How To Track A Cell Phone Location For Free

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You can track a cell phone’s location with free tools and applications, such as Google Maps, Find My iPhone app, spying software, etc. Many third-party phone tracker apps like mSpy or uMobix allow tracking a cell phone location for free. Plus, if your phone gets stolen, you can track it using its IMEI number.

Have you ever needed to know how to track a cell phone location? I did, not once but twice. Once, I was looking for my stolen phone, and second when I was worried about my niece’s location after school and had to track her.

There can be many scenarios when you might want to track a cell phone. But what if such a situation arises, and you have no clue how to track the phone? Well, that won’t happen if you continue to read this guide. By the end of this guide, you will learn how to track Android and iOS devices using different methods.

Even though I’ve only had to track a cell phone a couple of times, I did test all of these methods out to ensure that they work as expected.

Track A Cell Phone With Built-In Apps

Using Find My iPhone [iOS]

iPhone tracking is pretty straightforward, and as I found out while I was testing this method out, it won’t take you more than about 3 minutes

iOS devices have a built-in application to track a cell phone location. It is called the Find My iPhone app.

Find My iPhone is a preloaded app you can find on any iOS device. You can use this free cell phone location tracker app to track mobile devices as long as you have an internet connection. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Open Find My.

    Tap on find my to open it

  2. Tap on “Turn On.”

    Tap on the turn on option

  3. Click on “Devices” and tap on the device you want to find.

    Click on devices at the bottom

  4. You will find the location of the phone, along with other options like “Play Sound,” “Get Directions,” and “Mark As Lost.”

    Screen with the location of the phone alongside other options that can be performed on the target phone

Compatible OS: It’s accessible only on iOS devices.

Throughout my testing, I found two ways to track an Android device’s location for free. The first is using Google Maps, and the second is through Google’s Find My Device service.

Let’s start with the first one.

Using Google Maps [Android & iOS]

Like iOS, you can find a built-in app on an Android phone for tracking locations. The application we are discussing here is Google Maps, which you can download straight from the Google Play Store. Since it uses Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking, the app can show your Android device’s precise and real-time location for free.

Most Android phones have Google Maps already installed. But if you can’t find it in the pre-installed apps, download it from the Google Play Store.

Being a travel enthusiast who loves exploring new places, Google Maps is something I use frequently. But did you know that you can use the Google Map app to track a cell phone location? And after using this a couple of times, it’s definitely one of the easiest location tracking methods you can employ on Android devices. Use the steps below to use the app’s GPS tracker feature to track the target device.

  1. Enable location sharing from the Settings or by pulling down from the home screen.
Two ways to enable location sharing on your phone
  1. Open Google Maps and tap on the profile picture.
Tap on your profile picture in the upper right corner inside the google maps
  1. Tap on the Location sharing option on the next screen.
Click on location sharing from the menu
  1. Click on Share location to start sharing the location of the target phone.
Share location button on the location sharing screen
  1. You will get an option to choose the duration for sharing the location. You can increase or decrease the duration by tapping on the ‘+’ and ‘-’ icon. Alternatively, you can select the “Until you turn this off” option to keep location sharing on until you turn it off. In this case, I chose to go for the latter option.
Select the option until you turn this off
  1. Swipe right on the Gmail accounts to find the “More” option.
More option with a three dots icon
  1. Tap on More and share the location with yourself by typing your name, phone number, or email address.
Page to enter your phone number or email address
  1. Click on Send to share the location.
Click on send button in the bottom right corner
  1. Once the location is shared from the target device, you will get a notification for the same.
Notification from Google about the location sharing
  1. You can tap on the notification to start tracking the phone using GPS location.
Location of the target phone on the Google maps

Compatible OS: It’s supported on both Android and iOS devices.

Using Find My Device [Android]

Alternatively, you can use Google’s Find My Device service to locate your phone. As I found out when I tried this out, you can also obtain your phone’s IMEI number with “Find My Device”. This can then be utilized to locate your phone if it gets stolen. All you need to do to find this service is open Google Chrome and sign in to the same Gmail account the target mobile phone has. After signing in, follow these steps:

  1. Open Chrome and search “Find My Device.”
Search results in the chrome for find my device
  1. Click on Google’s official Find My Device link.
Official link of google for find my device
  1. You will then find all the devices associated with the same Gmail account. Tap on the phone you want to find, and Google will locate the phone for you. If you tap on the 🛈 icon, you’ll also get your phone’s IMEI number.
Select your required phone device from the upper left hand side option

You can also download the “Find My Device” free app from the Google Play Store. The target device should have enabled location sharing for both the above methods to work.

You can also refer to this YouTube video for a visual demonstration of how you can track someone using Google Maps.

Compatible OS: It is available only for Android devices.

YouTube player

Using A Third-Party App Or Website

There are many paid spy apps out there that you can use to track a cell phone. These include apps mSpy and uMobix, both of which I’ve previously tested and reviewed. Although these are paid options, they are well worth the money, as you get many exceptional features for parental monitoring with the premium versions.

But you don’t have to spend money to no avail for some of these features. I’ve tested several third-party location tracking applications and websites that help you track a cell phone location for free. 

An important note, though: you can use a phone spy app to monitor someone’s location. If you are spying on an adult without his or her consent, it is illegal under the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, which was enacted by the US Congress in 1986.

Moving on, here are a few apps that I found extremely useful.

iKeyMonitor [Android & iOS]

Home page of the iKey Monitor

iKeyMonitor  is a parental control app used by over 400,000 parents across 100 countries. It functions as a cell phone location tracker to fetch the live location of the target smartphone through GPS tracking. However, since it is a spy app, iKeyMonitor has many other features alongside cell phone position tracking.

The spy app can help track call history logs, call recordings, keystrokes, browser history, etc. It also stores location history. This means you can even check out previous locations the other person using the phone has visited.

After testing this out on my own phone, I have to say that tracking a cell phone with this app is very easy. All you need to do is sign up for free on the platform, install the application on the phone, and start tracking the cell ph0ne location.

Signup page of the iKey Monitor

iKeyMonitor has a free version and a paid version. With the free version, you get to use limited features of the application. However, phone tracking is a part of the free features. This means you can use it to find a cell phone location for free.

The app’s premium version gives you additional features, such as a key logger, screenshot capture, social media tracking, call recording, etc. The app is compatible with all platforms, including Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS.

Compatible OS: It is compatible with many platforms from Android to iOS, macOS, and Windows.

Spy Phone Labs Phone Tracker [Android & iOS]

Spy Phone Labs Phone Tracker is another phone tracking app for iOS and Android devices. It is a parental control app dedicated to location tracking. This GPS phone tracker app is compatible with both iOS and Android devices.

Here’s how you can use the application for tracking location.

  1. Download and install the application.
  2. Open the application and register your phone.
Phone registration screen of the Phone Tracker
  1. Click on “Send GPS” to share your location or tap on “Click Here to View Contacts in Control Panel” to start tracking.
Instructions to update GPS location
  1. Click on the link that says, “Click Here to View Your Data.”
Link to view your data

Unlike other spy apps I’ve tested before, this one focuses primarily on two things, the smartphone’s location and the apps installed on it. It can save and show you the location history and the current location of the target cell phone through its GPS location tracker. During my testing, I found that Spy Phone Labs Phone Tracker also has other useful features, such as a Panic button, Find Phone, Beep Phone, and contact tracking.

Compatible OS: It’s available for Android and iOS devices.

Glympse Tracking Application [Android & iOS]

Glympse is a free-to-use phone tracking app I recently tried out. You can use the Glympse tracking app for sharing live locations with your family members, friends, or colleagues. It was initially developed as an app for enhancing last-mile delivery customer experience by Glympse, Inc. You can find more about last-mile deliveries on TechTarget, a data-driven marketing service provider with a huge B2B tech company clientele.

The idea was to allow geo-location tracking for customers to track their parcels in the last-mile delivery. But now, Glympse, inc has developed a separate free app to track cell phone location. It is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. You can download it from the Google Play Store or Apple Store based on your device.

I am downloading and running the application on my Android device for demonstration. After testing Glympse out, I have to say that it is a very fast application that’s pretty easy to use. It uses GPS tracking to share the target device’s current location. Here’s how you can use Glympse for location tracking.

  1. Download and open the app.
  2. Tap on the three horizontal lines in the top-left corner.
Three lines in the top-left corner to open menu
  1. Share or request location to track the target phone.
Share or request location options in the left side menu

Compatible OS: It’s compatible with both Android and iOS devices.

Phone Tracker By Number [Android & iOS]

You can also find third-party apps that locate mobile phones using phone numbers. One such example is the Phone Tracker By Number app. You can find this app on Google Play Store and Apple Store. I used my Android phone for this demonstration; you can see each step you need to take to enable location tracking below.

  1. Install and open the app.
  2. Click on “Locate a Phone.”
Locate phone button inside the Phone Tracker app
  1. Choose a cell phone number you want to track.
Choose contact page
  1. Tap on the “Locate” button.
Locate button below the premium version button
  1. Send an invitation to the target number.
Send an invitation button in the middle of the page
  1. Once the invitation is accepted on the target phone number, you can start tracking locations.

You can also track a phone’s call location with a phone number tracking app. This can be useful when you are receiving calls from an anonymous person and want to find out their location. However, the individual has to allow location tracking for this to work.

Compatible OS: It’s available for Android and iOS devices.

Facebook Messenger [Android & iOS]

Facebook Messenger is another free GPS location tracker. If you know someone with Facebook Messenger installed on their phone, they can share their location with you. Here’s how to use Facebook Messenger to share a cell phone location for free.

  1. Ask the friend to open Messenger and then your chat.
  2. Next, ask to tap on the four dots in a square’s shape in the bottom-left corner.
Four dots option in the bottom left corner
  1. Tell them to tap on the Location option.
Blue location button in the messenger
  1. Tell the friend to tap on start sharing live location.
Live location sharing button at the bottom of the page

Once your friend starts sharing the location, you can track his or her cell phone using Facebook Messenger. Unfortunately, I discovered during my testing that this feature isn’t available on Messenger Lite.. So, try it only in the standard Messenger application.

Compatible OS: It’s offered for both Android and iOS devices.

Cell Phone Location Tracking Apps Comparison

I created this comprehensive comparison of cell phone location tracking apps, examining Features, Compatibility, and Costs.

App NamePlatformPriceProsCons
Find MyiOS (built-in app)Free1. Built-in app for tracking iOS devices
2. Accurate location updates
3. Works even if the device is offline or in lost mode
1. Limited to iOS devices only
Google MapsAndroid (built-in app) and iOSFree1. Pre-installed in most Android devices
2. Accurate location updates with GPS
3. Can track multiple devices
1. May not work well in areas with poor network coverage
Find My DeviceAndroidFree1. Can remotely lock and erase the device
2. Accurate location updates with GPS
3. Works even if the device is offline
1. Limited to Android devices only
iKeyMonitorAndroid, iOS, Windows, macOSFree and paid versions1. Offers keystroke and call recording features
2. Tracks location and social media activity
3. Can block apps and websites
1. Expensive premium version
2. Requires installation on the target device
Spy Phone Labs Phone TrackerAndroid and iOSFree and paid versions1. Offers location history and panic button features
2. Works in stealth mode
3. Compatible with multiple devices
1. Limited features in the free version
2. Requires access to the target device
GlympseAndroid and iOSFree1. Allows sharing of live location with friends and family
2. No need for app installation
1. Limited features
2. Requires both parties to have the app installed
Phone Tracker By NumberAndroid and iOSFree1. Can track the phone location using the phone number
2. Works even if the device is offline
1. Requires the individual to allow location sharing and access to their phone number
Facebook MessengerAndroid and iOSFree1. Allows sharing of real-time location with friends
2. Works even if the device is offline
1. Limited to tracking through the Messenger app
2. Requires access to the target device

FAQs

Can I Track The Location Of A Cell Phone For Free?

You can track the location of a cell phone for free by using Google Maps, the Find My Device tool, iCloud Location Tracking, Spying Software, Facebook Messenger, and a few other ways.

Can You Track Someone's Phone Using Google Maps?

You can track someone’s phone using Google Maps by enabling the location-sharing feature on the target phone. Share the location with your email address or number to see the device’s accurate location.

Start Tracking A Phone’s Location For Free Now

Whether you want to track Android or iOS devices, it is easy to track a cell phone location for free. You can use built-in tools like the Find My App or Google Maps. Alternatively, you can opt for a third-party app like a spy app or location-tracker application. Or, you can even use your phone’s IMEI number to track a cell phone if it gets stolen.

There can be many scenarios when you want to track a target device. I’ve had to use numerous tracking apps when I needed to track the location of my loved ones to ensure that they were safe. If you find yourself in a similar situation, use any of the above-mentioned methods to locate the target phone. If you have any doubts or need help tracking a smartphone, let me know in the comments, and I will be glad to help.

About The Authors

  • Kailash Vaviya

    Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

  • Adam Hughes

    Adam Hughes is a senior technical editor who holds a Ph.D. in computational chemistry and has a passion for helping people make the most of technology. He has spent more than 25 years as an IT professional, from writing code and building systems to leading large teams of programmers and engineers. Along the way, Adam has written and edited hundreds of user guides, white papers, and architectural documents across a wide range of technologies and industries. Connect with Adam on LinkedIn.

Photo of author

Kailash Vaviya

Kailash Vaviya is a freelance writer who started writing in 2019 and has never stopped since then as he fell in love with it. He has a soft corner for technology and likes to read, learn, and write about it. His content is focused on providing information to help build a brand presence and gain engagement. You can connect with him on: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

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