Have you lost your Android phone in the couch again? Well, actually, you probably don’t know where the heck he is – that’s what loses him. Truth be told, you’d probably prefer to call it “intentionally misdirected” if you get as many spam calls as I do or just prefer not to be constantly inundated with notifications. You know, there are ways to manage your digital life that are more effective, like Google’s Digital Wellbeing Dashboard or Do Not Disturb settings, but we’ll save that for another day.
Today I’m going to show you three very easy ways to locate your Pixel or any other Android phone without having physical access to it. So, without further ado, let’s see what you can do to bring your precious ring out into the dark place where it’s nestled as if calling for your rescue.
Of course, you can always opt to call yourself using someone else’s phone, but in today’s scenario, we’re going to assume that you don’t have access to another handset and you try to recover your device solo.
Just ask the Google Assistant
The first and probably the best way to perform a “Find my device” type function is to simply ask Google Assistant. Whether it’s your Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Audio, Chromebook, or any other Assistant-enabled device where you have the same Google Account that your phone is signed into, you can just say “Ok Google, where is my phone?”
As long as said phone is linked to your account – something that needs to be set up before this tutorial when you signed in to your Google account when purchasing it, you’ll immediately be told “Okay, I’ll call your phone”, and your handset will ring. This method tends to ring quietly if your device is on vibrate mode or the volume is turned down, so let’s try another method.
I just want the steps!
1. Tell Google Assistant “Hey Google, where is my phone”
2. Walk around the house to the sound of your device
3. It’s… literally that. Well, unless you need to dig a little deeper.
Use Google Find My Device
A more reliable approach to locating your phone is to use Google’s Find My Device app or site. Going this route has the added benefit of a visual interface, the ability to remotely lock your device, and even remotely wipe it if it falls into the wrong hands. Securing your device this way allows you to add a lock screen message for the intruder who may have picked it up like “Hey, you! Put my phone down, you creep! Either way , you should have a password, pattern, or biometric lock enabled on all your hardware, as it poses a serious security risk if you don’t.
To get “Google Find My Device”, simply search for it on the Google Play Store, or if you don’t want it taking up space on a low-end device, just visit its web app. To use it though, you’ll need to be signed in to your Google account, so if you’ve set up 2-step verification on your account – something Google forced recently with 150 million accounts, then you can’t sign in simply through the web browser without your phone present. Unfortunately, this puts you in a circular loop of necessity.
Assuming you’re good there, just visit the Find My Device website, log in, and select your lost phone from the top left menu. You can also locate lost Pixel Buds and smartwatches here. After a short while, it will focus on the location of your device using the built-in GPS, and you can choose the “Play Sound” option from the left menu.
Google will ring your phone for up to five minutes nonstop or until you physically find it and press the hardware volume button to mute. From what I’ve seen, this method makes your phone ring loudly even if you have it set to silent!
I just want the steps!
1. Visit Google’s Find My Device page
2. Select your Android phone
3. Select “Play sound” from the menu
4. Walk awkwardly to find your phone at the last place you thought to check
Configure Chrome OS Phone Hub
Finally, let’s talk about the new Chromebook Phone Hub feature that Google rolled out last year. This will provide you with the same “Play Sound” button from the Find My Device app or web app, but instead it’s built right into the bottom shelf of your Chromebook.
If you haven’t set this up yet and are trying to locate your phone in real time as you read this, I’m sorry – you’re out of luck. Luckily for you, one of the previous methods can work wonders when needed, but let’s continue with the assumption that you are proactive and responsible and try to prepare for this scenario on a good day.
First, go to your Chromebook’s Settings app. From there, just go to “Connected devices” in the left sidebar, then choose the “Configure” button in this section of the main window. From there, you just have to follow the on-screen steps, and before long your phone will be connected to your Chromebook and you’ll be able to take advantage of several great features.
In addition to Smart Lock (unlocking your Chromebook with your phone), you’ll also have access to Instant Hotspot and Google Messages on your laptop. More importantly, you will be connected to something called “Phone Hub”. This lets you access your phone’s capabilities from your Chromebook and in addition to seeing recently opened Chrome tabs and handset notifications, you’ll be able to ring your phone with just one tap.
Remember that this method only works if your phone and Chromebook are within Bluetooth range of each other and connected.this method is therefore ideal for finding a lost phone in your home or office, especially if you do not want to be inconvenienced by opening a website or application to do the deed.
Alright, here’s the fun part. Once you’ve set up Phone Hub, you’ll see it in the bottom right of your Chromebook shelf. See the picture below? There’s a cute little phone icon to the left of the clock – click it. Then click the “Find Phone” button and your Android phone will ring instantly at night (or day…or whatever time it is wherever you are). Click it again to stop the ringing, but you can also stop it by physically finding your phone and clicking the hardware volume button.
Since this method also uses Google’s “Find My Device”, you will receive sound through the phone’s speaker even if it is on silent. You will also receive a notification on your phone from Google Play Services that says “Find my device has located this device”.
I just want the steps!
1. Open the Settings app on your Chromebook
2. Click on “Connected devices” on the left
3. Click “Configure” under this section
4. Follow the on-screen steps to connect your phone to your Chromebook
5. Locate the telephone hub bottom right of your device’s shelf
6. Click the “Locate Phone” button
7. Unfortunately find your phone in the toilet
There are plenty of ways to find your phone, none of which require you to tape a tile to the back of it, but it’s best to form some habit so you don’t lose it in the first place. Since we’re all pretty much hand-attached to these devices these days, losing it is a rare occurrence for most of us (unless you’re my significant other…don’t tell him I I said that) but I hope these three methods have been helpful in educating you on your options.