Everyone loses his or her phone every once in a while, even if it is just in the bedroom or at the bar. Of course, your phone will still need to be on and connected to the Internet (via your cellphone provider or WiFi) for these device locating methods to work.
The first method is by using an app called “Where’s My Droid.” The Lite version can even be downloaded and installed remotely after you’ve lost your Android phone by going to play.google.com. After you’ve installed the app, you can text “wmd ring” to your number from someone else’s phone and the phone will ring at full volume even if it was on silent or vibrate. You can also text “wmdgps” in order to get the GPS location sent back to the phone you’ve texted from.
The standard version of “Where’s My Droid” is also free, but requires you to install it before you have lost your phone. This version will give you the opportunity to put a password on the app itself to prevent someone who might find your phone or someone who might have stolen it from making changes to your settings. It will also text a number you have specified if your SIM card gets removed. The app will also provide you with a web interface to activate all of the features that were only available by texting from another phone in the Lite version.
There is also a Pro version that will do everything the previous mentioned versions do along with allowing you to remotely lock your phone and remotely wipe all data off the phone, even the SD card, should you have sensitive information on it that you would not want someone else seeing. This costs $3.99, but offers features that could be priceless to some people.
There is another, less feature-rich app that will provide you with the phone’s location via an email to the Gmail account the phone is registered to. This app is called Plan B, and is also available through remote install.
These two options are great, especially if your phone is has been lost somewhere inside your room or apartment and the phone on silent. If it has unfortunately been stolen however, you will find a mixed bag of results when taking GPS information to the police. Some departments will be willing to aid in the recovery, but more court cases are citing breaches of privacy as a reason to not accept GPS locations of possible thieves in the search for a lost cell phone.