Google Quietly Disables Android Device Manager In Latest Play Services Update


Google rolled out a new Google Play Services update for Android this week, introducing all kinds of new features and improvements for developers. But it’s not all good news. The company has also quietly disabled Android Device Manager, the feature that allows users to remotely lock and wipe lost and stolen Android devices.

It’s a puzzling move; Android Device Manager was only introduced this August, while the ability to remotely lock and wipe devices was added just this September. It’s unclear why Google has decided to remove this feature less than two months later, or why it did so without notifying its users.

Android Police, which first spotted the change, reports that there is an easy way to reactive the feature again:

It’s a simple fix: just check the version number of your Google Play Services app (it seems to be affecting both 4.0.30 and the slightly newer 4.0.31), then check the Device Administrators section of your Security settings page. If Android Device Manager isn’t enabled (and you want it to be), tap it and press activate. Problem solved.

Google’s decision to disable this feature quietly suggests it may have been accidental. Users who have set up Android Device Manager will be relying on it to secure their data if anything happens to their devices, so it seems unlikely the search giant would have knowingly killed it without telling anyone.

We hope to hear something from Google soon to explain the decision, or at least another update to rectify the problem. In the meantime, you can follow the workaround above to ensure Android Device Manager is working as it should on your devices.