Picture this on a hot summer evening, you’re making your way back home after running errands. Tired and frustrated, you pat your pockets for the keys to unlock your door. You enter your house and place your belongings on the counter.
All but one.
Your heart sinks, and panic hits you as you can’t find your phone anywhere. Your whole world revolves around it, and now it’s gone. Does this sound familiar?
Sadly, not everyone gets their prized possession back. Luckily for you, there are some ways to track phones without an app that you could use.
How do you track and locate your Android phone?
If you have an Android tracking app installed, you’re in the clear. Just follow the basic steps as instructed, and you’ll have the whereabouts of your device in no time.
There are plenty of free phone locator apps out there. It’s always a wise choice to have a free location tracking app installed.
But, for those of you who don’t have any of the options mentioned above available. What if I told you, you could still track the phone without the app?
Sounds impressive, right?
Here are the ways to track phone without an app.
Find your phone with Google and its own services
Google has a wide range of software. One of these is specifically designed to find lost phones. But what if you don’t have it?
The good thing about Google Apps is that you can use Google’s apps for other purposes than what they were designed for.
Who would’ve thought how easy it is to track your phone using Google Timeline and Google Photos?
1. Find your phone using Google’s Find My Device (formerly Android Device Manager)
Google’s Find My Device is by far the best Android tracking app out there. It is a reliable and easy-to-use Android tracking app. While setting up this service, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind.
One, you must log in to your Android to your Google Account. Two, Google Find My Device can only track when your device is connected to the internet. Plus, the location services are turned on.
The service is pretty self-explanatory. It gives step-by-step, easy-to-follow instructions. Within no time, this free phone locator does its job. Here are three easy steps to use Find My Device.
Step-1: Access Find My Device service by Google
Step-2: Sign in to your Google account.
Step-3: Choose the device you’re trying to locate.
Step-4: Voila, you’ve found your device.
But it doesn’t end there.
Find My Device offers additional features, that is, ‘call a lost phone.’It even allows for sending a message. This way, if anyone has your phone, they know you are looking for it.
In addition to that, you can lock your device the first chance you get. This application also remotely allows you to wipe your phone clean. Consequently, removing all your data from it. Even if you lose your phone for good, at least your personal data is safe from vandalism.
However, there are some limitations to this fantastic free location tracking app. It can’t track phones that have been powered off. If your battery dies or a perpetrator turns off your phone, you are unfortunately out of luck with this app. The same is the case with flight-mode.
But there’s still a silver lining. You will be able to see your Android’s last location before the flight-mode was toggled or turned off your phone. That’s always a great place to start.
2. Use Google Timeline to find your phone even if it’s turned off or the battery is dead
You went out for a run, but you forgot to charge your phone. Now the battery ran out, and you can’t find your phone either. Before you fret over it, try to relax.
To use this free location tracking app, you need to ensure that you are logged into your Google account. If your Google account is logged in with the lost device, consider yourself saved.
There is a catch, however.
Like Google’s Find My Device, Google Timeline is only helpful if your device is connected to the internet and the location option is turned on. Here’s how this free phone locator works.
Step-1: Open Google Maps in your browser.
Step-2: Log in to the Google Account associated with the lost Android.
Step-3: Find the ‘Menu’ button on the ‘top-left of the window and click it.
Step-4: Click on the ‘Your Timeline’ option.
Just make sure ‘present day’ is chosen in the schedule. To your left, a timetable for the day should be visible. A guide with every area should be to your right.
There you have it. A timeline of where the desired device has traveled with complete location history. Just follow these easy steps.
Step-2: Your places
It’s important to realize, however, that Google Timeline is not designed to find your phone. It consumes too much data, and street accuracy is not always the best. Another downside might also be the bad routes that might display.
It does have good side-features and an impressive navigating device. The base navigation is also user-friendly. So, this might be the ideal free location tracking app for those who aren’t tech experts.
Nevertheless, Google Timeline does the job if you’re in a fix. It has been a lifesaver for a lot of people who had no other hope.
3. Use Google Photos location info to locate your phone
Google Photos might be the superhero you need in testing waters. It’s always wise to make sure you’ve set up an app specially designed to locate lost phones.
But what if you didn’t?
Try this tested method to track the phone without an app. You take photos they get uploaded to your Google account. You can even find pictures that are years old. Given that your Google account was active back then and the app had permission to upload, your precious memories are always safe.
The cherry on top is that you can access these pictures anywhere globally with available internet access.
But if you think that’s all Google Photos is suitable for. You are wrong. A lesser-known perk of this app is that it can be used as a free phone locator. You can trust Google Photos to point you in the right direction if all else fails.
There are some basics you will need to cover first. A connection to the active internet is an absolute must for this app to work its magic. Second up, ‘Reinforcement and Sync’ needs to be toggled on.
Now sit back and be patient. You can get the precise location of your device the moment someone takes a picture with it.
How is it possible, you ask?
Well, it’s straightforward. With the ‘Reinforcement and Sync’ feature enabled, every photo taken on your device is uploaded to the subsequent Google Photos account. This way, you can access the time, date, and location information of the picture without breaking a sweat.
This method is nothing short of genius. Google Photos has automatic organization and can view content on every device logged in with that account. Both of these features work in favor of someone trying to track his phone.
You might want to look out for a few things, though. Since this app wasn’t explicitly designed as a free phone locator, it has its limitations. The biggest one might be the slow image loading and viewing.
Find your lost phone using these third-party tools
If you feel like using Google services isn’t your piece of cake. There is no just one third-party Android tracking app that works like magic. These are a few that might interest you.
Use Samsung’s Find My Mobile
Now this one’s the free phone locator tailored specially for Samsung users.
Lost your Android, but you have a Samsung Account? Consider yourself lucky.
All you need is that your Android is kept connected to the internet. The other piece of the puzzle is that you have the ‘Find my Portable’ set on your device.
Samsung’s free phone locator does the work of a wizard if your phone has been enlisted with a Samsung account.
After that, everything else is a user-friendly process. Follow these easy steps
Step-1: Go to the Find my portable website and login with your credentials
Step-2: Make sure your device is linked to the record. You can do this by looking at the sidebar on the left
Step-3: Choose the ‘Find my Gadget’ option
Step-4: Hit the ‘Find’ button
Thank your lucky stars if your remote controls are powered on, and the device has internet access. You should be able to see the exact locality of your device in this way.
Other advantages of using Samsung’s Find My Mobile are call lost phone, information sweep, and bolting the device.
How to use Dropbox to find your lost phone (Android & iOS)
If you often use Dropbox on your phone, chances are every picture you take will be uploaded to it. Much like Google Photos, this program will also get you proof of potential theft if it occurred. Furthermore, having pictures of the location is the best clue that will help you find it.
Now your concern might be that the perpetrator will delete all your apps.
Well, there’s a fix for that. If you manage to root your device and have a pre-installed .zip version of Dropbox, you can bet it will go unnoticed. So, is it the best anti-theft free phone locator out there? The answer is no.
Because it wasn’t designed for this but, it might save you a lot of trouble if you’ve run out of options. Yet, the bonus is that DropBox is compatible with both Androids and iOS devices. So, you can’t complain, can you?
Install a tracking app to secure and find a lost phone in the future
You can find ways to track the phone without an app as your last resort. But, the best course of action is to pre-install an Android tracking app.
The best advice you can get is to set up a phone tracking app and prepare your phone for loss. This will save you trouble and a whole lot of stress.
Down below are some top-notch phone tracking apps selected just for you.
This is a splendid free location tracking app for Androids. LSDroids develop it. Experts recommend it especially to root users. This free phone locator is equipped with GPS tracking.
What more could you get out of a free app?
Oh, there’s more. This app will take an instant picture with the front-facing camera of someone daring to snoop in.
Legend has it the first person to download the Cerberus App would track his phone anywhere. He never worried about losing his phone again.
Lost Android is your go-to free phone locator if you have an Android v4.0 or higher. This app does not take up any extra battery and offers many remote SMS options.
These remote SMS options allow the user to erase the phone, erase the SD card, lock and unlock, and provide APN control. The free phone locator can use both GPS and network for tracking.
The only downside you might face would be the in-app purchases.
However, with the fantastic features this free phone locator provides, wouldn’t you agree that they’re worth it?
Prey Anti Theft
Launched by Prey Inc. for Android v.5.0 and up. This baby gives GPS Geolocation, a detailed location history, and control zones.
If that wasn’t enough already, many security features come with the app. The superior security message alert and remote lock make the app the perfect match for your phone.
The prey missing device report is an option unique to this app. Some features are a part of the pro-plan, which aren’t free, of course.
Frequently asked questions
If apps aren’t your cup of tea, you can try to track your phone using IMEI online. The internet is your best friend if you’re wondering how to follow someone else’s phone. However, how to secretly track a phone is not the point we’re making here.
These are some of the frequently asked questions that might help your cause.
Can I still find my lost phone if it’s turned off / in airplane mode / the battery is dead?
If your phone is on airplane mode. Chances are, you can still precisely track your device’s location.
How, you ask? GPS tracking.
Another way is to track phones using the IMEI Android tracking method. This method uses your calls to follow you.
How does it work?
The IMEI number is unique to each phone and, therefore, the most reliable device tracking method. Authorities frequently use it to catch perps on the loose. That’s proof enough that this works.
So those of you under the impression that you’re untrackable with airplane mode, well, you’re wrong.
But, if your phone is turned off due to any reasons. Unfortunately, you’re out of luck. Your phone will remain off the radar unless somebody turns it on.
I changed my Google account password. Can I still locate my Android phone?
The answer is YES and NO. Suppose your Google Account is still logged in to your device after the password reset. You will find your phone by following the steps outlined above. But, if your account was logged out, following a password reset. Sadly, that might not work in your favor.
Can I track my lost phone if someone made a factory reset?
A hard reset or factory reset will not make your phone untraceable. You can utilize the track phone using the IMEI online option. No hard reset changed your phone’s factory assigned IMEI.
Can I find my phone using my IMEI number?
IMEI is the unbeatable option in phone recovery. This is the anti-theft option built into your phone. The track phone using the IMEI online method is popular among government organizations.
If you ask the authorities how to track phone calls from another phone? They will tell you they do it using this procedure.
Can I locate my device if someone changed the sim card?
There are numerous ways to recover your phone’s location. The best part is they don’t require your SIM card.
The easiest methods are Google’s Find my Phone’, ‘Samsung’s Find my Gadget’ and countless other third-party apps. You can even get some of these for free.
Finally, track the phone using the IMEI Android method is always a good choice.
My phone doesn’t show up on Find My Device. Why is that?
This problem has many causes. You could have either logged out of your account. Or you probably didn’t give the required permissions. There are other ways to resolve your predicament, however. Try some of the alternatives, as mentioned earlier.
Things you should do ASAP if you find your device or end up getting a new one
First of all, note down your device’s IMEI and set up a password. The other important step is to log into your remote accounts. They could be iCloud, Samsung, or Google, depending upon your device. Make sure you turn on the location settings and allow necessary permissions. Finally, free or purchasable third-party anti-theft apps can save your day.
Activate Find My Device and Location History
Follow these steps for location history:
- Tap the “Location History” option on your Google Account.
- Choose if the account or your devices reports Location History to Google.
- From the top, turn Location History on or off.
Find my device can be accessed easily by any browser. Select the device from the drop-down menu. The location of this device will be available subsequently.
Set a lock screen pattern or password
This is the first step that any responsible phone owner should take. Why wouldn’t you?
All phones come with unique password protection. You could opt for a pattern lock, a PIN, facial recognition, or fingerprint recognition. The choices are plenty. Just make sure you set up a phone lock.
This sums up the various foolproof ways to track and recover your devices. Hopefully, it never comes to that. But, just in case, it does. Now, you have the tools for a fix.