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Top 8 Apps & Services For Tracing A Mobile Phone Location [iOS, Android, WP7 & Others]

Tim Brookes 11-05-2012

tracing a mobile phone locationThere are a couple of good reasons you might want to tracing a mobile phone location. Theft is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to smartphones, due to the amount of personal data being carried around in our pockets on a daily basis.


Keeping track of friends and family is another potential use and can be useful for keeping a traveling party together or meeting up for lunch in a busy park without so much as a text message 3 Useful Apps To Replace Your Mobile Text Messaging Plan Read More or phone call.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some of the options.

Security Tracing

The following apps are designed to find a phone you suspect has been lost or stolen.

Find My iPhone (iOS)

This one is naturally limited to iPhone users only (though the general principle is identical for iPad and iPod Touch owners) and is Apple’s proprietary method of locating a lost mobile. In order to use the service you will need to have updated your iPhone to iOS 5 and set up iCloud How to Set Up iCloud For Your iOS Devices No doubt the most welcomed feature of the latest iOS 5 update for the iPhone, iPod, and iPad is Apple rolling out iCloud and wireless Wi-Fi connectivity for its smart mobile devices and Macs. Many... Read More over at

tracing a mobile phone location


Once done you can login with your Apple ID credentials and click on “Find my iPhone”. The website will then attempt to locate the device and provide options for playing a sound, sending a message or even locking and remotely wiping the contents of the device.

Similar to Find my iPhone above for iOS, Lookout Mobile Security provides a web-based control panel from which users can locate their Android device 6 Best Apps to Use When You've Lost Your Android Phone It's amazing how even the most organised individuals can occasionally find themselves up that notorious creek without a paddle. Plan B is the application to install when your phone is already missing. However, if you're... Read More . Once the app has been installed and your device goes missing you’ll be able to disable silent mode to sound a loud alarm, remotely enable GPS to facilitate locating your device and view the location on a map.

tracing mobile phones

The software also provides a good antivirus solution, making it an all-rounder in terms of protecting your device and data. However, there’s always the possibility of your phone going missing without any tracing software installed, and in these instances it’s reassuring to have Plan B available to you.
Also developed by Lookout, Plan B can actually be installed after your phone has been lost via Google Play Google Announces Google Play: A New Cloud-Based Service For Google Apps, Music, Movies & Books [News] Read More . It will automatically start when installed and email the location of your phone to your Gmail address. You can then query for location fixes by texting “locate” to your number from a friend’s phone. While limited in its uses, Plan B is a great last resort for missing phones.


Find My Phone (Windows Phone 7)

Microsoft’s equivalent to Find my iPhone, this service allows users to login at in order to locate their device on a map. In addition to basic location, it’s possible to ring, lock and erase the contents of your device remotely from any Internet-connected computer.

tracing mobile phones

To use the service, simply login using the same Windows Live ID connected to your phone, click My Phone and then Find My Phone.


Prey is all-round protection for your devices from thieves. We’ve covered the program extensively Track Down and Recover Your Stolen Laptop With Prey Read More in the past, and it’s available for Android and iOS as well as Mac OS X, Windows and Linux computers too. At the time of writing the iOS version is pending review thanks to some “problems” encountered by Apple’s app review team, but the developers plan to “fix” and re-release the app as soon as possible.


tracing mobile phones

Android and desktop OS users can go right ahead and install the software. Once a device goes missing users should send an SMS to their Android phone to enable the software or mark the device as missing on the Prey control panel so that the software begins locating your device.

Social Tracing

Sometimes you just want to keep in touch with friends via location, and these apps will allow you to do so.

Find my Friends (iOS)

iOS users (that’s iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch) can download Apple’s own Find my Friends app to keep in touch with friends who are also using Apple devices. Friends can be added according to their Apple IDs and once you’ve got a contact or two you can precisely locate that person’s current location on a map.


free mobile phone tracing

Find my Friends automatically shares your location on-demand with contacts of your choice. You can choose not to share your location or use a temporary location if you’re concerned about privacy. This is by far the simplest way for iPhone users to stay connected, but is limited to iOS devices only.

Google Latttude (iOS, Android & Others)

An ideal cross-platform device for tracking your friends from iOS, Android, Blackberry, Symbian and even Windows Mobile (that’s pre-Windows Phone). It is also possible to use Latitude via a web browser and once you’ve racked up a few miles worth of logs Google uses your location data to build up some interesting diagrams based on your activity.

free mobile phone tracing

While Latitude is the closest thing here to a “cross-platform” location tracking service, be aware that a number of users have complained about serious battery drain thanks to location services being used fairly regularly while the app is running.

Foursquare (iOS, Android, Windows Phone & Others)

While Foursquare operates a little differently to the apps I’ve already listed here, it’s still a potentially useful tool for tracking down friends and colleagues. What makes Foursquare different is the fact that users need to actively check-in to locations in order to share their whereabouts with you.

free mobile phone tracing

Foursquare is not an app for precisely picking someone out of a crowd at a ball game, but it will let you know roughly where your friends are and notifies you of nearby check-ins which is handy for meeting people on a whim or discovering you’re both at the same supermarket.

tracing a mobile phone location

It’s also quite a fun game to play, and is perfect for those who are uncomfortable constantly sharing their exact location. While Facebook also does check-ins now, I find Foursquare to be more rewarding thanks to badges, tips and potential discounts for check-ins and mayor-ships.


These are a selection of the best apps for tracing a mobile phone location and finding friends in a crowd. At the moment it would seem that Windows Phone 7 could do with a few more apps and solutions, though Microsoft’s own Find My Phone feature is a great tool to have at your disposal. Those of you using Android and iOS are almost spoiled for choice – just don’t forget to set up your tracking software before your phone goes missing!

Have you got any favorite solutions for tracing a mobile phone? Do you share your location at all times using Latitude or Find My Friends? Or is Foursquare more your sort of thing? Have a say in the comments, below.

Image Credit: Shutterstock

Related topics: Geotagging, GPS, Smartphone Security.

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  1. Anonymous
    June 9, 2015 at 3:14 pm

    Hey guys! Do you know ? They don't have an iOS version yet, but it works well for me.

  2. Ilzam
    May 19, 2015 at 3:17 pm


    I am looking at an app which can be used for iOS and android. I want something which will work on both platforms as I know most of the apps is just purely a single platform (ie: either works only for iOS or android) so that you can connect to friends on both platforms.

    Let me know if this is available.


  3. Stacy
    February 19, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    I suppose everyone uses Foursquare/Swarm nowadays, and since Swarm is tracking you constantly by defoult, you are always visible to your friends, unless you turn this feature off. Which is of course preferable thing to do.

    However some use professional tracking apps instead, which cannot be easily detected. The only way to avoid it is to keep an eye on your own phone, because to operate properly, they need to be installed on your device.

    [Comment moderator's note: Removed a link in the comment because the site had malicious scripts]

  4. Alan F.
    December 12, 2014 at 9:09 pm

    Very goot HLR lookup service to locate mobile phone You can try for free!

  5. Samantha
    December 10, 2014 at 4:45 pm

    Very informative article indeed. Could you please mention an extraordinary Cellphone GPS Tracking app like theonespy for the sake more brightness in content. It will look more impressive with the addition of this parental control app

  6. Daniel Brito
    October 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    Also a great app is App2Find. Available for android and iOS. Check

  7. Autumn Haney
    October 8, 2012 at 5:20 am

    my iphone 3g is no where to be found and its dead. i need to locate it by using my number or any accounts.. Please someone help me??

  8. Adam
    September 18, 2012 at 3:58 pm

    Another mobile phone tracking app not on here is

  9. davidvilla
    September 9, 2012 at 6:30 pm

    A new app that realy works and helps you with your friends that call you when you dont realy want to... it's the : IDpro announce the incoming caller’s names, helps you screen the incoming calls – works with earpiece/Bluetooth/speaker, IDPro also announce the incoming caller name when you receive a waiting call and much more!!!

  10. Thomas j
    August 14, 2012 at 9:49 pm

    try "mr tracker" app , check to see if it is compatible first and your country network provider aswell. make sure you have you know your imie location. i know it works for the nokia n9 dont know about the lumia 800. there are a few apps out there but you have to pre install them. if u have not done so mr tracker would probarly be your best choice , its around 20 dollars from mrxsystem website. i hope it helps you.

  11. Steve
    August 11, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    What if the thief does factory reset on the iPhone or Android?



    • Tim Brookes
      August 13, 2012 at 5:07 am

      Then I'm afraid you're out of luck, as the phone will be completely erased back to its factory settings. In this instance, your best bet is to call up your network carrier so they can ban the phone from the network by blacklisting the IMEI.

      If you haven't already, make a note of your IMEI (keep it hidden) and then you can always ruin the thief's spoils.

      • Mia Sophia
        November 2, 2018 at 2:49 am

        Use an Android spy app to spying someone without any trouble. Just simple visit BlurSpy Android spy app. Also, you can monitor your teen's activity and catch a black sheep in your office with the help of BlurSpy Android spy app.

  12. Seppe
    May 11, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    where's my droid is also great