The 7 Best Phone Tracker Apps of 2020

Never lose your phone (or your kids) again

A mobile phone in a refrigerator.

Jeffrey Coolidge / Getty Images

No matter why you want to track the location of a phone or its owner, the apps listed here can help. One makes a noise when you whistle (so you can find it among your other belongings) and others include more sophisticated features that let you know where each member of your family is at any given time. All of them can contribute to your peace of mind.

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Share Your Location: Glympse

Three Glympse screens on iOS
What We Like
  • Supports geofencing.

  • Can be used between platforms.

  • No sign-up required.

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report freezing at times.

Glympse allows you and your contacts to share location information with an easy-to-understand interface that clearly shows who’s where. Use it to send an update so others know when to expect you for a family gathering. Request one to find out how much longer you’ll have to wait at the restaurant for your coworker. Or set up a group to see a map of where all your friends are in relation to the theater on movie night. You can even use it to get help more quickly in an emergency. Glympse is free to download and use.

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Let Your Partner Know You’re Safe: Find My Family, Friends, Phone

Three iOS screens from Find My Family, Friends, Phone
What We Like
  • Not having to send text messages about arrival times.

  • Car crash detection with the premium service.

  • Location history.

What We Don't Like
  • Some users report accuracy issues.

Always know where your loved ones are, and let them know your location as well. This iOS app allows users to see the real-time location of others who have given permission to be tracked as it isn't legal to track someone without their permission. Know when your partner or other family members leave and arrive at specified locations, such as work, home, and school. The app includes a chat function so you can communicate about transportation or safety matters. Find My Family, Friends, Phone is free, or you can upgrade to a subscription starting at $2.99/month.

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Keep Track of Your Kids: Family Locator & Safety

Three Familionet app screens
What We Like
  • Panic button for emergencies.

  • Ability to create multiple groups.

  • Chat function.

What We Don't Like
  • Only available for Android.

This app is designed for families or other groups to know each other’s location in real time. Not only can you see where everyone in your group is at any moment, but you also get notifications when they leave a place (such as school, work, or home), or arrive at one. You can also see all group members at a glance. The app can additionally be used to locate lost or stolen phones. Family Locator & Safety is free with an option to upgrade to a Premium version, starting at $9.49.

Each contact you want to track must give you permission to do so.

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Stay Connected With Family Members: Find My Friends

Three iOS screens from Find My Friends app
What We Like
  • Can be used across Apple devices.

  • Includes parental restrictions.

  • Share location with nearby (~30 feet away) friends using AirDrop.

What We Don't Like
  • Only available for iOS.

Find My Friends is an iOS app that allows you and others to share your location at any given time. Those you want to share your location with must also have the app. If you have iOS 9 (or newer) on an Apple device, it’s automatically installed; if not, you can easily download the app and set it up to use on your handheld or wearable device. You can also use it on or in conjunction with Family Sharing. You can set up location-based alerts so you’ll know when family members are safe at home. Done sharing? You can easily stop at any time. Find My Friends is free to download and use.

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Watch Out for Friends: Trusted Contacts

Three Google Trusted Contacts app screens
What We Like
  • Integration with Google Maps.

  • Ability to schedule an alert for a future time.

  • Use to track a lost phone.

What We Don't Like
  • High battery usage.

With Trusted Contacts, you can designate which people in your contact list you trust to get your location information if you don’t respond to requests for your whereabouts. When others send a request, you can accept or deny it; if you don’t do either, your last known location is automatically shared within a timeframe you decide. You can also use this app to transmit your location in case of an emergency. Trusted Contacts is free.

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Find a Misplaced Phone: Find My Phone Whistle

Three Android screens from Find My Phone, Whistle
What We Like
  • Easy setup.

  • Choose the sound you want your phone to make when you whistle for it.

  • Saves time - no more searching for the device.

What We Don't Like
  • May not work as well if there are a lot of other noises in the background while you whistle.

If you have a tendency to misplace your Android phone or tablet, this app is for you. Set it up so when you whistle it makes a loud noise, even if it’s currently in silent mode. Keep in mind that the app responds to all whistling (even from other people) and other high-pitched noises in the immediate environment. Find My Phone Whistle is free, or you can upgrade to Premium for additional functionality, starting at $0.99.

Upload your own melody to use as the “response” when you whistle.

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Locate a Seriously Lost Phone: Find Lost Phone

Three Android screens of Find Lost Phone app
What We Like
  • Clean interface.

  • No internet required to find your phone.

  • Can be used to find a misplaced phone on silent mode.

What We Don't Like
  • Too many ads.

Install this app on your Android phone to easily find it if it ever gets lost or stolen. It uses GPS tracking to find your device, so you get a precise map location by sending a command from another mobile phone. You can also assign a friend as a trusted contact who will receive a message if a thief replaces the SIM card in your phone. The app also includes “favorite places” and reminder functionality so you can get alerts when it’s time to go to the gym or wherever you need to be. Find Lost Phone is free.

To actually retrieve your phone, you may need to get help from the police.