Remotely Alarm & Wipe Your Device With Android Device Manager

Android-Security

There are many 3rd party applications that allow you to sound an alarm on your Android device, or even remotely wipe your device should it be lost or stolen. But now this feature is enabled natively by Android using the Android Device Manager.

The Android Device Manager gives you a Google Maps view of when your device last checked in, and if turned on, you can remotely sound a ringer on your device and even remotely wipe it. This is a great idea when you’ve lost your phone in a familiar place like at home or at work. The remote alarm will always work, even if your device is on silent.

Android Device Manager Map

How Do I Enable Android Device Manager?

If your device is running Android 2.2 or later then the remote alarm feature will be turned on by default, but if you want to turn on the remote wipe feature simply go into Google Settings from your apps menu and select Android Device Manager. From there you will be able to enable the remote wipe feature.

Obviously I haven’t tested the remote wipe feature as I don’t want to wipe my devices, but according to the Android Device Manager site, it will restore your device back to factory default. However, it doesn’t mention SD cards so I can only presume that these are left untouched.

So I’ve Lost My Phone. What Now?

The Android Device Manager is extremely simple to use. All devices associated with your Google account will be accessible from the Android Device Manager site. So all you need to do is logon to the Android Device Manager site with your Google account, and select the device you want to manager from the list. It will then automatically load that devices last known position on Google Maps. The best accuracy I’ve personally seen on this is 16 metres, but I’ve seen it as big as 700 metres. So the map isn’t really a tool to help you find your device, but rather to give you an idea of where it is. For example, at home, or at work, so you know where to start looking.

Once you’re in the vicinity of your device, you can click on the ring button to make your device ring at full volume for 5 minutes, or until the power button on the device is pressed. If your device is somewhere you don’t recognise, or if you think it has been stolen, then you can use the wipe button to remotely wipe your data from the phone.

It’s really great to see these kind of features coming to Android without having to resort to 3rd party apps. It’s already helped my girlfriend find her misplaced Galaxy S3, so there is a definite added value here.

But what do you guys think? Is this a great idea, or a security flaw that could be exploited? All you need to do is ask Mat Honan about how bad remote wipe services can be in the wrong hands. I’ll personally be using Android Device Manager.

Remotely Alarm & Wipe Your Device With Android Device Manager
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  • Jason Harman

    I’m never sure whether to post here or on G+ where I originally encounter your posts. It would be interesting if G+ enabled integration between the two.

    Anyway, my reason for posting is to ask whether you have an opinion on the pros/cons of the new Android Device Manager over a 3rd party app like Cerberus?

    • http://www.refugeeks.com/ Kev Quirk

      Hey Jason,

      I’m actually working with the developer of a comment system called “Comments Evolved” to integrate G+ Comments with RefuGeeks, but it’s not ready yet…soon though hopefully.

      With regards to your question, I wouldn’t say that one was necessarily better than the other, but I’d personally use the native one mainly because it’s very easy to use, it’s obviously native, and I don’t need yet another app clogging up my machine.

      Thanks for your comment! :-)

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