Android Device Manager is a security tool released last month, that allows Android users to remotely track and erase data from their Android smartphones or mobile device in case it gets lost, misplaced or stolen.
About a week ago, Android Police uncovered a new feature called remote device lock that allows users to remotely lock their devices with a new password. It is now live and automatically installed on all devices running Android 2.2+. It’s a very welcome addition because it gives users an extra option in keeping the data stored on their devices safe from prying eyes.
This new feature automatically overrides any existing screen locks – PIN, pattern, facial recognition, etc. In case the device isn’t connected to the Internet or is in Airplane Mode, the lock request will be activated as soon as the device is reconnected to the Internet. If the device gets found or returned to the owner, the user can use the new password to unlock the device.
Before you go and try it out, make sure that Android Device Manager is activated on your Google Settings app. After you’re done testing out the new feature, don’t forget to revert to the original password or security/lock method that you were using.
For those who haven’t enabled or activated Android Device Manager, here’s how to do it:
How to Enable Android Device Manager:
- Look for the Google Settings App on your Android device.
- Select Android Device Manager.
- Remote locator feature will be enabled by default.
- To enable Remote Factory Reset, make sure you put a check on this option.
- Activate the Android Device Manager device administrator.
How to Use Android Device Manager:
- Open your web browser to https://www.google.com/android/devicemanager and login with your Google account.
- If it asks you for permission to allow Android Device Manager to use location data, click “Accept“.
- Select the Android device that you want to track.
- Select what type of action you would like to perform.
- Ring – locate device by making it ring in full volume.
- Lock – setup a new password to lock the device.
- Erase Device (this can only be performed if you enabled “Remote Factory Reset”).
- Android devices can also be located via the map.
For testing purposes, I tried this out on my Nexus 7 and it worked perfectly. The Nexus 7 was on Airplane Mode and when it connected to the WiFi network, the new lock password was activated. If you haven’t activated this feature or Android Device Manager on your device, I strongly suggest that you do. It’s very easy and it only takes a few minutes of your time, plus it can save you a lot of problems or headaches in the future.
Although I’ve already installed and activated Android Device Manager on all my devices, I still use Cerberus because it provides more options such as taking automatic photo capture (device takes photos after a certain number of failed unlock attempts or when a Cerberus alarm or message is stopped), get device info (WiFi network device is currently connected, Phone number in SIM card, Mobile carrier/network & nearby WiFi networks), get location history, get call log, get SMS log, grab a screenshot, call phone, record audio, take video, etc.
I hope Google would add some of these features into Android Device Manager in future updates because it can help users have a better chance of tracking and retrieving their lost, misplaced or stolen devices. Also, if these features are built-in to the system, users won’t have to rely on third-party apps like Cerberus, Lookout or Avast.
Anyone tried the new remote device lock feature? What other features would you like to see added to future updates? What other security app do you use aside from Android Device Manager? Please share your thoughts.