If you need to track down a cell phone, you’ve come to the right place. Whether you’re simply trying to track the location of your lost phone, or you’re a secret agent and you need to gain intel on the day-to-day whereabouts of a crooked diplomat, we’re here to give you the information you need to get the job done. It’ll be easier if you’re tying to track a smartphone, but there are ways to locate older phones as well, so don’t give up hope if you’re still rocking a first-gen Motorola RAZR or a Samsung Juke – we’ve still got your back.
Tracking your phone before you lose it
If you’re here just to prepare for the day that you lose your phone (which is inevitable, really), then you’re ahead of the game. If you’ve got a smartphone, consider installing the apps listed below
smartphone_vector_2_clipped_rev_1 For smartphones of any kind, we recommend Prey. It’s a free and open-source anti-theft application that can be used for both computers and mobile phones. After you sign up for the service, you simply sync your devices with it, sit back, and relax. The day that your phone goes missing, all you’ll have to do is find a computer, log into your account, and start tracking. It runs discreetly in the background and won’t track your phone’s location until you tell it to, so there’s no need to worry about your privacy while the phone is in your possession. We recommend this for any Android or iOS device, as well as any Mac, Windows, or Linux PC.
For non-smartphones, we recommend using a GPS tracking service called AccuTracking. It’ll cost you six bucks per month (less if you subscribe for a year), but now that Google Latitude and InstaMapper are dead, it’s the best option you have left. The service uses your phones built-in GPS to track the location of your phone, and lucky for you, it works with a wide variety of feature phones. As long as your phone is GPS enabled, this service should do the trick Most modern cellphones are GPS enabled, so as long as your phone isn’t over eight years old, you should be fine. When the day comes that you can’t locate your phone, just log in to AccuTracking’s web interface from any internet-connected computer and – so long as your phone isn’t dead – it’ll immediately show you the location of your phone.
Tracking your phone after you lose it
If you didn’t have the foresight to install a device recovery app on your phone before you lost it, don’t worry. There are still some easy ways to get it back.
Android users can download an application called Plan B. Even though your phone is gone, you can log into your Google account on any computer install the app from Google Play. When you click install, the app will begin downloading to your missing phone, and when the download is complete it will send your phone’s location info to your Gmail account. To retrieve the phone’s whereabouts again when you’re away from a computer, just text the word “locate” from a friend’s phone and you’ll receive a text with location info.
iPhone users can download the infamous Find My iPhone application. If you’re rocking a phone with iOS 5 or later, then this app will come preinstalled on your device. If not, just borrow a friends iDevice, install Find My iPhone on it, and log in with your Apple ID. Once you’re all logged in, the app will display your phone’s location on a map. You can even remotely trigger your phone to make a loud noise for two minutes, which makes pinpointing it a snap when it’s nearby.
Non-smartphone users are a bit out of luck in this case. If you didn’t register your phone with AccuTracking or a similar service beforehand, you don’t have many options other than calling your service provider and hoping they can help. Most providers do offer GPS location services for a reasonable fee though, so if your phone is GPS-enabled, finding it is sometimes just a matter of activating the GPS chip.
Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/how-to-track-a-cell-phone/