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Find your phone with these helpful tracking tips

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 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.

Updated on 05-15-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in more tracking apps suitable for smartphones

Related: How to use Find My iPhone, how to block calls on an iPhone or Android device.

Tracking your phone before you lose it

If you’re here just to prepare for the day that you lose your phone (which for many is inevitable), then you’re ahead of the game. If you’ve got a smartphone, consider installing the apps listed below

  • For smartphones: There are several app choices available for you phone, but also remember to set up any included phone locating software that comes with your device. That includes Find My iPhone, Android Device Manager, and Samsung’s Find My Mobile. Head to the next section for more details. If you’re looking for more choice, try these out:

Prey

It’s 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 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.

Lookout

It’s available for both iOS and Android devices and combines security, tracking, and anti-virus/malware protection. There are several interesting features, such as the system recording a phone’s last location right before the battery dies, a chance to backup contact data before a remote erase, and it’ll even snap a photo of any would-be thief and email it along with location data to you. There’s a free two-week trial, after which it’ll cost $3 per month.

Avast

It also offers a similar security/virus protection app combo for $2 per month. You can remotely lock or wipe your smartphone, record audio or pictures to find the thieves who took the device, and send the device into stealth mode, so that the thief doesn’t know Avast is protecting your phone. Avast also provides SIM card change notifications. You can get it on iOS or Android, and the company offers similar services on Mac or PC, too.

  • For non-smartphones, we recommend using a GPS tracking service. There are many different options out there, but we’ve picked out our favorite one.

AccuTracking

Accutracking

It costs from $6 per month (less if you subscribe for a year), and 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, this service should do the trick. Most modern cellphones are GPS enabled, so as long as your phone isn’t headed to the museum due to age, 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.

Next page: tracking your phone after you lose it

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