Do you want to find your missing phone? Nowadays, there are multiple ways to do it thanks to Google. Did you know that the search engine actually tracks a lost device, its nearby Wi-Fi networks, barometric pressure and even gives a suggestion about the owner’s current occupation? Let’s examine the five most useful tools that allow you to locate your Android handset.
How to track the last location of my phone?
In general, there are two options to track a lost phone – by using Google’ services or third-party tools. All of them require an Internet connection.
Can you imagine you type “Where is my phone”, and Google displays a map with your phone’s possible whereabouts? Basically, it shows the last synced location of the phone with the timestamps. When the search engine finds your phone, it offers to ring or recover it. For the record, an Android device must be registered.
How to register an Android device with the Google account?
First, you need to create a Google account. Make sure you protected your account with recovery information. The next steps are:
1. On your device, open Settings app.
2. Tap Accounts, Add account, Google.
3. Follow the guidelines to add an account.
By the way, you can add multiple accounts.
To use the search box is the easiest way to find a lost handset. The other ones are:
– Google Maps
– Google Earth
– Google Home
– Android Device Manager
– Google Lost
– Samsung Find My Mobile
Track your lost Android smartphone using Google Maps
For newbies in the topic, Google Maps is a web-supported service that provides comprehensive information about geographical regions and sites over the globe. It gives aerial and satellite pictures of many spots.
Google Maps, as part of the web app, contains the features such as a route planner, the ability of integration into other services, the GPS tracking, Google Street View, images of space bodies.
In Google Maps, Google asks users to turn on Location History (at present it’s Your Timeline feature). To better route recommendations, search suggestions, and more (as to find your device), it needs to store the user’s location systematically. Thus, Google knows how often a user goes for a run and how often they charge the battery.
To track a lost phone with Google Maps, you need to have an Internet connection and the login ID and password of their Google Account. Here are further steps to follow:
1. Go to www.maps.google.co.in from any gadget.
2. Log in to the Google account linked to a lost phone.
3. Click on Your Timeline.
4. Indicate the Year, Month, and Day when to see the phone’s whereabouts.
5. Check whether the current day is picked in the calendar.
6. Google Maps will show the location history and the device’s current spot.
It’s worth being mentioned that for this feature to function properly, the phone must be turned on and the GPS service activated.
When opening Timeline, on the left, a user will see the whole timeline of the day with the names of all recorded locations. On the right – all the areas depicted on the map. However, the feature only uses cell tower IDs and Wi-Fi location tracking to gather the data about visited places. It influences the accuracy significantly.
Timeline’s advantage is the ability to track the location of a lost phone regularly over a certain period of time. So, if the phone is stolen, it’s easy to identify frequently visited places. They could be the ones a thief often visits as well.
How to track a cell phone using Google Earth
Google Earth is a program which delivers the 3D depiction of earth that is built on satellite imagery. It was worked out by Google Inc. for Android, iOS, Mac, Windows, Linux devices. Its use is indispensable with the one of Google Maps. Thus, users can contemplate aerial views which are shot with Google Satellites.
Google Earth is a favorite thing of people who love exploring the planet. It is also referred as “geographical browser” by Google. There are three versions of Google Earth: free, pro, and enterprise. Which one to pick – it depends on the individuals’ goals and needs.
For example, the free version is rather designed for home and personal issues than commercial purposes. The Pro adds movie-making and more opportunities to measure and catch the spot. The Enterprise tailors geospatial data to employees’ needs within specific corporations.
Here’s a little guide to walk you through the process:
Go to https://google.com/latitude/.
Enter the Google email ID and password of the target device.
Enter your mobile number or use the same link on your mobile browser.
Click on “Send a link to my phone”.
Get a text message with URL to your handset.
Click it to proceed to the web browser.
Check “yes” when it asks “Allow Google Latitude to view your current location”.
On Google Earth, track a lost phone. You can augment the latitude request.
Locate your phone in your house using Google Home
To make it short, Google Home is a smart speaker. It was designed as a vehicle for Google Assistant – voice-based virtual companion that is connected to the Internet.
Google Home can find your phone and make it ring. Moreover, it might be on silent.
To track a lost phone, it’s crucial to make sure that the device is
– turned on and the location enabled
– connected to Wi-Fi or mobile data
– seen on Google Play under the right Google account
– activated in the Find My device app
After all these procedures, you just need to say, “Ok, Google, find my phone” or “Ok, Google, ring my phone.” The Home will then provide the list of devices it tracks asking which one to ring. Obviously, it will track a lost phone, provided it is registered (the one listed in Find My Device under one account). As a result, an Android device will ring until you wake it.
By the way, it’s not just about Androids. Although Find My Device is used mainly for Android devices, Google Home can help track a lost iPhone. It won’t be able to ring the phone in case it’s silenced. Here are a few steps for iPhone tracing:
1. Add your phone number under My account privacy settings.
2. Proceed to myaccount.google.com/privacy.
3. Go to Phone and then Add Recovery Phone.
4. Enter the phone number and click Next.
5. Click Get Code and enter it.
6. Click on Verify.
So, when you command the Google Home to track a lost phone, it can call that number regardless of a device.
My phone was stolen and turned off: what I need to do?
To get straight to the point, you can use Lookout Mobile to track a lost phone.
When the battery is dead, GPS doesn’t work. Lookout Mobile automatically chronicles your Android device’s last known spot before the battery runs out. The key word here is “last” since the phone might be dead and taken away to some other place. The further step is to go to its official site from any gadget to see the place on the map. Here’s the thing: the app must be installed on the device.
Is it possible to track a phone that is off?
In general, it’s impossible to track a lost phone which is switched off. When being off, it stops communicating with cell towers. The Internet and the GPS do not deliver location details.
However, the National Security Agency claims to do it. Nevertheless, the only way for the NSA to track handsets was infecting them with Trojans. They emit signals until the battery is removed. If it’s off, the signals keep sending signals. Once it is removed, signals stop sharing location data. At present, smartphones have unibody designs and irremovable backs, so removing the battery is out of the question.
Apparently, ordinary citizens do not have such opportunity. Thus, they cannot track a lost phone that is off.
Other ways to track a lost phone
If none of the above doesn’t work for you, try these four methods as well:
Android Device Manager:
A lost device must be connected to the Google account. This helps track a lost phone from PC, laptop, or any other gadget. The only requirement is that the device must be turned on and has an Internet connection. It allows also to ring the phone, wipe out the data stored on the phone.
– Google Lost
The app must be installed remotely from Google Play. As usually, the device must be connected with the Google account. You send an SMS with the text ‘Androidlost register’ to the lost phone. It allows registering the details remotely via the Google account.
The very next step is to go to its official site and sign in with those details. After that, the number of possibilities shows up: track a lost phone, erase the SD card, wipe the memory, take pictures with the front camera, and more.
– Samsung Find My Mobile
It’s a convenient way for Samsung devices’ owners who have their Samsung account within. It works the same way as Android Device Manager does. The Samsung Find My Mobile website displays the phone’s real-time location, provided it is powered and connected to the Internet. Also, you can wipe out the data and make the device ring.
It might be a solution as well. Users need to download it on the device and enable the camera upload feature. That way, if someone else takes pictures, they are being uploaded to Dropbox, and you can see them. Often, pictures show the places and timestamps. Also, if another person makes selfies, it becomes easy to identify them and report to the relevant authorities.
After covering all possible ways of locating a lost phone, it begs the questions: what about IMEI? Is it possible to find the phone with this number? What can the police do?
IMEI is a unique identifier for every single phone. It’s attributed by the manufacturer. Experts say that devices’ providers can track them if the current owners provide their IMEI. So do the police. They are able to track the phone, even if the SIM card was removed. However, you can use the number to track a lost phone on your own.
First, go to IMEI online tracker. Such service is usually free of charge. Second, you can always use free apps like IMEI tracker. It’s noteworthy that IMEI is connected with the GPS feature. If it’s off, IMEI won’t be helpful. The good news is that when IMEI is reported to the relevant mobile service provider, it can blacklist the phone and prevent a thief from using it.
When you’re an Android user, it’s almost impossible not to track a lost phone. If you find a bug in any of the ways mentioned above, feel free to report Google’s support team. The mates there created a powerful customer care culture.