone, as long as there's a ROM on the device with the Google framework (and seriously, who uses Android without the Google stuff?), it *should* work. So it cannot be erased like Cerberus.

  • Nasko Hristov


  • Abhijeet Mishra

    And, once again Google proves the merits of detaching such features from the system and putting them into apps. Middle finger to everyone who keeps shouting out about the fragmentation issue (which does exist, but is being mitigated nicely).

    • ddpacino

      They made a trojan app (Play Services) to take their OS back LOL

      • ProductFRED

        Trojan app? Really?


        • ddpacino

          Joke... notice the 'LOL'??

          • ProductFRED

            That doesn't denote sarcasm. Several trolls usually end their sentences with "LOL." "/s" is the official internet symbol for sarcasm.

          • Thatguyfromvienna

            Good sarcasm never needs a symbol to denote it.

          • ynksbsbll2


          • ProductFRED

            Well then I guess it wasn't good sarcasm.

          • shonangreg

            Poe and his law disagree with that assertion: http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Poe%27s_Law


            Good sarcasm never needs a symbol to denote it.

          • the_banned_one_returns

            Is there a Sense of Humor available on the Play Store?

          • mechapathy

            It's not available for everyone yet. Fucking staged rollouts.

    • Floss

      This also takes the power back from companies like Amazon and Samsung as they can't hope to compete with the full suite of services offered by Google.

      • Thomas’

        Well, except that "find my phone" features are already preinstalled on Samsung's phones.

        • Floss

          Hence the word "full"

  • mynamedoesnotfi

    Hope it gets a root feature, so it can't be removed immediately.

    • http://about.me/sarmedsiddique Sarmed Siddique

      Lol i dont think thats happening

  • Humberto Hernandez

    Ehhh.. i have cerberus... =/ Eh well....

  • amels802

    Interesting... I'm wondering if this was the reason why they removed remote uninstall of apps with the recent major Play Store website update.

    • unhappybirthday

      If they made the Play Services app a Device Administrator, it could not be uninstalled remotely...

      • amels802

        Yeah I get that. I'm now thinking (hoping) the ability to remotely uninstall apps from the website may come back with this Device Manager.

  • Brett Besa

    Sweet. Will look forward to getting.

  • yahyoh
    • Neil Ross Goco

      Hehe, this isn't Verge. :-P

  • Neil Ross Goco

    No thanks! Cerberus has waaaay more chance of retrieving a lost or stolen phone than this (wipe survival, mugshots, and many moooore advanced features). But still, nice to finally have it.

    P.S. I actually got my stolen HTC Butterfly using Cerberus. Hence, I being so enthusiastic about it.

    • http://k3rnel.net Juan Rodriguez

      Cerberus failed me though. I got the owner's SIM number but it didn't give me the phone number and then I lost track of the phone entirely. :-/

      • Neil Ross Goco

        That happens sometimes. Happened on my lost (until now) Note 10.1. It's been 6 months already since I lost it and Cerberus still sends me update about it because every now and then, the SIM card is replaced (perhaps sold and sold again?).

        I gave up on getting it back though, because it is currently about 90kms away now from me.

        • sheesh

          How many phones do you lose on an average ?

          • Matthew Fry

            Well... In his defense, it was a phone and a tablet.

          • Neil Ross Goco

            LOL. The HTC is just my second.

  • TY

    Avast or Cerberus. Which is better?

    • ddpacino

      Cerberus. Tried Phone Locator Pro, but hated how it forces to lock my screen immediately.

  • NuLLnVoiD

    The blog article said it would be available "later this month". So ' hang on to your butts'.

  • http://www.ScienceProUSA.com SciencePro

    This is an awesome example of how Google can now roll out new features to Android users without actually updating the OS. Making this part of Play Services is awesome.

  • Huton Gergö

    O yeah :D i am going now on vacation so i hope that google relese it asap :D

  • http://silverfang77.tumblr.com/ Silver Fang

    A fine idea. Will this be made available in the Play Store or pushed as a system update?

    • Adrian Zugaj

      Neither, it'll be pushed via Google Play Services

    • CoreRooted

      According to the article, there will be an app for it.

  • Huton Gergö

    I see that on web it was updated today, so whats the last version nr?

  • selonmoi

    Interesting. It's an obviously lacking feature on Android, but third parties have filled the gap very nicely, indeed.

    I'm glad it'll be there for people who wouldn't know to look for something else, but I suspect it won't be as complete a solution as, say, Cerberus.

  • sivkai

    About time.

    However, besides the convenience of this being a native feature, can anyone tell me why I should switch from Cerberus to this?

    • Thatguyfromvienna

      That's what I love so much about Android - we always have alternatives and can choose what we want to use.

  • raindog469

    Loving the idea of remotely ringing my phone without having to find someone else's phone to call it. But I hope they provide a way to opt out of the ability to do a remote wipe, or if not, to opt out of this service altogether: http://www.wired.com/gadgetlab/2012/08/apple-amazon-mat-honan-hacking/

    Google's not immune to exploits.

  • MpowerSkills

    How would this work in Play? shouldn't it be in Maps?

    • Thomas’

      Except that it doesn't have anything to do with Maps?
      It's a Google service which reacts on incoming cloud to device messages. Which makes it a perfect candidate for Play Services, since it contains other services.

  • cabbiebot

    Very good. I use Cerberus, but will be pushing all my non-geek friends to enable this ASAP so they can enjoy the security and peace of mind of a free, from-Google solution. Well done, El Goog.

  • RitishOemraw

    A Google blog post with incorrect grammar? :o

    ".... find it, even it's been silenced......"

  • Mike

    Wow. It is about time Google

  • Simon Belmont

    Finally. Gotta love Google Play Services. Bringing new stuff to even Android versions of yore. Also yielding better battery life.

    I'm glad it will have a dedicated app. I could track my phone on my wife's phone, or vice versa.

  • http://www.bordersweather.co.uk/ Andy J

    I assume since it's signed by Google it will have more capabilities than standard NON rooted apps. It would be quite good if a factory reset rethinks the device back to the service using the IMEI or UID. Who knows if it will even be available outside the USA.......

  • Elias

    This is indeed very nice BUT someone can still reset or flash a stock firmware on your phone without ever needing your password. And I'd also really like to be notified when the guy who robs my phone swaps its SIM card so I could know his number, like they do with Prey Project.
    A thing I'd REALLY REALLY like to see is a bootloader/recovery which keeps your Google account information on itself and only erases it through a system reset - which should require your account password. Also, the bootloader itself should require a password to flash new firmware or even to turn on the phone.
    Shouldn't be extremely hard to modify current bootloaders/recoveries to do something like this. Please, dear devs?
    (Anyone aware of a way to request this feature on TWRP or CWM? Or should I suggest it to CM?)

  • Don Gemus

    Finally, a reason to upgrade Donut

  • enoch861

    So far so good, it looks like Apple is the one that's doing it right. At least the phone remains persistently locked through a reset. This? Doesn't seem like it..

  • http://about.me/sarmedsiddique Sarmed Siddique

    Aaaaaaaand its US only

  • mrjayviper

    finally! something I missed from iOS (i.e. built-in to the OS)! thanks google

  • Nick Tsiotinos

    And Android go from strength to strength....

  • epsiblivion

    Does this mean we can finally remove inactive devices from our list on the play store???!!!

  • kingGuru

    once you format your phone everything will get wiped off and even we have to give mail id first then all the apps backed up will get downloaded then how its gonna work

  • rabyunghwa

    what if the person who steals the phone removed the google play services apk? Here in china google play services framework is not even pre-installed.

  • rmeden

    They should call the feature longitude or something like that.

  • hyperbolic

    1. Does this mean that if someone would steal my device I would be able to locate it no matter which SIM card would be inserted ?
    2. What about deleting this service-the APK- is that possible ?
    3. If the thief will flash to a non stock ROM, would this service still be available ?