It is only a matter of few seconds: you leave your phone on a counter in the store and walk away, or someone bumps into you on the streets and lifts your phone right out from your pocket or purse without you even noticing. Losing a phone, be it from theft or your mistake, is a stressful experience. It not only cuts off your access to the rest of the world, but your phone is the most personal device you own.
There could be a lot of sensitive data on your smartphone like the emails, passwords, banking information, contacts, photos, videos and important documents to name a few which the hackers can track and blackmail or use it to defame you. So, it’s critical that if your Android phone is lost or stolen you need to find it as soon as possible.
That’s why it’s good to know how to track Android phone. The good news is that there are various ways some free while others paid to help you track your phone.
The Free Ways to Track Android Phone
There are tools built-in every Android phone that makes it possible to lock and track your Android phone with ease.
Create a Secure Lock Screen
Do yourself a favor and turn on passcode and fingerprint authentication and do yourself another favor by not using facial recognition. The technology used in facial recognition on most Android phones can be easily tricked with a photo of your face. Create a secure passcode and set up fingerprint authentication in the Settings under the security section. An extra step to unlock your phone is worth the effort when your phone gets lost as your info won’t be easy to access.
Google’s Find My Device
When you sign into an Android device with Google account, Find My Device automatically turns on. It helps you to track Android phone, remotely lock and remotely erase the data. You just need to log into a computer with your Google account that’s also linked to your lost Android phone and every 10 minutes you will receive a report with the location of your device. All thanks to GPS functionality integrated into mobiles.
Track with Google Timeline
Another free way to track down your Android phone is to use Google’s Timeline function, which is generally used to keep track of places visited by checking the location with Google’s account. But unlike Find My Device, Timeline doesn’t use GPS. Instead, it connects to 2G, phone antennas and Wi-Fi networks to pinpoint a location, so it can work even if it is off.
It doesn’t offer real-time reports, but you will be able to know the road your device is following and maybe even recognize a pattern.
Track with IMEI Number
IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15 digit code and is like an identity certificate for your phone. Every time a phone user uses a different network to make or receive a call, send or receive a message, the phone’s IMEI number is automatically emitted and tracked. The police and service providers have databases in which these ID numbers fall into white and blacklists.
Therefore, you can report your IMEI number and make it blacklisted when your phone was stolen. Getting to know your IMEI Number is very easy, just dial *#06# and your unique ID will appear or navigate through Settings and tap About Phone to check the IMEI code of your device.
How to Track Android Phone – Paid Ways
Cerberus is the most feature-rich option to help track your Android phone. You need to install it in your phone early on and if your device gets lost, you can pull up a list of calls sent and received. The app icon can be hidden so that the crook doesn’t realize you have it installed, and you can even turn on the microphone in hopes of hearing them speak. However, the app is only free for a week. If you still want to use it after that, you will need to pay a one-time fee of $2.99. Still, for the amount of functionality you get, this just may be the best for your money.
It is a cross-platform solution that can track phones, laptops, tablets, and all sorts of other devices. Free and premium versions are available. The free version lets you set geo-fencing areas and receive an alert when the perimeter is breached, see your phone’s GPS location, take photographs of thieves, and activate remote locking. This limits you to three devices per account.
The premium version costs $10 and offers unlimited devices and adds remote data wiping and remote file retrieval. The app is hidden and can only be installed with a password.
This anti-theft app has all the regulars, remote lock and wipe, SMS activation, ring alert even in silent mode, hide from view mode, and GPS-enabling feature. You can also recover the most recent call logs. Besides, it can help you even there is no a SIM card plugged in. Both free and paid pro versions are available. The Pro account is available at a monthly subscription and lets you track the movements of the stolen smartphone with a history map so you know where your device is heading. You also get protection for multiple devices and receive notification for when it leaves a pre-selected fenced-in area.
Things to Keep in Mind When Tracking Your Android Phone
Don’t confront thieves
If your phone has been stolen and you have tracked down the location, do not attempt to recover it yourself. Doing so could lead to you or someone else getting hurt, and despite the importance of a phone, it’s simply not worth it. Contact the local police and let them help recover your lost phone.
Contact your carrier, file an insurance claim
If it becomes clear that you will never get your phone back, contact your carrier and report your lost or stolen phone. This process will blacklist the phone from the carrier’s database so that another person cannot use it. When you call, your carrier will suspend your services. This is a good idea if you want to prevent someone from using your phone.
These are the ways to track down your lost Android phone, but we hope you never have to go through the emotional roller coaster of losing a phone, tracking it down, and trying to get it back.