Can I buy a physical button I can push to trigger Find My Phone?
November 20, 2019 7:06 AM   Subscribe

I misplace my phone a lot. I leave my phone on vibrate at all times. Find My Device when accessed from my laptop lets me find my phone easily, but my laptop is in my bag packed up when I'm ready to walk out the door. Is there some sort of physical button I can buy that makes my android phone do Find My Device?

When I'm about to walk out the door and can't find my phone, my laptop is packed in my bag. Getting my laptop out to use find my device takes too long. If I just had a physical button I could press that triggered find my device on my phone, that would be awesome. Because it is on vibrate I can't really call it and find it quickly. We do not do alexa and aren't really interested. But a big idiot button I could push would be awesome.

I'm reasonably technically capable. If I have to cobble together something from a couple other things that's ok. I don't mind if it has to be plugged in or whatever. I don't mind that there is possibility of annoying abuse by my family who love me and would not do that to me that much. I think.
posted by cmm to Technology (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I use Tile for this all the time. Double-tap the button and your phone will ring, even if it's on silent. I keep one on my keys (and one in my wallet) but there's no reason it couldn't be affixed to something else handy. They have several models that have different size/shapes/batteries but all do basically the same thing otherwise.
posted by mosst at 7:10 AM on November 20, 2019 [15 favorites]

Other solutions here.
posted by beagle at 7:12 AM on November 20, 2019

One solution: Leave the ringer on, configure all ringtones to be silent with vibrate, then set the ringtone to something loud for your android phone's number only.
posted by sydnius at 7:16 AM on November 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

If you yell "Hey Siri," your phone will beep and answer, even if it's on vibrate, as long as it's reasonably close to you. I realize this isn't the solution in all cases, but it has worked remarkably well for me.
posted by Slinga at 7:20 AM on November 20, 2019 [5 favorites]

The flic button would do this!
posted by MonsieurBon at 7:23 AM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have an old android phone in the kitchen for playing music, recipes, etc. I have a link to Find My Device on the home screen.
My keys have a blaze orange strap, my phone has a neon pink stripe of tape.
Still, probably getting a Tile.
posted by theora55 at 7:36 AM on November 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

A couple options already given, but an additional one: "Alexa, where's my phone?" will result in it calling your phone. Now, sometimes (such as in my case) that call is then blocked by your robocall blocker, as it comes across as an unlisted caller.
posted by WCityMike at 8:01 AM on November 20, 2019

I know that on the Apple Watch, there's a software button that will ping your phone. Android Wear watches might have a similar feature for Android Phones.
posted by SansPoint at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I have a Garmin Vivosmart 4 (activity tracker wristband/watch thing) that has a Find My Phone "button".

I think it may be the cheapest of the Garmin devices that has that function, but I'm sure other brands of wearables also do.
posted by Kriesa at 9:39 AM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

Kriesa beat me to the Garmin recommendation -- my vivoactive 3 smart watch does this. Loud noise, flashing lights, impossible to miss, but not very cost effective if that's the only feature you need.
posted by natabat at 9:42 AM on November 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

I use Tile for this all the time.

It may depend on phone-specific settings, but this has been one of my biggest disappointments with Tile. In my experience paging the phone does not work reliably unless the app is currently foregrounded in the phone. (In other words, it only works if I'm testing it.)

I imagine this has to do with the same performance optimizations that make it possible to have so many background apps "running" in Android without a performance hit, so maybe there's a way to turn those off just for Tile?
posted by Not A Thing at 10:12 AM on November 20, 2019

I imagine this has to do with the same performance optimizations that make it possible to have so many background apps "running" in Android without a performance hit, so maybe there's a way to turn those off just for Tile?

Settings > Battery > Optimization > 'Menu' icon in corner > Battery optimization. Find Tile in app list and turn off.

Alternatively, Google "battery optimization" and your particular Android model.
posted by WCityMike at 1:25 PM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I have a misfit Ray that does this when you tap it three times. It cost $19. I also use it as a pedometer so I wear it on my wrist but you could attach it to an object or keep it on a shelf instead. It takes three small watch batteries which last about three months.
posted by lollusc at 2:59 PM on November 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

I find the Tile find-my-phone function gets triggered by accident all the time. I bend over to pick up something and the Tile on my keychain in my pocket thinks it's been pressed and rings my phone.

The Apple Watch one is handy, although it can have a really long lag, if you try to use it straight after unlocking the watch.
I wish the watch had buttons to ping other Apple devices on that iCoud account, like my iPad.
posted by w0mbat at 4:00 PM on November 20, 2019

I got an apple watch for exercise tracking, but most of the time I use it to locate my phone :)
posted by gryphonlover at 6:35 PM on November 20, 2019

Thanks for replies!

I dislike Tile. I don't know how much of that is because I was an early adopter and the thing was very huge on my keychain, and then ran out of batteries after 10 months and I was supposed to just throw it away and get a new one?! The app was finicky and didn't always work in that direction (i.e. it was good at push the button on my phone to find my keys but the reverse push the tile to make my phone beep part would only work 4 in 5 times - which sorta made me hate it). This was 4 or 5 or maybe more years ago. It was many phones ago and the android bluetooth stack was probably partially to blame but whatever. I still take it out on Tile. Maybe I need to get over it.

I LOVE that flic button. That is exactly what I wanted. A big physical fun-to-push looking thing. I'm cool with changing those watch batteries. The only part I dislike is I wish it connected to the Android Find My Device instead of using its own app. But maybe that OS feature isn't very open and so people cannot make products that work with it.

Maybe I need to get over my dislike for Google Home if I want integration to Find My Device I guess.
posted by cmm at 8:07 AM on November 21, 2019

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