Easily Find Your Lost Phone with Google Chrome

Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 1.49.22 PMSmartphones are an ever-present part of our lives. For some, they are simply a mobile means to communicate. For others, they provide an additional connection to news and entertainment. My family believes my phone to be a natural extension of my hand since I am seldom without it. In fact, I feel a level of anxiety when without it. However, misplacing my phone is a common occurrence. While I occasionally leave my phone in various places around town, I am more apt to lose my phone in my own home or about the office. (You gotta triple pat! Phone. Wallet. Keys!)

Unfortunately, I am not alone. The Republic Support team averages more than 500 lost phone tickets each month. The first question asked is often, “How can I find my phone?” Until now, Android required users to download an app in preparation of a loss; of course, most users didn’t do so and were unprepared. Fortunately, this is no longer the case. Google has built this functionality into the latest version of the default Google app and additional apps are no longer required.

All you need is a computer with the Chrome browser, a Google account, Google Now and Location Services enabled on your phone. Here are the simple steps to find your phone:Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 1.51.28 PM

  1. Open Google Chrome Browser on your computer.
  2. Make sure you are logged into the same Google account as your phone.
  3. Navigate to Google.com.
  4. Enter search term; “Find my phone”.
  5. You may be asked to sign in again.
  6. You will then see a map with the options to Ring, Lock or Erase the phone.

Here are Google’s Instructions. Happy hunting!

Bonus Round: A few other things neat things you can do within Chrome

Send directions to my phone:
Send a map from your computer to your phone by entering the search term, “Send directions to my phone”.

Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 1.57.35 PM

Send a note to my phone:
You can take a note on your computer and send it to your phone by entering the search term, “Send a note to my phone”.
Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 1.59.07 PM

Set an alarm:
Set an alarm on your phone by entering the search term, “Set an alarm”.

Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 1.59.42 PM

Set a reminder:
Set a reminder on your phone by entering the search term, “Set a reminder”.

Screenshot 2015-06-11 at 2.01.10 PM
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31 thoughts on “Easily Find Your Lost Phone with Google Chrome”

  1. Now there needs to be a Tab on each RW page linking to this article. If not we will have to continue to rely on the “More Like This” box, which has no sort function for date or current information.

  2. *The Chrome browser is not required for these features, they are built in to the google search website.

    1. I’d like to know too: Will the Google Android Find My Phone/Device Locator feature work on the $10 plans without a WiFi connection?? It’s nigh on useless if it doesn’t.

    2. No (doubted that it would and just confirmed by testing).

      The author should have mentioned this.

      Install and set up Sophos Mobile Security to do this over a 3G/4G connection. Works great.

    1. 9 freaking months and no one answered your question? Apparently you and I are the only two to ever have this problem, lucky us. Should we play the lottery?

  3. Has anyone thought about how this will work in the new world of MFA?

    For example, I have turned on MFA for my google account. Now, ideally, I will be able to use my own computer’s browser. And, ideally, the very moment I need this feature won’t also be the same moment that Google’s MFA decides it’s been more than “30 days” since my last MFA challenge.

    However, in the real world, what can go wrong will.

    So, at the very moment I need this feature I either won’t have access to my own browser OR the last time I was MFA-challenged was 31 days ago. In either case Google MFA will not let me log in, and will instead send me an MFA-challenge.

    But, like everyone, my MFA-factor IS my phone. So the challenge went to me LOST phone.

    Now what?

    Seems to me that Google needs to iterate on this idea and instead of requiring the user go through the traditional login workflow (which can require MFA), in this particular case it shouldn’t require being pre-logged-in but should challenge you for your credentials only.

      1. … as in, I have to plan ahead, print the 10 codes out and store them somewhere? Educate me, is this actually recommended practice? I honestly don’t know.

        1. A basic google search gives me this:

          Basics of backup codes

          If you lose your phones or otherwise can’t receive codes via SMS, voice call, or Google Authenticator, you can use backup codes to sign in. These codes are available on your Accounts overview page and were first offered to you at the end of the 2-Step Verification setup. You can also use these codes to sign in if you don’t have your Security Key.

          The codes come in sets of 10, and you can generate a new set at any point, automatically making the old set inactive. In addition, after you’ve used a backup code to sign in, it will become inactive.

          We recommend you store your codes wherever you keep your other valuable items. Like the codes on your phone, backup codes are only valuable to someone if they manage to also steal your password.

          Creating and viewing a set of backup codes

          To create a new set of backup codes:

          Sign in to your accounts at https://www.google.com/accounts/SmsAuthConfig.

          Look for the “Printable backup codes” area.

          Click Show/Generate codes.

          If you are fine using the current set of backup codes, you can print or download them. If you believe this set of codes might have been stolen or you’ve used many of the backup codes, you can generate a new set by clicking Generate new codes.

          more at: https://support.google.com/accounts/answer/1187538?hl=en

          1. LOL. Good answer, yes I was being lazy — sort of.

            The other part of it is not what some formal doc says — but what aware-minded people are actually doing. For example, we’re also supposed to generate random, long, unique passwords and not write them down. But of course we do write them down, we just happen to store them in a vault protected by a single complex password.

            So that’s more what I was going for.

            So the question is… do YOU actually print out these keys… and if so, where do YOU store them? In a home safe, in your wallet, your dresser… ???

            And unless you store them on your person somehow… it’s not so helpful should you lose your phone… even assuming I’m only 30min away from home, that still represents a large window of time where I might lose my phone indefinitely. If the idea is to get the phone back before it wanders off forever, I need to be able to log in and access that feature with the shortest time-delay possible. So that goes back to the real root of my question… are we saying we should store the keys on our person somehow?

          2. Yes, I know where my backup codes are. No, I’m not stating that answer publicly. 🙂

            Figure out a solution that works for you. Just like: if your phone’s battery dies… there is a reason why backup codes exist. Become familiar with them.

          3. Fair enough. I appreciate the dialog. Though I have to say, I think it is a bit over-paranoid to not discuss this subject as if you were disclosing where your gold and guns are, or that you keep your password on a piece of paper stored under your keyboard… unless of course your codes are taped beneath your keyboard in your office… yikes, I hope they aren’t THAT insecure!


            Have a great day!

  4. Does Google Play Services have to be loaded on the phone? I have a Moto XT557 and the Google Android Device Mgr used to work – even on Firefox – but now it says I have no active devices.

  5. This does not work with the $10/month plan. I remember losing my Moto X(1st gen.) and trying to use this feature. I tried to go in through my account to see if I could change my phone plan online just to temporarily give it internet access to make it findable. If RW allowed me to(at least)do that, I think I would’ve been much happier at the time.

    I did end up finding the phone with the screen smashed, but… oh well.

  6. If I type “find my phone” I get a bunch of links about finding iphones, if I add find my android phone, then I get a link that will find my motox, but I don’t get the boxes shown above. Do I need to change a setting somewhere to enable this feature? Same thing for the other “send to phone” options listed above.

  7. If I type “find my phone” I get a bunch of links about finding iphones, if I add find my android phone, then I get a link that will find my motox, but I don’t get the boxes shown above. Do I need to change a setting somewhere to enable this feature? Same thing for the other “send to phone” options listed above.

  8. I’m trying to locate my OTHER phone, a Moto X, that someone else uses and which ISN’T linked to an email account. It’s lost, presumably not stolen, and I’d like to get it to ring. Problem is, it may be turned off, and calls to it go immediately to voicemail, so I think it isn’t ringing. I can locate one of my phones (in my shirt pocket), but not the lost phone.

  9. Use the Lookout app (free through both Google store and Amazon app store). With a free account, it will use wifi to locate your phone, allow it to send out a loud sound if it is lost in your house, and track it online with a map. The wifi tracking is not as accurate as cell, but it works well enough if you just misplaced it. Also, it is a free phone antivirus. If you pay for a monthly fee, you can also get it to lock your phone remotely if it is stolen and upload your pics to a cloud storage for retrieval even if your phone is stolen.

  10. doesn’t work if you don’t have wifi or data on – not sure about $10 plan away from wifi (likely not) – wish it would fall back to SMS in those cases like some better 3rd party app (you have to buy and install up front). Also ideally right before turning off phone/dying it would send a location ping you could retrieve later. Why hasn’t Android built that ?

  11. I’m pretty sure my phone is at school, but it says on Google that it’s unavailable to locate. What does that mean?

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