Here are the best flight-tracking apps for travelers and airplane enthusiasts

best flight tracking apps
Trevor Mogg
Air travel can be stressful, but you can take some of the pain out of it with one of the best flight-tracking apps for Android or iOS. For plane enthusiasts keen on identifying what’s passing by overhead, travelers on trips, and loved ones at home waiting to meet incoming relatives and friends, these apps can prove invaluable.

Most airlines offer their own apps, which can be used to check in, get boarding passes, and track flights up to a point, but the apps below take things further with real-time tracking of planes in the air and a host of additional features you may find useful.

You may also be interested in the best travel tech and tips, and, just in case you run into trouble with a flight, you should read up on what to do when your flight is canceled.

Flightradar24 (Free)


Our top pick is absolutely packed with flight-tracking features. The free version enables you to watch aircraft in the skies in real time, check on estimated departure and arrival times, and search by flight number, airport, or airline. For enthusiasts, the app includes photos, historical flight data, and even a 3D pilot view. If you need a greater depth of data, then you can spring for the Silver ($1.50 per month or $10 annually) and Gold ($4 per month or $35 annually) versions, which give you more flight history, live weather overlays, aeronautical charts, and more. There’s also support for the Apple Watch and Android Wear.

iTunes Google Play

FlightStats (Free)


If you want something more straightforward, then this app offers real-time flight tracking and the ability to search by flight number, airport, or route. There’s a simple status page that shows scheduled and actual times of departure and arrival, a map view with the position of the plane in question, and additional information on weather, gates, and possible delays. This flight-tracking app is completely free, but you will have to put up with some ads and, sadly, there’s no option to pay for an ad-free version.

iTunes  Google Play

ADSB Flight Tracker (Free)

ADSB Flight Tracker

Plane spotters and aviation enthusiasts are the intended audience for this flight-tracking app. ADSB stands for automatic dependent surveillance broadcast, which picks up on aircrafts broadcasting their positions. This app has ADSB receiver functionality, so if you plug the right hardware into your phone, you can get live data from the skies. It shows the positions of planes with flight numbers on a 2D top-down map, or you can opt for a 3D view. This one is just for Android devices.

Google Play

Plane Finder – Flight Tracker ($5)

Plane Finder - Flight Tracker

If you’re an iPhone owner and a plane spotter, then this app could be what you’re looking for. It employs ADSB and MLAT (multilateration) to pinpoint real-time plane positions. It also sports a nifty augmented reality mode, so you can hold your iPhone up to the sky and identify the planes overhead. You can search by flight number, location, airport, airline, and aircraft,  as well as create and save your own search filters, and even set up custom alerts so you’ll know when a particular plane is nearby. With a simple status page and real-time updates, it’s also capable of simple flight tracking. You can get versions of this app for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch, and iMessage.



HMD Global admits Nokia 7 Plus handsets sent user data to China

Nokia could be in some hot water. According to recent reports, Nokia 7 models may be secretly sending data to China without the user knowing about it. Nokia says that the issue was a software bug and that it has been fixed.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

24 must-have apps for rooted Android phones and tablets

Rooting your Android device opens up a world of possibilities, along with a few apps. Here are 24 of our favorites, so you can make the most of your rooted device and unleash the true power of Android.

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.

Dodge the cryptojackers with the best torrent clients available today

Looking for the best torrent clients to help you share all of that wonderful legal content you own? Here's a list of our favorite torrent clients, all packed with great features while dodging malware and adverts.

Here are the best iPad Pro keyboard cases to pick up with your new tablet

The iPad Pro range can double as laptops, but they do need proper keyboards to fill in effectively. Thankfully, there are loads to choose from and we rounded up the best iPad Pro keyboard cases right here.
Product Review

The new iPad Mini isn’t a beauty, but it performs like a beast

Apple’s new iPad Mini has beastly performance, fluid iOS 12 software, and good battery life. It also looks like it came straight out of 2015, because the design hasn’t been changed. Here's our review of Apple’s 7.9-inch tablet.

Wring the most out of iOS with the best commands for Siri

You may not know all the things you can say to Siri -- after all, Apple never released an official list of commands for its virtual assistant. Thankfully, we've compiled a list of the best Siri commands to help you out.

Breeze through security with these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags

Getting through airport security is a drag, but your laptop bag shouldn’t be. Thankfully, these checkpoint-friendly laptop bags will get you and your gear to your destination with ease.

Flex your thumbs (and your brain) with these fun texting games

Gaming consoles keep getting more advanced, but you can still have fun with the good old Latin alphabet. Here are our picks for the best texting games, so you can make the most fun out of that limited data plan or basic cell phone.

Alpina makes its AlpinerX smartwatch even more attractive with new colors

Alpina has introduced four new colors to its AlpinerX smartwatch range, breaking the usually sporty watch out into a more everyday casual design, and given the tech a slight makeover too.

New gold finish makes Frederique Constant’s hybrid smartwatch flashier than ever

Frederique Constant has found considerable success with its luxury hybrid smartwatch, the Hybrid Manufacture, and has launched several new color schemes to help bring it even more attention.

Tag Heuer’s Golf Edition smartwatch is a lot more than just a flash of new color

Tag Heuer's Golf Edition Connected Modular 45 smartwatch has a lot more going for it than just a flashy new color scheme. From the titanium body and black PVD coating to the new Golf app, this is a true special edition.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!