Regardless of what kind of cell phone you have, there's a way to find it's location remotely, provided it has GPS functionality. Fortunately, GPS is a basic service found in nearly all cell phones today. If you have an iPhone, Android or Windows Phone, the software you need is built in to the phone's operating system. If you used the recommended settings when activating your phone, the location software should already be turned on.
Things You'll Need
- Cell phone with GPS chip
- GPS-enabled cell service provider
- Computer with Internet access
Locating an IPhone
Launch "Settings" from the iPhone's Home screen and select "iCloud." If you're not already signed in with your Apple ID, enter your Apple ID email address and password. You can also select "Get a Free Apple ID" from this screen if you don't already have one.
Tap the "Find My iPhone" option to turn it on if it's not on already. You can now locate the iPhone's exact location using any Web browser, provided the iPhone is turned on.
Go to "icloud.com." Log in with your Apple ID and password. Select the "Find My iPhone" option. Click the "All Devices" link, then select the iPhone. After a few seconds, the iPhone's location appears on the displayed map. A green dot indicates that the iPhone is currently on and tracked with either Wi-Fi or cellular signals. A gray dot indicates that the iPhone is offline. The time that the iPhone was last access is also displayed on the map.
Click the "Refresh" icon at any time to update the iPhone's location. If the iPhone is offline, select the "Notify Me When Found" option. A message is sent to your Apple ID email address as soon as the iPhone comes online. You can also lock the iPhone and send a message to be displayed on the lock screen using the options on this Web page.
Locating an Android Phone
Launch "Google Settings" using your phone's Apps menu. Select "Google Settings," then select "Location." Tap the "Location" switch to turn it on if it's not on already. This feature has to first be turned on in Android 4.1 or later. Older phone's don't require this step.
Select "Android Device Manager" in Google Settings. Tap the "Remotely Locate This Device" check box to enable the location feature. Read the instructions that appear on the screen and tap "Activate."
Tap the “Allow Remote Lock and Factory Reset” check box. If you ever lose your phone, this feature lets you remotely lock your it, erase its data and change its passcode.
Go to Google's Android Device Manager page (see Resources) from any Web browser. Log in with your Google account. After a few seconds, the phone's location appears on the map, including the time it was last online.
Locating a Windows Phone
Go to WindowsPhone.com using any Web browser. Hover the cursor over the "My Phone" link and select "Sign In." Log in with the same Microsoft account you use on your phone. The required software on a Windows Phone is always enabled.
Hover the cursor over your phone's icon and click the "Find My Phone" link. If prompted, log in once again with your Microsoft account. Your phone then appears on the map with its last known location.
Lock your phone if needed by selecting "Lock" from the Find My Phone menu. You can also make your phone ring, in case it's lost under a sofa cushion, erase it or display a message on the lock screen using the options available on this page.
Tips & Warnings
- Go to your phone's app store to find additional tools for locating a phone. These apps often have additional features, like parental controls or social features for keeping track of friends.
- With iOS 8, Apple added an additonal feature for keeping track of a family member's phone through iCloud. To access this feature, select "iCloud" 'from the iPhone's Settings, then tap "Share My Location."
- For other phones not listed here, you may be able to use a service like AccuTracking or Mologogo, provided it has GPS abilities. These services works on older phones, Blackberries and even Java-based cell phones.
- Cell phones must be turned on for tracking services to work.
- Location features, including GPS tracking, use additional battery power and may require more frequent cell phone recharging.
- Photo Credit tÃ©lÃ©phone portable image by razorconcept from Fotolia.com
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