Using G Suite on your personal devices

You don't just have to be in school to access G Suite, you're welcome to use it on your own devices, but you may have some questions that we hope we can answer here.

The answer to this is a little bit complicated and requires some knowledge about how Android works. Setting an app as a Device Administrator on an Android device allows it have greater control of your phone, such as managing certain system settings. This could be as simple as enforcing whether you have to have a lockscreen set, or as comlpex as factory resetting your phone. A Device Administrator app could have access to your text messages, or it could track your phone's location by GPS. All these things may sound scary, but there are genuine, legitimate uses for it. Device Administrator is a useful component for some apps, such as letting anti-virus apps hide from and monitor malware, or anti-theft apps letting you track your phone and take photos of whoever is holding it.

Put simply, it forces you to have a lockscreen with some kind of passcode (like a PIN or password) as a safeguarding measure, to make sure if somebody does get hold of your phone they can't access your accounts. It also forces you to re-authenticate your school Google account from the device if it doesn't sync for two weeks.

Additionally, it allows you to opt-in to Google's anti-theft services, which operate similarly to anti-theft apps, or Find my iPhone on iOS devices.

Most importantly, it doesn't stop you being able to do anything you could normally do, and it doesn't let us monitor what you're doing. It's still your device.

We don't know your PIN number, we can't read your texts, and we can't access files (like photos or videos) on the device.

You can remove the Google Apps Device Policy app at any time and this will remove the restrictions. It will, however, stop the device accessing your school Google account, and prevent Find My Device from working.

Firstly, you get to use your school account on your device. If you download the relevant apps, like Docs, Sheets, Keep, etc, you can access those services wherever you are without needing to log in, as long as you have internet access.

Secondly, if you're using an Android device, you can choose to activate Find My Device features, which can be accessed from Google's Android Find My Device page. This will provide you with a set of tools to aid recovery of a lost or stolen phone.

The first time you access Find My Device it will ask you to enable the service. Once you do, a map will be available which will track your device to a rough area if your device is switched on. This shows you where your device is, and also provides information about its signal and the amount of battery it has left.

There are also several other options on this page. The first option allows you to make your phone play a sound, to help you track it down if you can't find it but know it's nearby, such as when you're at home. This sound will play even if your phone is set to vibrate-only or silent.

The second option is a bit more sophisticated. It allows you to secure your device with a password (that you should make different to your usual PIN or password) and even set a recovery phone number. If somebody comes across your device, it will display the message and provide an option to call the recovery number listed.

If you have lost your phone, this message will be displayed to anybody that finds it and hopefully your phone will make it back to you.

Finally, should you fear the worst, you can initate a remote wipe of your device. This process cannot be undone once it starts, and will perform a factory reset. We do not recommend this option if you do not know where your device is, as it will remove all accounts and all security and give the (potential) thief the device as if it were brand new from the box. We therefore only recommend using this option if you are in possession of your device but are not able to access it.

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