Mobile Phones Android 209 209 people found this article helpful How to Legally Track a Cell Phone Tracing a cell phone location isn't as hard as you think by Tim Fisher General Manager, VP, Lifewire.com Tim Fisher has 30+ years' professional technology support experience. He writes troubleshooting content and is the General Manager of Lifewire. our editorial process Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Tim Fisher Updated on September 11, 2020 reviewed by Christine Baker Lifewire Tech Review Board Member Christine Baker is a marketing consultant with experience working for a variety of clients. Her expertise includes social media, web development, and graphic design. our review board Article reviewed on Feb 15, 2020 Christine Baker Android Switching from iOS Tweet Share Email What to Know Location tracking apps like Life360 or Google Maps are the easiest method to use but you can try finder apps like Find My Friends, too.Tracking non-smartphones requires a different method involving contacting the carrier.A cell phone number tracker is different from an actual device tracker. Use a reverse phone number lookup service for that. This article explains how to use location tracking apps and cell phone carriers to track a phone. It also covers who can legally track a phone. How to Locate a Cell Phone Location The easiest way to track a smartphone is with a location-sharing app. Basic phones require a totally different method, explained below. Most phone trackers won't work properly if the device is using a fake GPS location. Install a Location Tracking App A app that tracks a phone's location is simply a GPS program that connects to another user's phone so that they can monitor the other phone. Usually, the location sharing goes both ways so that both phones can track the other. 8 Apps to Help You Track Phones or Their Owners Life360 and Google Maps are great for long-term phone tracking. To track a cell phone location temporarily like during a trip or for just a couple hours, try Glympse or a messaging app like WhatsApp or Messenger. Find My Friends is another phone tracker just for iPhone. See these Find My Friends alternatives for Android for similar options for that platform. If your phone has been stolen and a location tracker isn't installed on the device, you might have luck locating the phone using a built-in mechanism, such as Find My iPhone or Find My Device for Android. Use the Carrier Major telecom companies like Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile come with a paid feature—Verizon Smart Family, AT&T Secure Family, and T-Mobile FamilyWhere—that lets you track cell phones that are connected to your account. This is completely legal and a good way to keep track of kids or family members while they're away. Mobile phone providers generally use cell phone towers to triangulate the geographical position of a phone. This technology doesn't require a GPS facility and can, therefore, work just fine even on basic cell phones. Locate the Phone Number Details A cell phone number tracker is different from an actual device tracker. Tracking a cell phone number involves looking into the number itself to see who owns it or which country the number is registered in. For that, you need a reverse phone number lookup service, something you can do with Google. Another option is a website like TruePeopleSearch or Whitepages, which can show who owns the phone number and where they live. 5 Best Ways to Find a Cell Phone Number Online Why Track a Cell Phone? Perhaps the most common reason to want to track a cell phone is to see where your friends or family are located. Maybe you want to keep tabs on your kids or spouse to make sure they arrive at school or work on time. Another common reason to use track a phone's location is if it's been stolen. If you have no idea where your cell phone is, you can use a phone tracker to locate it. Or maybe you're in a completely different scenario where you've received a call from a number you don't recognize, and so you want to track the phone number location to see where the caller is from. Julie Bang / Lifewire Is It Illegal to Track a Phone? Generally speaking, yes. It's illegal to track, access, or modify someone else's cell phone. Only officials who work for law enforcement can do that, and only if they have a warrant to do so. What is legal, however, is tracking a cell phone location if you have explicit permission from the owner. This includes tracking a cell phone that's your own or locating a cell phone that a family member uses but that you are responsible for. To avoid legal repercussions, just make sure to get the owner's go-ahead to track their phone remotely. If you're using a cell phone tracker tool that identifies the location of the number and shows you where in the world that number is registered, you can rest assured that it's completely legal. Area code locations are well established and completely legal to look into.