Last Updated: August 8th, 2014

One last app came rolling in at the tail end of update Wednesday. This time, we've got a relatively small update to Android Device Manager, Google's answer for lost or stolen phones. The changelog hasn't been posted on the Play Store, but a quick teardown told us everything we needed to know. There's a new callback feature that makes contacting the owner a one-touch operation.

What's New

There's really only one new feature to talk about today, but it's pretty great. If you've lost your phone and you can get a friend to help secure it, you'll notice a new text field at the bottom of the remote locking screen. In addition to creating a lockscreen password and an optional message, you'll also have the option to add a phone number where you can be reached. When somebody turns on the screen of your phone, the lockscreen will display a bright green button that can be used to automatically dial the number you've entered. This will make it a lot easier for a good Samaritan to reach you and coordinate the return of your hardware. You can also set a callback number on the web interface.

2014-08-07 06.39.112014-08-07 06.22.572014-08-07 06.46.36

Left: old screen. Center: new screen. Right: Lockscreen with call button.


Android Device Manager on the web.

The callback feature is basically limited to phones, for the obvious reason. If you're locking up a tablet or another type of Android device, placing a phone number in the message field will have to be sufficient.

Possible Upcoming Feature: Hangouts?

While digging through some code, I came across a newly added folder named 'gtalkservice.' It only contained 4 classes named: ConnectionError, ConnectionState, GroupChatInvitation, and Presence. There aren't any resources connected to these classes, and the code isn't in use anywhere in the app, so it's clearly a work in progress.

There aren't very many explanations for having these particular classes, so we can assume Google will be adding Hangouts integration for some reason. Most likely, this would be used to allow a device owner and whoever currently holds the handset to initiate a conversation. In case it's not obvious, this would be useful if an owner doesn't have access to a second line to receive calls or isn't available when a call comes in.

Of course, this is just speculation based on a folder name and a few classes, so it's too early to be confident about anything. Google may have something entirely different planned.


File name: com.google.android.apps.adm-1.3.8.apk

Version: 1.3.8

MD5: 01814a41fbab96c33f59dbfd66d739c3

  1. AndroidFileHost mirror
  2. ZippyShare mirror
  3. MediaFire mirror
  4. MEGA mirror

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Ryan Steddy

    "For new readers, that's the name of the underlying It only contained 4 classes named: ConnectionError, ConnectionState, GroupChatInvitation, and Presence."

    Leave out a word or two there?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      All the facepalm are belong to me. I started to add something, then changed focus and forgot to finish the sentence.


  • WORPspeed

    Hangouts integration, so good samaritans who find a tablet can initiate a hangout with the owner to return said device ofc

    • EowynCarter

      needs wi-fi

      • WORPspeed

        LTE tablets then? Or maybe the place where you found it it has a connection ?

    • Ryan Callihan

      Edit: wrong thread. Where's a delete button when you need it?

  • Peter

    Hangouts got an update too today. Anyone got it?

    • Dave

      Yep, the last few days I even got two updates, the last one yesterday. Now my version is 2.1.317.

      • Peter

        Hoping it fixes the bug where sent pictures keep reappearing wanting to be resent

        • Ryan Callihan

          I resent that

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      We've got it, but I'm almost certain it's just a minor bug fix. Checking it right now.

      • Peter

        This could be it. Paving the way for interesting things.


      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        There are a couple of changes to the Danish translations and a couple of bug fixes to a network handler and GPS. It's an incredibly minor update. Just wait for it to roll out naturally.

        • n_a_v

          I've been waiting for those Danish translations forever. So stoked. Who needs voice integration or ability to send/receive texts on wifi tablets?

  • Mlibbey

    I think the green call button was there before this, I actually left my phone on the go train last week and Android device manager saved my LIFE! amazing little app. Wish I had location services on and it woulda been easier to track tho.. Damn battery hog..

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      I can't say that I've ever seen it before. What would the button do if you couldn't put a phone number in when you lock it?

      • Mlibbey

        when i went to the online version i was able to input my girlfriends number so whenever they clicked that button, it called my girlfriends number, thats how i thankfully got my phone back! I locked the phone from online, input my girlfriends number, and a message saying plz call and the green button and message was there when i got it back

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

          How long ago was this? The ability to enter a phone number from another Android device is definitely new, but it's possible the previous version supported it only through the web.

          • Mlibbey

            Sorry maybe I said something wrong and am completely wrong but i entered the number from my desktop, not another android device, that is likely new. I lost my phone last Tuesday night and then used this feature online last wednesday morning..so maybe web only

    • Roh_Mish

      It should be able to enable the GPS itself when needed.
      Just lost my Note 2 today.

      • Mlibbey

        for the life of me i couldnt find how! i got it back anyways but for future, how do you enable it?

        • Roh_Mish

          It cant. It was actually possible before 4.2 or something. Don't know why they removed it. (probably to stop apps from getting location without user consent. They should use apple style of asking user the first time app tries to ask for location)
          Few third party do it using device admin privileges. Don't know why ADM does not.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Google cares about us mortals

  • Nuno Guerreiro

    Can anyone help me?? Installed 1.3.8 version and I don't see neither, on my device or on the web device manager, any of those options that are displayed here...

    I can't anywhere see where to set a password, recovery message and phone number...
    I have only on the drop menu to rename my devices and almost nothing else...
    Does this is US or any other location only??

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

      When you open the app and log in, it pops you to the map view. From there, you can pick a device. At the bottom of the screen, there should be options to Ring, Lock, or Erase the device. You might also see "Setup Lock & Erase" if the device hasn't been set up to permit those options.

      If the selected device is a phone, tap on the "Lock" button, and you should see these options.

  • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

    Unfortunately we still have the loophole with an insecure Recovery (reset), insecure Fastboot/Download mode (wipe/re-flash all partitions), unless I'm missing something here?
    Also holding down the power button to put it in airplane mode, then shutting off the device + removing SIM, will render any tracking/software solutions useless especially if stolen or it's on a very low battery. Removing the battery is trivial once a thief is in a safe area and assuming he/she has a small wedge and torx/mini screw drivers, for "non-removable" batteries.

    Sometimes I feel like I should modify the battery so I can make it "unstable" with additional circuitry should the unlikely thief run away with my phone, so they can have fun with missing hands. lol

    • Ryan Stuckmaier

      This isn't really to prevent theft, it's to make it easier for an honest person to return the phone. If I find a locked phone, it's pretty hard for me to find the owner unless they have the information on the lock screen.

      By your argument any Nexus phone will always be vulnerable because even without an insecure recovery they can always flash the factory image.

      Also, you're assuming that the thief knows all the ins and outs of every phone. Most people to swipe phones to steal them aren't the brightest. If we assume genius thieves then you might as well assume they all have phone-size Faraday cages.

      • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

        Understanding security means you have to assume the reasonably worst case scenarios, which I've presented concisely and comprehensively. There is no, "my argument", they're vulnerabilities that exist for most/many android phones today.

        You're assuming that a thief may NOT be well versed with many smartphone models, but its not hard, all the resources are on XDA, and even if the thief is a knucklehead, they can be hired by or contract a person that "knows it all".

        Even I've been offered a "gig" to "unlock/hack" stolen devices including phones, and it was an offer in the most unprofessional/casual of settings. It's more common than you think, and doesn't require an organized professional league of thieves and hackers to do any of the aforementioned.

        Thus, I presented all the "easy" loopholes that still exist in android devices, despite the fact that ADM is effective in some, much less severe, situations.

        • Ryan Stuckmaier

          To quote myself: "This isn't really to prevent theft, it's to make it easier for an honest person to return the phone. If I find a locked phone, it's pretty hard for me to find the owner unless they have the information on the lock screen."

          This isn't about security. You know what they say though, when you're a hammer all your problems begin to look like nails.

          • BruceWillisThrowsACar@You

            To quote myself: "Thus, I presented all the "easy" loopholes that still exist in android devices, DESPITE THE FACT THAT ADM is effective in some, much less severe, situations."

            Which covers your quoted use case.
            Not to mention, to say that "this", "This isn't about security", is as far-fetched as stating Android is not about mobile device technology, or that it wasn't intended to be a camera OS. Quite a statement you make.

            Of course your proverb applies to anything and everything since your perspective/experiences/bias is yours, and likewise for me. It doesn't get advancement of technology anywhere thinking that way or throwing that proverb around. You have to challenge everything and improve it with "appropriate" (or biased if you insist) solutions that later on are super-ceded by even more solutions to correct it and it's deriving problems, abstracting away from the original problem. To find those solutions you can't be totally single minded if you want these solutions to succeed to some degree, so my post is merely a challenge to security as a whole, as it pertains to a lost/stolen device, in which ADM overlaps to a less effective degree.

      • Simon Belmont

        True. They can always flash the factory image on a Nexus phone.

        But, if the phone's bootloader isn't unlocked, and a thief tries to unlock it to flash a factory image, it will at least wipe your phone. I think Android L release is going to make stuff like this more robust with ADM.

  • TedPhillips

    so, do you need the client app to do this above-the-lockscreen calling part? or is it part of the ADM device admin app? the article implies you do.

    given two-factor, i haven't had a need for the client (config) app, would just use the web interface to trigger it.

  • Glich

    google also need to add the ability to add some sort of message to the encrypted log in screen is someone finds my phone dead even if they recharge it they have no way to get this message.