15
Sep
gps

When Google launched the Android Device Manager in early August, I applauded the initiative because we finally got a much-needed security solution that was built into every Android devices that ships with Google's services. Rather, it was a good start, since the functionality was so limited: location, remote wipe, and alarm.

For the last two days, I've been digging around the new Google Play Services APK 3.2.64 that started rolling out to Android devices everywhere. If you remember, Google Play Services is the company's secret weapon to combat lack of device updates, as Google can push new functionality to everyone without the need for OS patches. Think of it as a collection of services and libraries that other apps can use.

Last time, such an update allowed us to detect the advent of the Android Device Manager four days early - the APK was detected around August 3rd while the Device Manager was launched on August 7th. This time, I suspect the same thing will happen, and we're on the verge of seeing a new much-needed feature: remote password changing and device locking.

After finding the changes in the APK, I switched my attention to the Android Device Manager's site and was able to dig up the messaging for the new functionality. Furthermore, I was able to roughly figure out the look for the new prompt. I'll start with that:

wm_9-15-2013-5-20-16-PM

This makes the Device Manager instantly 100% more useful. Before, if your device was stolen, all you could do was attempt to track it or wipe all the data - there was no middle ground. Remote locking with a new password is the missing command you can issue immediately, while attempting to figure out exactly what happened. It would suck to wipe your device and then find out that your significant other borrowed it, wouldn't it? But at the same time, it's an added peace of mind to have while scrambling to collect your thoughts.

Oh, and you won't have to do anything to the Device Administrator functionality since, as we saw when Android Device Manager was launched, it already requested access to remote device locking and password resets:

Screenshot_2013-08-03-12-47-26 Screenshot_2013-08-03-12-47-19

APK/Website teardown

Here are some instances of the new locking functionality in the APK and the website.

These strings gained the "lock" parts in Google Play Services 3.2.64:

<string name="mdm_reminder_notification_text">Set up remote lock and factory reset</string>
<string name="mdm_settings_wipe_title">Allow remote lock and factory reset</string>

Under MdmDispatcherService, we now have new code that fires the lockNow() and resetPassword() functions, as long as the new password satisfies the password policies on the device (min number of characters, symbols, numbers, upper case letters, etc). Otherwise, an error is returned and the minimum requirements listed so you can adjust the new password accordingly.

if(!((DevicePolicyManager)dpm).resetPassword(str, 0)) {
  // figure out what failed
} else {
  ((DevicePolicyManager)dpm).lockNow();
}

Some code from the website:

Yj="We could not lock your device. Please try again."
Zj="We successfully reset your password and locked your device."
ak="We successfully sent a lock request to your device."

df='<div class="password-req"><div class="req-preamble">Your new password was not strong enough.  Your device has the following password requirements:</div><ul class="password-req-list">'

ef='<div class="pwd-dialog-container"><div class="pwd-dialog-text">Your device will be locked with a new password. You should reset this password after your device is found. Do not reuse your Google Account password.</div><input class="dialog-input" id="pwd-dialog-in1" name="pwd-dialog-in1" type="password" placeholder="Enter new password"><input class="dialog-input" id="pwd-dialog-in2" name="pwd-dialog-in2" type="password" placeholder="Confirm password"><div id="pwd-error" style="display: none;"><div id="pwd-error-text"></div></div></div>'

I just love when all the pieces come together. I fully expect Google to announce and launch remote password changing and device locking as early as tomorrow or sometime later in the week.

APK Download

Google Play Services updates roll out silently, so chances are you already have this update. If you don't and want to download the new Google Play Services APK 3.2.64 (the previous version was 3.2.25), you can do so below:

Artem Russakovskii
Artem is a die-hard Android fan, passionate tech blogger, obsessive-compulsive editor, bug hunting programmer, and the founder of Android Police.
Most of the time, you will find Artem either hacking away at code or thinking of the next 15 blog posts.

  • n0th1ng_r3al

    Significant other borrowing my phone? That's grounds for divorce.

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

      How about a tablet?

      Or you forgot it at work, or there's a chance someone turned it into lost and found at an event, etc.

      (I know you were joking, just wanted to point these out.)

      • z0phi3l

        Oh nooooo, in my house phones are super personal, I touch only mine, and only others if someone forgets it like in the bathroom or kitchen and never try to see what's on them, even my tablet, there's another one that's sorta shred, but not mine, and everyone knows not to touch it

      • Give BootPass a Chance! ;)

        Still no usefull tool for (few of ;) us who do not wish to lock the screen, but would welcome the boot-up password. Usefull tool would then be:
        - Change the Boot pass
        - Turn the phone off

        • akshay7394

          That wouldn't be useful at all. If you turn the phone off you no longer have a way to track it.

          • Cosmic Force

            Yes, and the number of people who have tracked the phone to the thief and took it away is - what? 1, 5, 7? Anyway, less than 10, I'm sure ;>

            Anyway, is somebody forcing you to turn the phone off? No. But anyway you are against it - why? Well, people don't need a reason to shun the things tehy don't udnerstand or don't know how to use ;>

          • akshay7394

            Oh I'm not shunning anything, I'm pointing out a possible reason for not including the ability to turn off the phone. You'd suddenly see a bunch of complaints about how the ADM is useless as it's not tracking their phone. Why? Because they've gone and turned it off.

            Like i said, I'm not against the option or anything. Just that the majority of the world is unfortunately not always sensible.

  • Peter

    Has anyone managed to get Android Device Manager to work with the free Google Apps for Domains?

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

    With a bit of luck, my devices might actually be controllable after this update, currently a Nexus 4, Nexus 7, HTC One X and mk908 TV Stick all appear in Device Manager, all say "location unavailable" do not ring or remote wipe. Tried the clearing Play Services data advice, still not working.

    • imran khan

      Have you enabled Android drive manager in Setting>Security>Device Administrator?

    • Ricardo Brenelli

      If you click help on the Android Device Manager website they'll show you steps to make it work. Its a known bug, and to fix it you have to change some settings, clear data on the Google Play Service, change more settings and reset. After doing what the help file says it works!

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

        Have followed the help page, as I said I've done the whole clear play services data thing already - devices show up but are not controllable

        • Ricardo Brenelli

          Dunno then. I had the same problem, followed step by step the help page and now it works like a charm on my N4. Maybe the new play services will fix it. Good luck!

  • アドリアンタン郭華

    Is that watermark going to be the new Android Police Logo?

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

      I have no idea what you're talking about!

    • Daeshaun Griffiths

      I didn't even notice it.

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

        Notice what?

    • Krzysztof Jozwik

      What watermark?

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

        Exactly.

    • Wayne Randall

      Four Course meal:This Blog post :: Dessert:This thread.

    • Gabriel Gonçalves

      This is new webpage style? :P Look the favicon icon!
      http://www.androidpolice.com/wp-content/themes/ap2

      • Mobile Phones Fan

        What favicon icon?

        And I'm (partly) serious -- I'm still seeing the old, boxy icon.
        .

        • akshay7394

          I think he just photoshopped it to see how it would look

    • DeadSOL

      Wow! A teardown of a teardown! ;)

  • atlouiedog

    Cool. I hope they keep adding features until it's a bit more comparable with security apps from the store.

  • papernick

    piece of mind-->peace of mind

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

      Doh, I knew that. Fixed, thanks.

  • cabstrak

    I'm sorry but I've been meaning to ask this.

    Isn't the android device manager basically useless if someone stole your phone and set it on airplane mode (meaning no wifi connectivity or cellular data), turn it off or pretty much just reset factory details the moment the thief got hands on your phone (assuming the owner of the phone did not set any security locks such as password / pin / pattern)?

    Or am I missing something here?

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

      So pretty much the same as any other service then.

      • dextersgenius

        Not necessarily. You can setup Cerberus to survive a factory reset if your device is rooted.

        Of course, it won't survive if you flash a new ROM or restore a factory image, but that's beyond the capabilities of most petty thieves. Even then, it'll buy you some more time, hopefully enough for you to locate the device or gather more intel before someone figures out that a simple FR isn't enough.

        OP raised a good point; I hope Google implements this somehow.. perhaps they could record the IMEI number and check it during the activation, process, and if it's marked as stolen, alert the owner?

        • NathanDrago

          This is definitely something that needs to be done, especially for devices bought from the Play Store, which can be bind to the purchasing account at the moment of the order. In order to unlock them in case of a resell, it would be sufficient just to reinsert the password. I really do hope we'll see something like this in the near future. Google can't stop at a Play Services workaround.

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

          Right, it doesn't survive resets, but your arguments were turning off data and putting the phone into airplane mode. With those alone and then a full reflash, it would be no different. With a factory reset, yeah, Google's system is not as good and I don't think it will be in any near future. It is really nice to have it installed by default, but I'd still use a root-enhanced solution.

  • cdlq456

    If your battery is suddenly discharging faster, you should put an eye on this. The location services on android are a disaster, generating wakelocks constantly. I was driving myself crazy trying to figure the reason, then I tried disabling this and the location service, and now is like having a new phone, all those nasty wakelocks are gone.

    • Andy R

      Hi. I have an HTC Desire X with Google Play Services 3.2.25 & Play Store 4.3.11.
      I have big problems with location following (my phone won't update my position).
      I recently did a factory reset & now GMaps works OK but "Locations" doesn't work and my weather Apps don't update location either.
      I've read elsewhere the it's 3.2.25 that causes the problem.

      Q - does Play Services 3.2.64 solve these issues?

  • Bojan Gutic

    Dear lord, you guys are fast...

    Artem, you guys are doing a DAMN good job with this site!

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

      Fast? Nah, I sat on this for a few days, leisurely collecting evidence. Someone should probably fire my lazy ass.

  • http://lars-mueller.mobi/ Lars

    hello, i have installed the APK but on Website and Google Settings, the new funktion is not visible. except in the Settings..

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

      Of course it's not visible. Google has to enable it in ADM on the site first.

      • http://lars-mueller.mobi/ Lars

        Thx

  • mrjayviper

    i want Google to implement iOS7 new "anti-theft" feature

  • mrjayviper

    Google's staggered releases its getting old fast

  • admintweetsviewer

    You can use your own mobile device manager. Look for ownmdm at google and do not share your data with anybody.

  • G

    The major problem with this is that if your phone is encrypted, it renders this service useless. I hope someday Google can somehow addresses this issue as I'm sure most people use encryption on their devices.

    • mgamerz

      "Most Users"
      Please, most users don't even know where that setting would be.

  • Nevzat Akkaya

    It would be great if you could also post the newest Google Play Games APK. It's limited to many countries, I'd like to have the most recent version of it. Android Police posted only the first version of it's APK :(

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

      Here you go http://db.tt/hafYahLT.

      • Nevzat Akkaya

        Artem, you rock! many thanks!

  • mgamerz

    Does this fix the nlpwakelock bug? My galaxy nexus is crippled, its awake like 85% of the time it is on battery.

    • Simon Belmont

      Weird. No issues with my Galaxy Nexus and wake locks.

      If anything, the battery life has improved since I got Android 4.3. Just my experience.

      • mgamerz

        This is keeping my device awake 80% of the time cause of nlpwakelock by this framework :(

    • Tony Sarju

      I also see this wakelock bug on my GS3 running an AOSP ROM of Android 4.2.2. It's not keeping the device awake all the time but rather 1hr+ throughout the day.

  • http://www.binarytuberculosis.com BinaryTB

    All of this is redundant if you're already using Google Apps Device Policy, correct? If so, I don't need it installed or running. I wonder how much battery/wakelocks Android Device Manager uses since it's autoinstalled and enabled on every Android device.

  • shadowx360

    Hm, my play store build version is 4.3.11. Did I get an update quick or am I looking at the wrong thing? I'm looking under settings.

    • Pål Nilsen

      You should be looking at "Google Play Services", so you'll have to go to Apps/All under system settings.

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

      You're looking at the Play Store version. This post is about Google Play Services.

  • Jamma

    I don't see the option to lock or reset password when I login to google manager

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

      It's not live yet.

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

    And it's live.

  • http://wishu-blog.net/ Marco (Wishu) Kaiser

    On my HTC One, I have version 3.2.66 O_o

  • Melissa Luster

    has anybody ran into this problem I lost my phone so I used to buy smanager locked it with him with a password well two days later I found my phone

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