Did you know that Android has a built-in mechanism for locating or locking your lost phone? Google hasn’t done the best job marketing it, but it’s actually been baked right in since the release of Android 4.4*.
(It works with older Android phones, too — you just have to install the free app yourself)
Today that feature gets even better, thanks to the addition of a trick that seems so obviously great in hindsight: your lost phone can be set to call you — and only you — as soon as someone finds it.
If you lose your phone, just head over to Google’s browser-based Android Device Manager. Tap the lock button, toss in a “Recovery Message” (read: a plea to whoever finds the phone to not be a jerk) and an unlock password, and add a phone number where you can be reached.
Bam! Whoever finds the phone now has a way to instantly reach you with the press of a button — but since the rest of the phone is locked down behind a password of your choosing, that’s the only thing they can use your phone for.
One catch: even if you’ve got an Android phone that comes with the locator functionality out-of-the-box, you’ll need to update to the latest build for the phone-the-owner functionality to work. You can find the update in the Play Store here.