Few items we own are as precious as our phone, and losing it can be a dreadful experience (unless you decide to turn it into an opportunity to make a weird and voyeuristic film). If you need to find out how to track a phone, you’ve come to the right place. It’ll be easier if you’re trying 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 — we’ve still got your back.
If you’ve got a smartphone, consider installing the apps listed below. There are several app choices available for your phone, but also remember to set up any included phone-locating software that comes with your device. That includes Apple’s Find My iPhone, Google’s Find My Device, and Samsung’s Find My Mobile. If you’re looking for more choices, try out the following apps.
Prey is free to use for up to three devices, there are paid plans for more, and the service can be used for both computers and phones. After signing up, simply sync your devices, sit back, and relax. When your phone goes missing, all you have to do is find a computer, log into your account, and start tracking. Prey runs discreetly in the background and won’t track your phone’s location until you tell it to, so there is 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. Recent updates improved network configurations, enabled TouchID and Face ID on iOS, and extended functionality to Chromebooks. The Camouflage feature has been removed from Android.
Avast Antivirus & Security
One of the big boys in the antivirus industry, Avast’s name should be familiar to many PC users. The app is more of a complete package, offering virus scanning and protection, backup options, and power-saving — as well as anti-theft options. You can remotely lock or wipe your smartphone, listen remotely, or take a “Theftie” of the rascals themselves. You can also activate stealth mode on your device so the thief doesn’t know Avast is protecting your phone. Avast provides SIM card change notifications and locking, too, and the company offers similar services for Android, Mac, and PC. Avast is offering an all-in-one package for device protection from viruses and thieves as a paid premium service.
Lookout combines security, tracking, and antivirus or malware protection. There are several interesting features, such as the ability to record a phone’s last location right before the battery dies, the chance to back up contact data before a remote erase, and the option to snap a photo of any would-be thief and email it to yourself along with location data. Lookout provides Safe Wi-Fi and System Advisor features to protect against Wi-Fi attacks and to check your device to make sure the operating system is working properly. It’s free, but you can upgrade to Premium for $30 per year for features like safe browsing and breach reports — which sends you alerts if a company, service, or app you use reports a data breach — or Premium Plus for $100 per year to get features like identity theft protection and lost wallet recovery.
Even if you don’t own a smartphone, you can still track your handset. In that case, we recommend using a GPS tracking service. There are a few options out there, but AccuTracking is a good choice that works well.
This service uses 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, AccuTracking should do the trick. Most modern cell phones employ GPS, so as long as your phone isn’t headed to the museum due to age, the service should work 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 will immediately show you its location. The service features four plans costing $13, $16, $21, and $26 per month which update every 120, 60, 30, and 15 seconds, respectively. It’s a pay-as-you-go deal with no contract and a free trial.
Tracking your phone after you lose it
If you didn’t manage…