Remote Device Lock Finally Arrives on Android

Android Police has noticed that Google finally added the remote device lock feature to the Android Device Manager. Google's service actually began rolling out back in early August, offering Android device owners means to track their tablet or smartphone via GPS, and reset the device back to factory defaults if it cannot be recovered. Up until now, the ability to lock a device remotely was not available.

However Google's updated Android Device Manager web interface now includes a "Lock" button situated between the "Ring" and "Erase" buttons. After hitting this button, device owners are prompted to enter a new password that will be used to lock the device (don't reuse your Google Account password). After the password has been set, Android will ask for the password when the device is activated. This password will be the default method of unlocking the device until it's manually changed within Android's on-device Security settings.

As previously reported, Android devices with GPS turned on can be quickly located on a full-screen map within the web-based Android Device Manager. For locating the device in a nearby location such as within the house, users can simply hit the "Ring" button. Android will ring at full volume for 5 minutes – simply do it again if you hear the ring but still can't pinpoint the device.

For devices that cannot be recovered, the "Erase" feature performs a factory reset. Thus apps, photos, music and settings will be deleted. That also means Android Device Manager will not be able to track this specific device given that the Google Account will be wiped clean. Unfortunately, this method doesn't guarantee that all data will be wiped away from an installed SD card. If the device appears online, Google will perform the factory reset once it reappears.

"Android Device Manager doesn’t collect a location history or do background location reporting," the company states. "Your device’s approximate location is requested when you first sign in, and this location data is deleted when you sign out of the device manager. If the device is turned off or offline, Google is unable to report its location."

To make sure Android Device Manager is working on your Android devices, go into Google Settings and locate the Android Device Manager settings. Then make sure that both "Remotely locate this device" and "Allow remote lock and factory reset" options are checked. Android Device Manager is compatible with devices running Android 2.2 or above.

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  • heero yuy
    finally arrived? oh you mean built in :o
    I have had a remote lock system on my phone since just after I brought it
  • darkavenger123
    There's tons of such software available on Android market since forever. In fact, i recovered my SGS2 using Samsung Dive. I tracked down the thief and called the guy.
  • teh_chem
    Sadly regardless of whatever Google adds to Android, it's still a toss-up if a user gets the update since so many phone manufacturers are not fast to compose their own updates, then gives it to providers, and then it's a toss-up if a provider actually works on and pushes it to their devices (whether in a timely manner, or at all). I'm an android user, but I really don't like this problem. And no, I have zero interest in rooting my device and perpetually flashing whatever the newest allegedly stable release is.