Some apps will still track you and store time-stamped location data from your devices. Finding that setting isn't easy.
I've never considered the non-phone approach, but both you and Mike bring up some excellent non-PDA uses. Many Bonnier websites include community features, such as online forums and message boards. This was offered by Google to make it convenient for users to locate Android devices. Here are the best find my phone apps and other find my phone methods too! If you use Google Pay for mobile payments, locking your phone will prevent anyone from using your phone to make a purchase.
At all. Sign in to your Google account on a browser on iOS or your desktop, or through the Android settings menu.
In fact, the setting sits right above the Location History option, suggesting at a glance that the two things are quite distinct. For example, you may stop seeing more relevant search results or recommendations about places you care about.
Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session. I really think that the FTC needs to investigate right away.
Google told the AP that it provides "clear descriptions of these tools," but it takes eight taps on an Android phone—if you know exactly where you're going—to even access that description to begin with. As the AP notes, most people who explicitly turned off their Location History tracking, as WIRED and many other privacy conscious publications have advised people to do, would have assumed they had already taken all steps necessary to keep their location private.
As well they should. Google itself offers at least three support pages on location: Manage or delete your Location History , Turn location on or off for your Android device , and Manage location settings for Android apps.
In spite of this, a Google spokesperson told WIRED that "we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like perform a Google search or use Google for driving directions. Shankari in a blog post that first alerted the AP to the problem.
Beyond creepiness, though, Google's location-tracking may also violate the Federal Trade Commission's consumer protection statutes against deceptive privacy practices. I really think that the FTC needs to investigate right away," says Butler.
In , the agency famously settled with Facebook over the social media giant's inability to keep privacy promises to consumers. As part of that deal, Facebook agreed to a consent decree in which it promised to reform how it tracked and shared user data.
That decree has been in the news lately, after the FTC opened a new investigation this spring into whether Facebook's data sharing with Cambridge Analytica violated its settlement. The FTC has more recently penalized Uber, Vizio, the phone maker Blu, and many others for misleading customers about how their data was collected, stored, and shared. Former FTC chief technologist Ashkan Soltani noted in a tweet that Google's "confusing privacy dialogue" may merit a closer look from the agency.
The revelations are likely to touch off a firestorm for Google.
For now, the best thing you can do is navigate through your labyrinthine settings, and hit "pause" on something you likely thought you'd already stopped. Hopefully this time, it'll find your device.
But you might need go to certain lengths to find your handset. The first option is Play Sound, which will make your device play a shrill sound for up to 5 minutes.
If someone's near your phone, this will alert them to the fact you're looking for it, so hopefully they can help you out. To aid the communication is 'Secure Device'.
This lets you lock your handset and sign out of your Google Account. You can also leave a message to someone who finds the phone, including leaving a phone number to a friend or relative so the rescuer can contact you. Sometimes you might need to take the nuclear option though, if you have an inkling you won't get your phone back.
Erase Device totally wipes everything from your handset, including logging out of your Google account, so if you click this there's no going back — it's an irreversible option. Only do this if you know there's no hope of getting your phone back. Back to School Image credit: Google. How to track your Android phone The first thing you'll want to do is head over to Find My Device , Google's tracker website — either search it in Google, or simply click the link above to get there.