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One might use it in case of theft or having lost a device.

Things that would be desirable would be

  • Being able to erase everything on the device (possibly doing a factory reset remotely) and doing this as quickly as possible to keep someone who has a hold of it from getting a hold of your sensitive information.
  • Being able to call or text the device if it's a phone
  • Being able to have a message display on the device for anyone who has a hold of it
  • Being able to see the current location of the device via GPS for yourself and law enforcement authorities
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I'm using Android Lost. (though I never had to use it for real because I didn't lose a device yet - I just installed it on all devices I ever had, just in case)

You can even install it after you've lost your phone.
Quote from the web page:

No pre installation required

You didn't install AndroidLost on your phone? No problem! You can push the AndroidLost app to your phone from google play and initiate the connection to googles servers by sending an SMS with the message 'androidlost register' to your phone.

Concerning the desired features from your question:

  • Being able to erase everything on the device (possibly doing a factory reset remotely) and doing this as quickly as possible to keep someone who has a hold of it from getting a hold of your sensitive information: YES, and you can backup stuff first
  • Being able to call or text the device if it's a phone: YES - you can make the phone send a SMS or dial a number, and you can send commands via SMS from another phone
  • Being able to have a message display on the device for anyone who has a hold of it: YES - you can display a text message on the screen, and you can even make the device talk. The default message is "I'm lost. Pick me up!"
  • Being able to see the current location of the device via GPS for yourself and law enforcement authorities: YES
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I have been using Prey (next to Android Device Manager) on my phone and desktop. A free account lets you manage 3 devices. You can have messages pop-up, sound an alarm, block the device, and gather information about its status (incl webcam). You cannot wipe it.

Prey is pretty well hidden, I remember some time ago seeing a 'suspicious' startup program on my desktop machine, only to realize after investigation that thas was Prey ;-)

You can password-protect its (de-)installation.

The only downside I have experienced is that it responds slowly. When I set the device status to missing it took almost 15 minutes to activate the warnings on the device (and vice versa). In a real world situation that is only an issue for the siren sound, which you would want to start immediately.

Here is the FAQ

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  • I also experienced prey deciding that swapping sim cards was a sign the phone was stolen. Worth noting if you travel a lot ;). – Journeyman Geek Mar 31 '14 at 7:09
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I have tried Android Device Manager for locating the device using the GPS. However, it can only Rings the phone and Lock/Factory Reset

  • Being able to erase everything on the device (possibly doing a factory reset remotely) and doing this as quickly as possible to keep someone who has a hold of it from getting a hold of your sensitive information: YES
  • Being able to call or text the device if it's a phone: NO
  • Being able to have a message display on the device for anyone who has a hold of it: NO
  • Being able to see the current location of the device via GPS for yourself and law enforcement authorities: YES

If you have extra Android Device, you can also use Android Device Manager on Android.

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  • 1
    This app must require internet for getting location operation. – Sanket Shah Mar 29 '14 at 13:06
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Try AVG Free anti-virus

Its an anti virus app, but it can also do what you want it to:
- Lock your device so nobody can use it
- Display a personal message on the lock
- Track the phone, and display the approximate location on Google maps.

It can also sound an alarm, even if the phone is on silent.

You can remotely do these thing with other phone (Just text the command to your number), or through any computer by logging into your Google account through AVG

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