The past couple of years has changed how we work. As a result, we rely more on technology to assist us. Along the way, we’ve granted more devices access to our accounts. But are they all necessary or is someone else accessing your account? In this tutorial, I’ll show how to find devices connected to your Google account and how to remove them.
Have you ever thought of how many devices access your account? Chances are, you’ve undercounted. I have. Even worse, maybe you borrowed a computer or logged in to a friend’s iPad to read your Gmail and forgot to sign out. This is where some of Google’s security settings can help. Google tracks this info and presents an info panel that shows connected devices as well as any unfamiliar devices.
How to See All Devices on Your Google Account
The first thing you should do is check your devices list. This is the main hardware list but it doesn’t provide any device usage info except for the first sign-in date and recent device access.
- Log into your Google Account.
- In any web browser, navigate to https://myaccount.google.com/device-activity/.
This security feature will display a list of devices in two sections. The top area is your connected device list (A). In other words, Google thinks you are logged in to these items with your Google account. This is where you want to make sure that you don’t see an unfamiliar device. The lower half (B) represents devices you’ve signed out.
Typically, the first tile is the device you’re presently using and will show a blue checkmark (C). The page also highlights new devices with a blue label (D).
In the screenshot above, you’ll see that Google also provides basic device info such as an image, location, and last device access. However, the information might not be precise. For example, you seldom see the exact location of the device, but an approximation.
The location is an estimate based on the IP address. Sometimes the provided profile may cause concern so you may want to review devices further.
Getting More Details & Identifying Suspicious Activity
If I look at my device boxes, I can see several items where the profile makes me ponder. For example, I have something called “Home” with a description of “Helpful home devices” showing in my connected device list. There are two ways to find more device details.
Using More Options
- Go to the right corner and click the 3 vertical dots .
- Click What’s this? (It may not show for all devices.)
Google provides additional information that this is a group setting and includes things like Google Home or Chromecast. It also directs me to manage the devices from my Google Home app which is on my Android phone. This “Home” group also covers other company products like Google Nest, Google WiFi, and various smart TVs.
The “What’s this?” menu option is device-specific as it does not show for all my profile devices. For instance, on some items, I have an option to find the device. In addition, this menu also allows you to Sign out from any connected device except for the current one.
Using More Details
The second means is best if you suspect suspicious activity. Or in my case, you’re still not sure based on the description or device image. These details do not address third-party apps that you’ve granted access to. This security setting deals with hardware including items where you’ve signed out.
- Find the device from your list.
- Click the More details link
Based on the device, you’ll see another screen with details. In some ways, it reminds me of seeing your Chrome browser history except that instead of seeing a page, we’re seeing device info. One feature I appreciate is this page tells me which Apple iPad model I have.
One item that makes me pause is the location. Google indicates “locations are approximate based on IP address“. In my case, the locations typically shows “United States” or “California”. While technically correct, they are very approximate. In years past, I seem to recall seeing city names.
If you don’t recognize the IP address, I would use a service like What Is My IP Address. It does a nice job of giving location and ISP information. Keep in mind that locations may not necessarily represent a user’s location if they use a virtual private network (VPN). Also, if you’ve logged into a wifi network while on the road, you may not recognize the IP address.
And in case you were wondering about my “Home” group, the details page showed additional clues. While I couldn’t click the Kitchen display image to see that it belonged to Lenovo, I was able to figure it out. That device can also control the Hue lightbulbs. The reason Google uses “Home” is because these items are included in the Google Home app on my Android device.
How to Remove a Device from Google
After reviewing your list, you might wish to remove one or more items. Sadly, you can’t in the traditional sense. One would think you could click the 3 vertical dots in the corner and see a menu option for Remove or Delete.
- Click the Device’s More details link.
- Review the additional details to ensure it’s the correct device.
- Click Sign out.
- On the pop-up dialog, click Sign out.
- A Done! dialog appears reminding you some third-party apps might still have access.
- Click OK.
This will move the device down into your “Where you’ve signed out” section. After 28 days, the device should drop off provided you don’t log in again.
Now, if you don’t recognize an item, I’d also change your Google account password and suggest you try two-factor authorization (2FA).
Finding Tablets and Phones
While Google’s device activity page can identify account access, it may also be able to find your devices. For Android devices, this is a seamless experience. Even though my phone was off, the Find Phone feature was able to trigger a loud sound. However, for my iPads, the links directed me to go to Apple’s iCloud page.
Even though I didn’t have the same capabilities as my Apple devices, there was another option worth mentioning. Underneath the description is a link for “Check recent security activity for suspicious changes“.
If you click that link, you’ll get an option to “Review Events“. Here you’ll see a chronological list of sign-in activities. However, it won’t filter for that device so you’ll have to find your item. After clicking the item, you’ll get an info box with details where you can acknowledge the activity.
While there probably isn’t a need to check which devices connect to your Google account daily, it is a good practice to periodically review. No one wants to find out the hard way that there has been unauthorized access. One suggestion would be to set up a recurring task or reminder with your “To-Do” app of choice.
Click the image below to watch a short video on this feature. The video will open in a new tab for you.