Left your phone behind? Here's how to set up tracking on your Android smartphone or tablet so that you can track it down if it goes astray
It used to be the case that we left the house weighed down with multiple things: purse or wallet, keys, book, newspaper. But these days you need carry very little as your smartphone covers most of those bases: you can pay for things with it, read the papers or a book with it, listen to music with it, do some work with it.
But this means that losing your phone is a big problem: not only will people not be able to get hold of you if you don't have your phone, more worryingly, your smartphone contains a lot of sensitive data and provides access to many areas of your life.
The good news, though, is that you can track your device if you get parted from it and - with a bit of luck - be reunited with it.
Turn on Find My Device
This isn't on by default - you'll have to set it up manually. Go to Settings, and on that page, go to Security & privacy and then Find My Device, and toggle the switch to On.
Track down your lost phone
If the worst has happened and you've lost your phone, go to android.com/find, and sign in if necessary. If you've got more than one Android device, choose the one that's gone AWOL from the ribbon at the top, and - assuming it's turned on - its last known location will show up on a map.
From that page you can do three things: the first is make it ring, even if it's on silent (useful if it's somewhere in the house). The second is securing the device and signing it out of your Google account, which would prevent a thief getting into your accounts. On that page you can also send a message for it to display on its home screen so that someone finding it can get in touch with you.
And finally, you can wipe it, which means that even if it's been stolen and there's no hope of getting it back, at least the thief won't be able to get at all your personal and sensitive information.
Use the app
If you've got another Android device, you can download the Find My Device app from the Google Play Store, which works in the same way.
If you're at home and you've got a Google smart speaker such as a Google Nest Mini or Home Hub, you can simply ask. Say "Hey Google, where's my phone?" and it will ring it for you - this is a quick way to find a phone that's buried under clothes, pets or papers, or has slipped down the side of the sofa.