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Am I missing something, can't use Google's 'Find My Device' to locate Wife's phone?!

Discussion in 'Android Lounge' started by Ripp, Jan 17, 2021.

  1. Ripp

    Ripp Newbie
    Thread Starter

    My wife thought she'd lost her phone the other day so I opened Google's 'Find My Device' app on my phone and we went to log in using her email and password but in order to log her in it required that we had her phone in our hands to complete a security check by way of tapping on the correct number on the screen. We obviously couldn't do that because we didn't have her phone as it was temporarily lost...

    Luckily we found the phone anyway as it wasn't really lost at all so I figured now we have the phone in hand that we should probably setup the whole 'Find My Device' thing with the security check so next time she loses it we can find it.

    But I must be missing something because every single time I open the 'Find My Device' app on my phone and try to log her in as a guest in order to find her phone it ALWAYS asks us to confirm the security check on her phone!! Which we wouldn't be able to do if her phone was lost. What am I missing here?!

    I tried adding her Google account to my phone but there was two problems with that, firstly I can just see all her emails at the click of a button without signing in, which just doesn't sit well with me as that's her private email and secondly, adding her account made no difference to the 'Find My Device' anyway, we STILL have to have her phone in my hand for the security check so we can't find her lost phone unless we already have it in our hands. This makes zero sense to me, it seems you can't find someone else's lost phone at all.

    So, what am I missing here?
     



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  2. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Do you have 2-factor authentication turned on for your accounts? Because I just tried it from a browser and that's what it asked me for. Of course 2FA is a good thing, but in this case the fact that it generally uses the phone for authentication does kinda defeat the point ;).

    If that is the security check it was requesting there are other ways of passing it that don't require the phone. The most obvious is that Google do provide a set of one-time "backup codes" you can use to verify your identity, so as long as you keep them somewhere safe and accessible without the phone you could use one of those if you ever needed to use this service for real. If you don't have them you should be able to get them from her Google account's settings (under "security" I would guess, then look for anything to do with authentication).

    I can also see why locating a phone remotely is something you'd want to be secure. Nevertheless it is rather stupid to not recognise that the primary use case for this is one where you won't have the device to authorise from. Sadly though, neither stupidity nor carelessness are that unusual for Google, so it's quite possible that you aren't missing anything, they are.

    (As for checking every time, it seems to ask me for 2FA every time I try to do this from a browser. I thought it might have been due to the measures I use to prevent Google tracking me in my main desktop browser preventing it from remembering that I had authorised it already, but I tried with a less secure browser and found the same thing: it asked every time).
     
    puppykickr, bcrichster and ocnbrze like this.
  3. Ripp

    Ripp Newbie
    Thread Starter

    Thanks but I've just figured it out, it was staring me in the face the whole time.

    Open 'Find My Device' app
    Click 'Sign In As Guest'
    Enter email address of device you want to locate

    At this point the security prompt pops up on both devices but you can ignore it and click 'More ways to sign in' (in small blue letters) and you can then just simply put the password in associated with the account of the lost device and that's it, it'll sign in and locate the device.

    It's been a long day
     
  4. Hadron

    Hadron Smoke me a kipper...
    VIP Member

    Hah, so it's actually easier from someone else's phone than from a browser! Though if it allows you to just use a username and password to sign in from a different phone it does beg the question of why it asks for more from a web browser (because I can't see how the app on a different android phone is actually more secure)?
     
    puppykickr, bcrichster and ocnbrze like this.
  5. Ripp

    Ripp Newbie
    Thread Starter

    The mind boggles eh, so yeah it seems completely doable from the app with just an email and password. Just odd that when you try from the app the default way of signing in is by actually having the lost device in your hand! Madness.
     
  6. Milo Williamson

    Milo Williamson Android Enthusiast

    @Ripp Hadron is right, you can log in with your google virtually anywhere, as long as your wife has location activated on the cell, it should be a snap for finding her own cell.
     
    puppykickr likes this.
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