When you first hear the term tracking a phone you are probably spurred to think of illegal phone tracking like the NSA or another government agency has been accused of doing. This is not the case, there are many times when you might need to track an Android Phone. Say, for example, you can’t remember where you last left your phone, if you phone has been stolen, or you want to keep an eye on your young kids. In all of these cases tracking a phone is perfectly legal and an accepted tool.
Android Device Manager
All modern Android devices now come with a built-in app called Android Device Manager. This app is used for keeping track of your devices should they be lost or stolen. When testing the app most people find that it is extremely accurate, more so than some of the competition.
Once the site has loaded you simply select the device you want to track in the top left box. After selecting the device, you click the locate icon and the device is located. It displays the last time located, the city and state, last time online, and accuracy of the location.
For those that have simply lost their device and do not believe it to be stolen, you can ring your phone from the website. Whether the phone is in silent mode or vibrate, or even the volume reduced, the app will raise the volume to full and play your default ringtone for a full five minutes unless you cancel it by pressing the power button. This can be especially helpful if you lose your phone under a couch pillow, have placed your groceries over it, or left if in your pants pocket when you changed.
For people that think their phone has been stolen, they can find the current location of the device on Android Device Manager but can go into more detail than that. They can lock the device with a new password, a recovery message, and have the phone display a phone number for the person to call. If you are worried about the data on your phone getting into the wrong hands you can erase the phone remotely.
Google Maps Timeline
Another feature that is built into all modern Android devices is Google Maps Timeline, formerly Google Location. This website enables you to view where your device has been since Google Timelines (Location) started.
To access this feature from Google Maps go to the Google Maps website and click the menu icon in the search box. A menu pops out from the left side and then select your timeline. Google Timeline will load and you can select the year, month, and day to view or just view all history.
Google Timeline has two major faults. First, it will show you all of your device’s location history. For most people this doesn’t matter as they only have one device that is constantly giving a location. Second, the program isn’t quite as accurate as Android Device Manager. It will show locations to within one or two blocks which is accurate enough for most needs.
Third Party Apps
There is a selection of third party apps that you can use to track phones too. These apps generally fall into one of two categories: apps for tracking stolen phones, and apps for tracking your kid’s phones. Any good Android security app will come with a tracking function and a remote wipe function. As for apps to track your kids, the leading app is currently mSpy and operates without the phone user knowing they are being tracked. Some carriers also have the option to track your kids through the carrier website.
Apps For Tracking Your Kids
- The Spy Bubble
- The Phone Sheriff
- Family Locator
Apps For Tracking A Stolen Or Lost Phone
- Where’s My Droid
- Lookout Security and Anti-Virus
- Avast Anti-Theft
For the most part, Google’s built-in features will work for most people who are looking to track their Android phones. For anything more advanced you will need to look at the handful of other apps that are on the market. Each one works and looks differently so it would be impossible to build a generic tutorial for them. Following apps can be useful for finding phones like Samsung mobile. You can use find my mobile app from Samsung as well to find any samsung device.