On Friday, Google addressed a longtime shortcoming of the Android platform – the lack of a built-in “lost phone” application, that would allow users to remotely manage, locate, block, or wipe their misplaced devices.
The new app, called Android Device Manager, has already begun to roll out to users, according to various reports on Reddit, XDA, and other forums. The functionality is part of Google Play Services, which means it will be automatically and silently added to all devices running Android 2.2 and higher.
To check if the new functionality hit your device, navigate to Settings > Security, where you should find a section called Device Administrators. There, you should see Android Device Manager and other similar apps that you may have installed, such as Cerberus or Lookout.
Several redditors posted screenshots of ADM, and the good news is the rollout reports come from all over the world, meaning that the app won’t be restricted to the US, as some have feared. If you can’t wait for the rollout, you can get the new Play Services APK file from this Android Police post, but note that there might be multiple Play Services .apk files floating around, so make sure to update through the official channel once the rollout is widely available. Also note that actually using ADM requires the web interface, which doesn’t appear to be public yet.
Android Device Manager lets users remotely locate, erase, or ring a lost or stolen Android device by logging in to a web app on their Google account. While this functionality has long been available on Android through third party apps such as Cerberus, it’s good to see Google making it available to all users, regardless of their tech savvy, and with minimal hassle.
As usual, the ADM rollout should take a few days or even a couple of weeks to reach your phone. As AOSP lead Jean Baptiste Queru recently detailed, rollouts initially start slow to allow developers to pinpoint and solve any potential issues before the new software hits a large number of devices.