Discovery Hub

How to Track a Cell Phone


January 31, 2019

Almost everyone has experienced the panic that comes with realizing you don’t know where your phone is, especially when you need it most. If you’re a chronic “dude, where’s my phone?” kind of person, these tips can help you find it fast when it goes missing.

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Use an app

Tracking apps for cell phones use GPS to show where your phone is at all times. There are plenty on the market to choose from, but they also come standard with most smartphones. iPhone users can activate the built-in “Find My iPhone” app, while Android users can enable location tracking from the Device Manager. Google phones can be tracked online by logging into your Google account. If you can’t find your phone, log into the app from a computer (or a friend or family member’s phone), and track your cell phone’s location.

Attach a high-tech tag

This is a good option if you don’t have a smartphone, because tracking tags with built-in GPS can keep track of any item you attach them to — even if the item itself is not connected to the Internet. Simply stick one on your phone or phone case, and you can access its location by logging into the associated app on another phone, tablet, or computer via the Internet.

Keep the ringer on

A tracking app is priceless if your phone is lost or stolen while you’re out and about, but it doesn’t work as well close to home. It can only tell you that your phone is 0.0 miles away, not if it’s under the couch cushions, or buried under a pile of papers on your desk. If you tend to misplace your phone around the house, keep your ringer and/or vibration settings up high. That way, you can call from a family member’s phone (or your landline) and listen for your ring tone.

Designate a charging station

Set up a charging station in a specific place in your home, and leave your phone there when you’re not using it. Once you get into the habit of putting your phone in the same spot each day, you’ll spend less time wondering where it went. Plus, you’ll always know where to grab it before you head out the door in the morning — no more frantic scrambling to find your phone at the last second.

Practice phone safety

While knowing how to track a cell phone can help if yours goes missing, practicing a few common-sense safety tips will lower the chances of it being stolen or lost in the first place:

  • Use a strong passcode to prevent thieves from accessing your phone’s data. For extra security, enable fingerprint or face scanning, as well.
  • Write down your alternate contact information and take a photo (or type it in your notes app and take a screenshot) and set it as your phone’s background. If it gets lost, whoever finds it won’t need to go through your phone’s contacts to get in touch with you.
  • Make sure you know your phone’s registration number. If you suspect your phone has been stolen, you can give the number to the police and to your phone carrier to help them track it down.
  • Don’t carry your phone in your back pocket — it makes it easier for thieves to grab it, and it’s more likely to fall out when you sit down or stand up.

Knowing how to locate a phone is important. Whether it’s been lost or stolen, taking a few preventative measures can help you get your phone back in your hands quickly and easily.

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