How to locate a cell phone – Benefits and methods


In this condition, the topic of finding smartphones has also been treated with great relevance, providing innovative systems on how to locate a cell phone that are extremely effective and easy to use. The next few lines will look at the ways and benefits in using location on a cell phone, whether it is equipped with the Android or iOS operating system.

Technology is an extremely useful tool for improving daily activities, whether they are related to study, work or entertainment. In recent years, in addition to these issues, large companies have had to engage in dealing with cyber threats and everything related to theft and digital issues.

How to locate a cell phone: premises

Before focusing on what are the methodologies for locating a smartphone, it is appropriate to make some clarifications. For the process of finding one’s device to work, it is essential that both the ecosystem used and the operating system are compatible with the latest technologies. A dated operating system will hardly guarantee an optimal result as much as an ecosystem of a little-known brand. In addition to these elements, there is also the need to activate device detection functions and permissions in advance.

How to locate a cell phone: what it means

When one has the desire to find one’s own or another’s smartphone, one can take advantage of various systems for locating it. Although the best-known one is based on geographic location, exploiting the phone number and connectivity to BTS, in reality several detection techniques can be implemented.

Among the most innovative ones, which can only be applied by some brands, is BT ecosystem interaction. The most famous brands that have worked best for this purpose are Samsung and Apple, these allow the cell phone to be located even without the phone number active and from off. This process relies on a Bluetooth chip inside the smartphone that will automatically connect to those in other devices of the same brand, providing the coordinates for the find.

In most cases, however, especially for Android devices, the most common solution is GPS tracking, which triangulates the location of the phone once you start the dedicated function to search for it.

How to locate a cell phone: legality

One of the most common questions when using a tool to figure out how to locate a cell phone is: but is it legal to locate a person? The answer to this question is not simple, since it is perfectly legal to locate one’s own device, while it may not be for another person’s.

In the latter case, it depends on the conditions of use-if one had the need to find a cell phone of one’s partner, friend, or person with knowledge of such an act, then the tracking process would be legal; whereas if one were to use a tracking procedure for purposes not in accordance with the law, then one would have to be careful.

How to locate a cell phone: benefits

Making use of location can help people in a variety of contexts, often people are led to think that enabling such a function on their smartphone is completely unnecessary, consuming more battery power and providing data to the target platform. Actually, turning on location mode does not affect the performance of the smartphone at all, but it can be very useful in case you misplace it. The benefits to be gained are mainly: discovery, cost, activation, security, and peace of mind.

Finding: one of the advantages of using a tracking tool lies in the rapid finding of the cell phone. With the right steps, one will be able to locate and recover one’s smartphone, eliminating any doubt about where it might be. One is inclined to think that such a function is only useful for finding the cell phone after a theft, but in fact it is a particularly functional system even for those who easily forget the device at home or at work.

Cost: locating your smartphone is also inexpensive, especially if you use proprietary systems. Although there are also paid third-party applications that offer dedicated services for locating electronic devices, in reality in many cases it is enough to take advantage of the functions of one’s Android or iOS operating system to achieve excellent results.

Activation: further advantage of localization is to be identified in its ease of activation. As will be analyzed in the next few lines, activating the correct functions will provide access to a particularly intuitive system, which will need to be activated only when the need arises to find the smartphone.

Security: when you employ localization, you have no problems inherent in the security of your data. The operation of localization, depending on the mode chosen, will focus on the search process ensuring maximum data security. This does not imply data protection on the smartphone, but it frees the device from useful information that could cause malicious attackers to identify personal data.

Peace of mind: as unimportant a benefit as it may seem, turning on the smartphone’s location function allows you to be much more relaxed when you are away from home. In the case of losing the device, it could be recovered even a few minutes later, without necessarily fueling anxiety and worry.

How to locate a cell phone: Android

Those with an Android device can apply more than one effective solution. Specifically, the most interesting methods are to activate the Find Your Phone feature and to opt for third-party applications.

Find your phone function

All Android systems compatible with the Google ecosystem can locate their device with this feature. As you can easily imagine, two-year-old Huawei smartphones are not compatible with Google services; therefore, they are excluded from that method of resolution.

To enable Find Your Phone mode, it is essential to have your Gmail profile credentials handy, as you will need to access settings and permissions in order to get the best performance.

Procured the information pertaining to your Gmail account you should go to the Settings section of your Android smartphone and select the Google item. A window will open in which you will need to select the Find My Device option. OFF will appear, set the bar to ON.

As you can see, it is very easy to activate the default Google feature, but it is important to consider some conditions before activating it. Operating systems with a version prior to 7.0 are not compatible with the localization just reviewed, a condition that forces owners of an outdated system to choose a different solution.

Having done so, the most important work has been done. In case the smartphone is lost or stolen you will need to find it, to do so from a PC just go to the dedicated web page by clicking here and log in with your Google Gmail credentials. Google will list all the devices registered on that account, choosing the cell phone to be found will show the map and the exact location where it is located on the screen.

If one wanted to check the location from another Android device, one would only need to click here to download the official application and log in as a guest.

Alternative solutions

In addition to the process just reviewed, third-party applications can be used that act in the same way and guarantee the same result. Not everyone likes to turn on Google’s geolocation mode. The best alternatives for Android are: Wheres my Droid and Lookout.

Wheres my Droid: this application can be a good anti-theft solution for your smartphone, downloadable directly from the official page or from the Play Store allows you not only to locate a cell phone, but also to hide the application from the Home screen. You can also opt for the paid version costing about $1 per month.

Lookout: one of the strengths of this application lies in location tracking totally free of charge. Certainly those who need additional features may feel the need to purchase the subscription version of about 3 euros per month, but for simple localization it is more than enough. Downloadable at this link.

How to locate a cell phone: iPhone

Apple’s home devices can be located in a number of ways, as anticipated in the previous lines, Apple in recent years has developed a proprietary technology that allows the cell phone to be found simply by taking advantage of products compatible with the same technology.

In principle, however, those who do not have an iPhone 13 or later will still have to rely on tracking with the Internet and GPS enabled. The most suitable solutions are: Where’s and Prey.


This application is completely free and makes it very easy to locate the cell phone, even for those who are not very familiar with technology. The software allows you to get a periodic automatic report of your iPhone’s location, although there is a 10-20 minute constraint in the free version, which can be unlocked with the $5/month paid version.

To use Prey, one must download the software from the App Store and run it after installation. The Start button will appear in the center of the screen; pressing it will start the login phase. At this point you need to register with the platform and log in. In order to activate Prey’s features, location permissions should be enabled; this can be done by going to settings and selecting permissions for both photos and GPS location. By confirming, it will be activated automatically and can be useful when you lose your cell phone.

By going to the official website and logging in, one can then check the location and whereabouts of the lost cell phone.

Where is

Apple provides a dedicated feature for locating a cell phone, very similar to the one called Where is and which uses the Apple ID to activate itself. You must, therefore, know your Apple ID and activate Find My iPhone mode. The latter can be viewed by logging into Settings and then immediately into iCloud.

By making sure you have these requirements, you can proceed to activate the feature, simply go to the iCloud site and enter your Apple ID information. The website will prompt you to choose the iPhone you want to configure, and soon after you will be able to access Find iPhone.

Once all devices are configured, one can then access the same page to check the real-time location. Apple also allows you to set up devices of people who are friends, taking advantage of the Find My Friends feature, which is excellent for finding your device remotely.

How to locate a non-personal cell phone: android

The management of this function can extend not only to the finding of one’s own cell phone, but also to that of others. It should be emphasized that this function must be performed transparently, that is, that the person concerned knows about this activity, effectively taking advantage of an additional function that guarantees discovery even from another account.

Those with an Android operating system should always use the Find My Device feature, as in the previous paragraph, but add the friend account to which to link that feature. In addition to being useful for locating your cell phone, this approach can also help you unlock your profile in the future in case you lose your login credentials.

How to locate a non-personal cell phone: iPhone

Just as for locating a personal cell phone developed by Apple, the same methodology should be applied for a friend’s device. You will need to activate Find My iPhone and have an active Internet connection available.

Once you are certain that these parameters are active, you can proceed to localization by going to the iCloud site. Entering the Apple ID with which the smartphone was registered and the reference model will provide real-time access to is location on the geographic map.

Alternative that guarantees the same results can be found in the Find My iPhone application that will allow the same approach as the website. It is emphasized that this application cannot be installed on operating systems that are too old, such as the iOS 7 version. In case, on the other hand, you owned an iOS 15 or higher, smartphone tracking could take place even when the smartphone is turned off, taking advantage of the dedicated technology.

How to locate a non-personal cell phone: Xiaomi

Users who have purchased a Xiaomi smartphone are well aware of the capabilities of these devices, which, although they are primarily Android versions, show excellent customization capabilities.

Those who have chosen a Xiaomi smartphone can take advantage of the Find Device function based on the famous Xiaomi Cloud. In order for this solution to be activated, it is essential to have a Xiaomi account, either by registering your ID on the official website or through the dedicated section in the system settings.

To activate the location function, it is appropriate to go into: Settings, Mi account, Xiaomi cloud and finally tap on Find device. To obtain the desired results, GPS should be activated.

If the lost device has a connection and active GPS you can find it by going to the service page. Here the login window will appear where you need to enter your Xiaomi account registration information. Upon logging in, the section with the different devices associated with that smartphone will open, clicking on the desired one will provide the location information on the map.

How to locate a non-personal cell phone: with WhatsApp

You can also find someone else’s cell phone by taking advantage of WhatsApp’s location feature. Actually more than a dedicated device location function, it is an alternative system to monitor the movement of the smartphone in real time. In fact, you will need to enable real-time location sharing on your cell phone, which can be 15 minutes, one hour or eight hours.

To initiate this mode, one must press on the Real-time Location option within the WhatsApp application and select the sharing duration.

Once these conditions are set, the smartphone can share the location in real time both privately and in groups. As you can easily imagine such a system is advisable only in extreme or dangerous cases.

How to locate a non-personal cell phone: alternatives

Monitoring with the default Android and iOS feature does not appeal to everyone, providing their data to such important companies in many cases leads one to think that they can also plan marketing strategies targeting their content. In order to free oneself from such diatribes, it is possible to rely on third-party applications, which are certainly more versatile and have a few more features.

Mobile Fence: this app, available only for Android, is best suited for parents who want to keep track of their children’s movements. The software offers several functions for parental control, providing monitoring of all one’s Android devices, adding good location detection. Parents who like to use tablets, smartphones and PCs will find it a versatile and very practical App.

Google Family Link: this application is also available only for Android operating systems, and is in effect one of Google’s official solutions for locating electronic devices. In addition to real-time location, this application also allows you to monitor tablets, smartphones, and devices associated with a Google Gmail account, whether these are teenagers or children.

Norton Family: those familiar with the Norton antivirus developer will have no difficulty using the parental control features of Norton Family, an application available on both Android and iOS. The download is completely free, but to use the software to its fullest you must take out an annual subscription, usually costing less than 95 euros.

Prey: In the previous lines we have enhanced the Prey application for iOS systems, but it can also be downloaded for Android operating systems. The application allows for location monitoring and extremely simple configuration even for those who are not fond of technology and settings. Again, the download is free, but you have to subscribe to the service to unlock several interesting features.

How to locate a cell phone: choosing the ideal system

The approaches to be applied to locating a cell phone vary, although in most cases one uses the features already installed in Android and iOS operating systems, in many cases it is in third-party applications that one can find features specific to one’s needs. But, what are the specifics to evaluate before relying on one software over the other?

Operating system

When you have to choose how to locate a cell phone, it is essential to rely on the operating system best suited to your needs. In recent years, mainly due to new technologies, Apple and Samsung are the benchmarks for locating electronic devices. Choosing a consonant ecosystem can make all the difference when a cell phone is lost. At present, iPhones with iOS 15 or later are unmatched by Android.

Type of use

Another parameter to evaluate in order to obtain an accurate location of one’s cell phone is the type of use of the device. If you are always away from home, it is appropriate to turn on the network connection and GPS to get the desired results, but you should rely on a smartphone with a good battery and that does not constantly turn on power saving.

Target audience

It is not a prerequisite, but it is evident how the cell phone locator function is very useful and used by parents. Monitoring one’s children with quality parental control can also result in a different approach to the software chosen. Not all parents have IT skills to best manage parental control; choosing software that is intuitive and not too complex can make it easier to use on a daily basis.


Choosing a free application might seem like a limitation for locating a cell phone, in fact there is no harm in relying on open source software. As much as a paid program may also guarantee a useful cloud plan for uploading your most important information, in most cases it is more than enough to have features preinstalled in the operating system, especially if it is the latest generation.


When one thinks of the location of a device on a geographic map one is inclined to imagine a red dot that says “you are here,” as much as this view is not too far from reality it is worth noting that one cannot always get the precise location.

Some applications, constrained mainly by the quality of the device, are better able to triangulate position in space, while others can err by as much as several kilometers. Apple from this point of view is best suited for those who want almost pinpoint accuracy.


Different users choose the method and application for cell phone location based on the target ecosystem. Xiaomi, Samsung and Apple have similar functionality, but extremely different in the technology used. Choosing a brand that is reliable and closer to one’s daily activities is definitely more likely to achieve a better result.


When activating the location function of a smartphone or electronic device, there is the task of accessing the reference platform server to display maps and location. So that a reliable location can always be obtained, it is very important that maps can be found. In this respect Google is almost unbeatable, offering extremely fast servers that are virtually never offline.

Remote unlocking/locking

When locating an associated person’s cell phone, it is essential that remote lock/unlock is present. Accessing this feature can be useful to figure out the location of the device even from a friend. For example, if you are in a public park and misplace your cell phone, in case you were in the company and had the right credentials you could track the smartphone a few seconds later.

GPS Management

Some applications provide much more accurate geolocation than others. In recent years smartphones integrate the GPS standard, but it is not difficult to come across devices with alternative, even better solutions, such as Galileo or the like. Checking which type of GPS can make all the difference in finding your cell phone quickly and without positioning errors.

Data Security

Giving out one’s smartphone location permissions causes users to be wary of such a feature. Certainly geolocation more induce several inconveniences, such as advertising ADSs or customized banners, but it must be emphasized that Google and Apple are definitely safer than third-party applications. Relying on corporate giants, as oxymoronic as it may sound, provides greater security for personal data, while software developed by third-party companies, in many cases, does not even specify privacy and data disclosure regulations.

How to locate a cell phone: conclusions

The process of locating a smartphone is very simple, choosing the ecosystem and activating the default features will make it much faster to find your device, be it Android or iOS. The only caveat to consider is the activation of an Internet network and that of GPS, especially for older Android and iOS systems.