Android users can now remotely lock down a misplaced or stolen device from the web. Google has rolled this critical feature into Android Device Manager, which launched last month with location tracking and remote wipe functionality. Now the web tool lets you lock any Android smartphone running version 2.2 of the operating system and above. To do so, you'll simply need to set a new password to be entered once the device is recovered. This can be different from your regular lock screen PIN, so even if that password is compromised, you can override it with a new one. Google is actively discouraging users from re-using their main Google credentials, however.
A lock request will immediately secure any device connected to Wi-Fi or a cellular network — even if it's actively being used. If a thief has turned off a phone or enabled Airplane Mode, the lock will take effect as soon as a data connection is reestablished. And should your beloved smartphone prove unretrievable, there's always the last-ditch measure of wiping its memory entirely.