Have you lost your Android phone in the couch again? Well, actually, you probably don’t know where the heck it is – that’s what makes it lost. Truth be told, you would probably prefer to call it “intentionally misplaced” if you get as many spam calls as I do or just prefer not to be constantly inundated with notifications. You know, there are methods for managing 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 simple methods for locating 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 make your precious ring out in the dark place it’s nestled as though it’s calling out to you for rescue.
Of course, you could always opt for just calling yourself using someone else’s phone, but in today’s scenario, we’re going to assume you don’t have access to another handset and are attempting to recover your device solo.
Just Ask Google Assistant
The first and probably the best way to perform a “Find My Device” type of function is to simply ask Google Assistant. Whether it be your Nest Mini, Nest Hub, Nest Audio, your Chromebook, or any other Assistant-enabled device that you have the same Google Account as your phone signed into, you can simply say “Hey Google, where’s my phone?”
So long as said phone is tied to your account – something that should be set up before this tutorial as you signed into your Google Account upon buying it, you’ll immediately be told “Okay, calling your phone”, and your handset will ring. This method does tend to ring silently though if your device is on vibrate or if the volume is turned down, so let’s check out another method.
I just want the steps!
1. Tell Google Assistant “Hey Google, where’s my phone”
2. Walk around the house toward the sound of your device
3. That’s…literally it. Well, unless you need to dig around a bit.
Use Google’s Find My Device
A more reliable approach to locating your phone is by using 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 to erase it from afar if it falls into the wrong hands. Securing your device this way lets you 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 passcode, pattern, or biometric lock enabled on all of your hardware because 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 to take up space on a lower-end device, then just visit its web application. In order to use it though, you’ll need to be signed in to your Google Account, so if you have 2-step verification set up on your account – something Google has been forcing lately with 150 million accounts, then you can’t just sign in through the web browser without your phone present. Sadly, this places you into a circular necessity loop.
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 as well. After a short moment, it will hone in on your device location using the built-in GPS, and you can choose the “Play Sound” option from the left-hand menu.
Google will ring your phone for up to five minutes nonstop or until you physically find it and press the volume hardware button to cancel out the sound. So far as I’ve seen, this method causes your phone to ring out loud even if you have it set to silent!
I just want the steps!
1. Visit Google’s Find My Device
2. Select your Android phone
3. Select “Play Sound” from the menu
4. Awkwardly walk around to find your phone in the last spot you ever thought to check
Set up Chrome OS Phone Hub
Lastly, let’s discuss the new Chromebook Phone Hub feature that Google rolled out this past year. This will provide you with the same “Play Sound” button from the Find My Device app or web app, but instead, it’s baked directly into your Chromebook’s bottom shelf.
If you’ve yet to set this up and you’re trying to locate your phone in real-time as you read this, I’m sorry – you’re out of luck. Fortunately for you, one of the previous methods may work wonders in your time of need, but let’s continue with the assumption that you’re being proactive and responsible and are trying to prepare for that scenario on a good day.
First, visit your Chromebook’s Settings app. From there, just go to “Connected devices” on the left-hand sidebar, and then choose the “Set up” button in that section in the main window. From there, you’ll just follow the steps on the screen, and before long, your phone will be connected to your Chromebook and you can benefit from several exciting features.
In addition to Smart Lock (Unlocking your Chromebook with your phone), you will also have access to instant tethering and Google Messages on your laptop. Most importantly, you’ll be connected to something called “Phone Hub”. This allows you to access your phone’s capabilities from your Chromebook and on top of seeing recently opened Chrome tabs and handset notifications, you’ll be able to make your phone ring with one click.
Please keep in mind that this method only works if your phone and Chromebook are within Bluetooth range of one another and are connected, so this method is ideal for finding a lost phone in your home or office, especially if you don’t want to be inconvenienced by opening a website or app to do the deed.
Alright, here’s the fun part. Once you’ve set up Phone Hub, you’ll see it on the bottom right of your Chromebook shelf. See the image below? There’s a cute little phone icon to the left of the time clock – click on that. Then, click the “Locate phone” button and your Android phone will instantly ring out into the night (or day…or whatever time it is wherever you are). Clicking it again will halt the ringer, but you can also stop it by finding your phone physically and clicking the hardware volume button.
Because this method also utilizes Google’s “Find My Device”, you will receive the sound through the phone speaker even if it’s on silent. You’ll also get a notification on your phone from Google Play Services that says “Find My Device located this device”.
I just want the steps!
1. Open the Settings app on your Chromebook
2. Click “Connected devices” on the left
3. Click “Set up” under that section
4. Follow the on screen steps to connect your phone to your Chromebook
5. Locate Phone Hub at the bottom right of your device shelf
6. Click the “Locate phone” button
7. Regrettably find your phone in the toilet
There are many ways to find your phone – none of which require you to duct tape a Tile to the back of it, but it’s better to create habits around not losing it in the first place. Since we’re all pretty much attached at the hand to these devices nowadays, losing it is a rare occurrence for most of us (unless you’re my significant other…don’t tell her I said that) but I hope these three methods were useful in helping educate you on your options.