Android iPhone and iPad

How to Trace and Find Your Phone’s Location

Ryan Dube Updated 13-12-2019

You have many ways to trace a mobile phone’s location. This is especially true these days, because so many people voluntarily share their location with friends and family.


Both Android and iPhone devices come with built-in location tracking utilities. This is active as long as location services (GPS) on the phone stays enabled, and the owner has provided an app with permission to access their location.

The following are a few ways you can take advantage of those location-tracking services.

Can I Find My Phone Location by Number?

Maybe you’re more interested in tracing the phone location of your family or your friends.

You should know that there is no app that will show you the location of a phone based on a phone number. Any app on the Google Play Store that claims to do this is a scam.

The only way you can ever trace the location of a mobile phone is by installing software onto that phone. The phone owner must also give permission to enable location services on the phone.


The good news is that many people willingly share their GPS location 4 Ways Your Location Is Being Tracked Everywhere You Go These days, it's common knowledge that your phone and computer are tracking your location. But it's not just Google and Facebook. Your whereabouts are being tracked in at least four more ways. Read More . Yes, even many of your own friends.

Find an Android Phone via Device Manager

Tracing the location of your Android phone couldn’t be any easier. So long as you have location services enabled on your Android device, you can visit Android Device Manager’s Find My Device page to get the location of your phone.

Once you do, you’ll see the precise GPS location of your phone identified by a small green icon on Google Maps.

google find my device


To the left of the map, you’ll see three services that you can use if your phone is not currently in your possession:

  • Play a sound: This will ring your phone for five minutes even if the sound is set to silent. If the phone is anywhere in your vicinity, you should hear it.
  • Lock: If you know your phone is lost, you can make sure it’s locked so no one can open it and see your information.
  • Erase: If you’ve lost all hope of finding your phone and want to ensure someone doesn’t discover its sensitive information, you can remotely (permanently) erase everything.

It’s a good idea to make sure you’ve enabled location services on your phone and provided Google with permission to trace your phone location. To do so, head to Settings > Security & Location > Location. Then visit Find My Device in the same menu to enable tracking.

Then if you ever lose your device, you can quickly utilize one of these features to protect your information.

Find an Android Phone via Google’s Find Your Phone

In addition to the Find My Device feature, there’s also a Find Your Phone page with even more features available.


This page will show you a list of every device you’ve logged into your Google account with. Select the phone or tablet you want to locate.

Google Find Your Phone

Once you do, you’ll see a long list of utilities you can use, similar to the Android Device Manager:

  • Check recent security events: This will show you a log of any recent password change or reset requests submitted to Google.
  • Lock your phone: You can immediately lock your phone so no one can access it.
  • Try calling your phone: Gives you access to your contacts list (to find your number if you forgot it) or a Google Hangouts session so you can call your phone.
  • Sign out of Google on your phone: This will log you out of your Google account on the device, so nobody can access your Google account information from it.
  • Reach out to your carrier: Contact your carrier to disable your old SIM card and order a new one.
  • Erase your phone: This will immediately erase everything from your phone.

Pressing the Locate link on the right side of this page is the easiest and fastest way to trace a mobile phone location. It’ll open the Find My Device page so you’ll know exactly where to go pick up your phone.


The option to lock your phone will provide the person who found your phone with a call button they can press (and a customized message you can write to them).

This way, they can use your phone to call you at whatever number you specify. This makes it as easy as possible for whoever has your phone to help you get it back. They don’t even have to dial a number—all they have to do is press the green button!

lock your phone

Keep in mind that the option to erase your device will wipe out everything on the phone. It’s possible that this may not erase any memory cards you added to your phone.

Also, note that when you erase your phone, your Google account information is deleted from it phone. That means you can’t use any of the services above to locate or ring your phone afterward.

Use the erase feature only as a last resort if you’re convinced that you’ve lost your phone and will never get it back. You may want to do this when the battery status on the phone has reached single digits, as you’re likely to lose contact with the phone anyway.

Find an iPhone via Apple’s Find My iPhone

To track the location of an iPhone How to Track and Locate Your iPhone Using Location Services You can track your iPhone and share or find its location using the iPhone Location Services feature. We show you how. Read More , you can use Apple’s Find My iPhone service. But trying to do this from an Android phone results in an issue.

If you try to visit the iCloud page to find your iPhone’s location, you’ll notice that the web page says your browser isn’t supported.

This is Apple’s way of sticking it to Android users. But that’s okay, because you have a way around that.

In Chrome, all you have to do is tap the three-dot menu icon at the upper-right corner of the browser window and select Request desktop site in the dropdown list.

Once you enable this, the sign-in page for iCloud will come up just fine. Sign into your iCloud account, and voila—a map will appear with the precise location of your iPhone.

Just like tracking an Android phone, you must have location services enabled on your iPhone for this to work. And don’t forget that you can log into iCloud from a computer or another device to track your iPhone in the same way.

icloud from browser

Now you know how to trace the location of your iPhone, even if everyone else in your home has an Android device. On the other side of this, we’ve also shown what to do if you find a lost iPhone Found a Lost or Stolen iPhone? Here's What to Do Found a lost or stolen iPhone? Here's how you can try to unlock a lost iPhone and return it to its rightful owner. Read More .

Find a Mobile Phone via Facebook

If you open the Facebook app on your phone, open the menu and scroll down. You’ll see a Nearby Friends link.

Select this, and you’ll see just how many of your Facebook friends have enabled sharing their location with friends on Facebook (or unwittingly shared it).

facebook location

This area of the Facebook app will show you friends’ last location when they logged into Facebook. This is the easiest way to identify the location of your friends through their phone. But it only works if they’ve enabled the location feature in Facebook.

Another way Facebook offers location tracking is through the Messenger app. Facebook offers the ability to share your live location with anyone via the Facebook Messenger app.

You can do this inside the Messenger app. Pressing the Plus icon to the left of your message, and choose the location icon.

facebook location android blurred

This will show the message recipient a small map with the location of your phone on it.

Share Your Location on Google Maps

Another cool way you can let your family or friends trace the location of your phone is by sharing your location via Google Maps—one of Maps’ best hidden features.

If you open Google Maps and access the left menu, you’ll see a Location sharing option in the list.

When you tap it, you’ll have the option to share your phone location. You can specify a time period or permanently share your location until you turn off the feature.

Maps lets you pick the people you want to share your location with. Once you and your friends share your location with each another, you’ll see each other’s location on the map, identified with your Google account’s profile image.

This is an awesome way for a parent to provide the family with peace of mind when they’re away for any reason. It’s also a great way for parents to track their child’s location and not constantly worry about where their kids are.

Location Access on Mobile Devices Is Useful

Whether you go with Facebook, Google, or one of the phone finding services described above, locating a phone is far easier than it has ever been. There’s really no reason you should ever be in the dark about where your phone is—or even the phones of loved ones.

For more great apps like these, check out Android apps that make awesome use of your location 7 Nifty Android Apps That Make Great Use of Your Location Your smartphone location is far more useful than just for Google Maps. These Android apps use your location in nifty ways. Read More .

Related topics: Android Device Manager, Google Maps, GPS, Location Data.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Danielle A West
    March 6, 2018 at 8:49 pm

    I just had my iPhone stolen from me. I had Find My iPhone turned on but the thief shut my phone off almost immediately. Does anyone know of any solution to this as far as tracking it down? Please help!!!

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  7. rk
    June 20, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    Is this a recycled article? Some comments are from 2009! Also, there is a lot of ads/spam like comments here. PS: I see that you covered the topic of finding an iphone with Android. How about finding an Android with an iphone?

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  10. sreenu
    January 25, 2017 at 5:11 pm

    i lost my phone how can i found

  11. townhouse renovation
    October 19, 2016 at 3:12 pm

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  12. christ
    July 20, 2016 at 11:38 am

    Hi frnds,
    i lost my phone.. but i con't able to search. please help to find my phone using gps.

    • Mike Cecil
      July 30, 2016 at 5:25 am

      If its apple i Find My Iphone or or Samsung Back Country GPS.

  13. Anonymous
    June 10, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    try spytomobile application

  14. Anonymous
    June 10, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    I recommend you the app which shows WhatsApp messages and calls. It is completely invisible and works great.

    • ashegh
      August 15, 2016 at 7:40 pm

      Please go chat me in the telegram. my telegram's ID is Dardeferagh.
      I am a student and I desire friendship you.

  15. prashant
    May 16, 2016 at 4:14 am

    here all are questions no answer

  16. Christiana
    May 9, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    Is this site a hoax or what? I have paid for a subscription of One year to be able to use this tool, on how to trace a mobile phone number anywhere in the world and I still have not been able to use it.please how can I get a refund of my money.

  17. yugi
    March 17, 2016 at 8:34 am

    please help me. I want to track my girl friend. urgent please

    • Damien
      March 31, 2016 at 12:30 pm

      i'm tryin to do the same thing

      • yugi
        March 31, 2016 at 11:40 pm

        did u find any tool??

        • Damien Lopez
          April 1, 2016 at 11:12 am

          I didn't i'm sorry buddy

    • jeffrey
      April 23, 2016 at 8:43 pm

      please help me,how can i track if where is my husband?

  18. Hemant kumar arya
    March 16, 2016 at 7:03 am

    Awesome post. Now We can track any phone in just 5 minutes and get the exact location when is your phone.
    You helped me alot so I just wanna say thanks to you...
    Thank you ?

  19. arsal khan
    February 19, 2016 at 6:27 pm

    how i can trace the locaton of any stranger through gmail account ???????? plz tell me

    • faiza
      January 19, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      did you get it?

    • faiza
      January 19, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      did u get it?

  20. Anonymous
    November 4, 2015 at 10:27 am

    how about iKeyMonitor Spy App for iPhone and Android?I saw they have free trial available to download.

  21. Anonymous
    October 27, 2015 at 2:53 am

    bisakah itu dipergunakan di negara saya? (indonesia)

  22. Ryan Dube
    April 7, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    Only if you install software like this that lets you.

  23. alfred m
    April 7, 2015 at 2:33 pm

    Is there really a way of tracking a friend by their cell phone?

  24. Mohammad rizwan
    April 6, 2015 at 9:20 am

    how i can trace last Exit location of my mobile where off.any body can help me

  25. wedrod
    February 12, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    Will the person know you are tracking their phone

  26. Apoorv hendre
    February 8, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    My couaen sister was gone
    from my home because fighting with her please

  27. hamed
    December 16, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    kiram to roheton downloadesh kojas in kar bahash chejoriyee ridam b in radyabiton

  28. asif
    December 13, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    plz trace this no 03034971712

  29. tj
    February 13, 2010 at 10:35 am

    One thing if you are squeeky clean. Another if you are being tracked or you are a member of anything the Gov is querrying about. Its very very dangerous to get yourself tracked. You are basically opening up yourself to everyone who can look for you, even the FBI or any other entity.

  30. ayu
    January 8, 2010 at 8:29 am cant work with my phone. do any one know here how to locate phone number (especially a phone which is not configure with a google map such as the old phone)
    im sure no body know it because old technology can be safe

  31. Johnny Doe
    December 27, 2009 at 1:38 am

    This also works on wifi. I guess google or someone goes out and maps the latitude and longitude of wireless access points and it will display your location that way. It's pretty accurate also, to within 300 meters. I was surprised to find that they had mapped the Wifi in my neighborhood.

  32. Pratik
    December 16, 2009 at 12:11 am

    Hey friends I have a query I hope u’ll me. If I am not interested to join Google Latitude then am I able to find location of people with their numbers…??
    I search on internet then I got the results only to find the state but I need help to find the proper address…!!
    Can anyone of u help me out from this problem plzzzz…??

  33. Ritesh
    December 4, 2009 at 10:40 am

    How can I get the location of my friends cell number

    • Ryan Dube
      December 5, 2009 at 9:31 am

      Google Latitude has to be installed on the phone for it to work, your friend needs to be willing to install and run Google Latitude on their phone. After that, you can trace their phone no matter where they are.

  34. Alex
    November 18, 2009 at 10:16 am

    Informative, however, does it really work? Thanks for reply.

  35. sourabh
    October 18, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    hi manoj can u tell me from where can i download the software to locate the mobile by tower location

  36. Zelda 1
    October 3, 2009 at 1:55 pm

    I have 5 Cell phones on my US Cellular Family package.
    Mine is the only one that has Win Mobile, the others are the typical cell phones. I have the HTC Touch Pro,it has lattitude on it & I use it.
    I want to be able to track them some how with lattitude,
    Or some other application, preferrably on my cell phone.

  37. tashkeel
    October 3, 2009 at 1:52 am

    yea there is a way you can find mobile number by imei number no: then location by that number.

  38. tashkeel
    October 3, 2009 at 1:51 am

    yea there is a way you can find mobile number is imei number no: then location by that number.

  39. Esha
    September 18, 2009 at 7:36 am

    Hey friends I have a query I hope u'll me. If I am not interested to join Google Latitude then am I able to find location of people with their numbers...??
    I search on internet then I got the results only to find the state but I need help to find the proper address...!!
    Can anyone of u help me out from this problem plzzzz...??

  40. UCI Study
    September 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    We are researchers studying people’s attitudes towards Google Latitude. If you have heard of Google Latitude (whether you have used it or not) and are at least 18 years old, we would like to talk with you. Please email us back at .

    We are conducting this research under the Institute for Software Research at the University of California, Irvine.

  41. Claire
    September 9, 2009 at 7:55 pm

    My phone was stolen a few hours ago (D:), and I was searching the internet for hours on end trying to find the EXACT location on my phone. It was brand new and the best phone I have ever had... so I won't stop until I find it.

    Can it track the exact latitude and longitude location it is at at that current time?

  42. Ryan Dube
    August 25, 2009 at 5:23 am

    Hey Desmond - thanks for your comment & question. No, Google Latitude will work across the globe wherever there are cell towers (cellular service). Give it a shot and let us know how it works for you!

  43. Desmond
    August 22, 2009 at 6:43 pm

    Hey RYAN,you gat a nice posts here.I appreciate.But I have this question. Is this whole thing dependent on ones geographical area? I'm commenting from nigeria. So is it really possible here?

  44. chiru
    August 19, 2009 at 1:54 am

    as well as good desistion

  45. Matt
    August 1, 2009 at 7:27 am

    Try mr tracker from works pretty good. I've been using it for work purposes for atleast 3 months now. it allows you track a mobile phone by sms. abit freeky but works great.

  46. Pallav
    July 27, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    my g-map is giving me a weird location. even when I'm in Mysore, India. it's showing my location in Ukraine. can any body help.

  47. Al
    July 7, 2009 at 2:59 pm

    My blackberry keeps running latitude in the background (eats up the battery) How to i turn off as i can find the latitude logon/off screen on my phone

  48. sudha
    June 30, 2009 at 11:01 am

    If any way to trace mobile through IMEI No.

    • Silent
      July 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm

      I'd be interested in that fo show!~

  49. SamayCSA
    June 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm

    Thanks for a great article, I just wanted to let you know that Microsoft has a similar technology, that lets you find your laptop anywhere on Microsoft's Virtual Earth, its called Microsoft Location Finder. Note that this does not need any mobile connectivity, just the Wi-Fi capabilty of your laptop, and it will post the location of your laptop.

    • Dana
      March 4, 2015 at 8:39 am

      Ryan morning no I have no comment. I have another problem. I am trying to find the location of where my son is at this stage. We have some difficulties in the past and he left our town without any notification a year ago. It start working on his mother and I have no answer for her. AlI have is a cell number. How can I find his location just to show to her okay he is there.

  50. Russell
    May 30, 2009 at 3:44 am

    I cant use it on my mobile... but is it possible can i use it on net ?

    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:31 am

      Yes - if you go to the Google page listed in this article, there's an online map associated with your account. You can set your current location manually using that map so that even if your mobile doesn't update Google Latitude, you still can.

  51. sufyan
    May 28, 2009 at 9:06 am

    I started playing with this and a few friends as soon as I heard of it. I only really see it being useful beyond a novelty in an innocent sense for a) finding your phone when lost or stolen/your friend if kidnapped and b) at a parade or some big public out door event where you want to have an easier time coordinating with lots of friends where to hang out etc. meet up.

    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:30 am

      I think the usefulness is limited only by creativity. For example, what about these uses:

      1. Several family members traveling over the holidays to a single location, everyone can see how close everyone else is.
      2. A project manager could use it to identify where all his/her field agents are with one glance.
      3. Long-distance truck-driving companies could use it as a low-cost (free) alternative to using GPS for locating where there trucks are currently at.

      etc...the list goes on and on, folks just need to have some imagination.

    May 24, 2009 at 1:53 pm


    • Ryan Dube
      May 30, 2009 at 7:26 am

      That's why google provided the ability for you to add updates/comments which will show up. This is essentially just like a Twitter update (which all your friends viewing you on the map can see) except it's in graphical format.

  53. Ryan Dube
    May 6, 2009 at 4:19 am

    Hi Shreela, great question. Yes, if you look on the Google Latitude page, just below the login there's an option to add the widget to iGoogle. I don't believe you need to enter your phone number to do that? Just log in with your Google ID and it'll get added, then you can manually enter your location on that page. Good luck, and let me know if you run into any brick walls... I've never considered the non-phone approach, but both you and Mike bring up some excellent non-PDA uses.

  54. Ryan Dube
    May 6, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Hey Michael...haha, I hear ya on the Internet connection while driving point. Can't tell you how many times my wife has scolded me to "put that thing away!" My phone, that is... Anyway, yes, you need to be able to run Google Maps on your phone, and most standard cellphones either can't, or they don't have the data plan to support it, as you point out. On the flip side, you CAN add the widget to iGoogle and manually set wherever you are (or are going to be) so that friends and family know what's up. You make a good point though - Google really should consider allowing people to somehow text there location to Latitude after signing up..that would be a cool feature...

    • aimee
      January 13, 2010 at 6:39 pm

      idont have internet on my phone am i able to track it down on my pc internet?

  55. Michael The Dumb Tech Geek
    May 6, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Does Google have a blog we can make these suggestions to? I've got some issues with Google Calendar as well.

  56. Shreela
    May 5, 2009 at 9:26 pm

    I want to join, but don't want to put in my phone number. I just want to manually enter my nearest major intersection so people would know which part of town I'm from. But I can't see a way to join without providing my phone number.

    • jacksparrow
      January 15, 2010 at 9:30 am

      then wats the point of the whole thing??

  57. Michael The Dumb Tech Geek
    May 4, 2009 at 8:07 am

    I think it is quite cool that you can track your location even without the GPS functionality. But my question behind this service was, is a data plan necessary? I'd love if it weren't, but since "accessing sites from your phone" kept getting mentioned I'm thinking a data plan is a necessity for this service. Which is a shame because I'm all about the texting but can't justify the expense of a data plan since the only place I don't have an Internet connection is when I'm driving. And everyone who loves me doesn't WANT me to have a connection at those times :-)

  58. Rasputin
    May 3, 2009 at 4:07 pm

    The drawback to Google Latitude is that it doesn't run in the background. If you switch to another application, your position updates will stop.

    • Omar Qureshi
      May 4, 2009 at 1:13 am

      Not true - it actually depends on your mobile device / operating system. On BlackBerry and Symbian handsets, Google Maps/ Latitude runs in the background and keeps updating the location.

  59. wow
    May 3, 2009 at 11:50 am

    I think this is totally scary. What ever happened to privacy? When will they have a i-poop app that tweets my color and level of stink of my poop? Seriously, too much info.

  60. Ryan Dube
    May 3, 2009 at 10:53 am

    Yeah - it resolution depends a great deal on where the nearest cell towers are. My friend and I tested it this weekend to see how accurate it was. He has Verizon and there's a cell tower right in town - it had his location correct right down to town level (not building - it can't do that). My resolution was more vague, it had me in the next town over, and I'm assuming it's because that's where the AT&T cell tower was located. In the end though, it shows you more or less where your friends are (if they "share out" their position, that is). Privacy IS a setting within Google Latitude, and you can even turn off your location if you like so you essentially go "invisible" to either all friends, or select ones, as outlined in the article. Thanks for the great feedback everyone.

    • Kranz
      May 3, 2009 at 9:43 pm

      Latitude uses GPS if it is available on your phone, which makes the location reporting far more accurate.

      In addition to being able to turn of sharing of your position, you can also custom set your position that is shared. You could potentially say you are in NYC when you are really in LA.

  61. Lint
    May 3, 2009 at 10:43 am

    Resolution is vague, you can't even be sure if someone is really at that street or the next, or the next one.
    And I'm talking about a gps-enabled device, not just triangulation which less accuracy than gps.
    The update freq is even worse, about once a minute here.
    The tech is great, but I guess they limit its power due to privacy concerns, like someone attaching a cell phone into your car to track you down...

  62. cardgame
    May 3, 2009 at 9:26 am

    there is one MAJOR draw back to all of this... Privacy. What if I DON"T what to be found. What if I am interviewing at a competitor while my boss is looking for me, what if I am buy a present for my wife at a particular high end store. For that matter what if I am at the stripclub and don't want my girlfriend to find out, or a sporting event when I was suppose to be with a "sick friend". There are a multitude of reasons why any number of people DO NOT want to be found. And using tools like this can be an infringement.

    Beleive me, as soon as someone gets located doing something they were not suppose to and it resulted in trouble (divorce, being fired, etc) the lawsuits are going to fly.

    • budda
      May 24, 2009 at 8:33 pm

      If you've got a wife and a girlfriend, you've got trouble already, dude!

  63. the daily gadget
    May 3, 2009 at 7:43 am

    now this is really cool. only a matter of time before someone finds a way to track phones without permission though :/

    • CoB
      November 2, 2009 at 7:29 pm

      Tracking cell phones without permission is easy. You guys just haven't figured it out yet.

      • jamy
        November 20, 2009 at 11:07 am

        how do you do it?

      • sabi
        December 5, 2009 at 5:33 am

        how do u track cellphones without permission?

  64. Al
    May 3, 2009 at 6:46 am

    What's the resolution? Can I zoom in to see which room of a building a person is in or is the resolution at the "cell tower" range which could be from a few thousand feet to miles.

    They need to tie this into the phone camera for a live friend "street view" service!

  65. Ryan Dube
    May 3, 2009 at 4:47 am

    AJ, I'm not sure I understand what you're saying. This article IS about triangulating a cell phone's actual position using Google Latitude....? You can see from the screen shot above where I show how to set up a friend and then there are even sample screenshots of Latitude triangulating his position as well as mine.

    If you're talking about a way to do that without someone's permission, that's a whole different ballgame. I doubt Google (or anyone) would ever enable that ability due to privacy issues. I would be interested in hearing what other people think about that concept though (if Google would remove that step and you could track anyone by cell number alone...) Just think of the ramifications of that...

    • Gints
      July 25, 2009 at 7:17 am

      i dint get !! how can i track my frend location ? where i shuld to put his phone number to get the location ?

    • My Location (requires a lot)
      January 17, 2010 at 6:54 am

      I beg to differ. A friend of mine was able to trace me on his Blackberry with just a phone number and I never accepted anything. I did not accept an invite like what is required on the My Location feature on the Latitude app. I recall vaguely Latitude's introduction and the 2009 update, but where is that app that just tells you where a friend is on the iPhone with just a phone number. He was able to locate me and I was like how did he do that?

  66. AJ
    May 3, 2009 at 1:53 am

    Your title is really misleading.

    You make it seem like you can triangulate a cell phone's actual position or something using Google Latitude.

    Instead it's just a basic user's guide for getting into Latitude.