Best apps for tracking your cell phone

All modern smartphones come with a built-in GPS, and developers haven’t wasted any opportunity to create apps that take advantage of the useful functionality of allowing you to track a cell phone.

Some of these apps were designed to help you find a lost or stolen cell phone, while other apps were created so that you can learn the location of your loved ones in real time.

Some of these apps are free, and they even work natively in your devices, while the rest require a payment to allow you access to more advanced features.

Regardless of your reason to learn the location of a cell phone or the kind of device that you’re using, you will find the best apps to track a cell phone below.

Apps to track YOUR cell phone:

  • Find My Phone/Find My iPhone:

All Android and iOS devices have a default way of letting you know the location of a device without having to install anything. This functionality only requires you to have an account linked to your device: a Google account on your Android devices, and an iCloud account on iOS devices. Since this is a necessary functionality on all devices and Find My Phone/iPhone is turned on by default, you don’t need to do anything to be able to track your cell phone.

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On Android: Find My Phone

android find my phone

 

You can install this app on any other device or use this functionality directly from any web browser.

However, keep in mind that Google may consider suspicious that you attempt to log in from an unknown device. So, we recommend you to track your cell phone from a device in which you had previously logged in, or from a computer that you use frequently.

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  1. Open a web browser in any device and go to android.com/find.
  2. Enter your email and password.
  3. On the screen that shows up, you will see the devices linked to that Google account. Select the device that you wish to track.
  4. Below your device’s name, you will see the last time that the location of your device was recorded. If your device is on and is connected to the internet, you will see its current location. Otherwise, you will see the last recorded location.
  5. To the right, you will see the location of your device in a map.
  6. To the left, you will see the different functionalities that you can activate directly from a web browser:
  • Play sound: The device will sound for five minutes, even if it is on vibration mode.
  • Block device: the device will be blocked, and Google session will be closed. You could also choose to show an onscreen message or a number where you can be contacted by the person that found and has your device.
  • Delete the device’s data: If your device was stolen, and you know that it’s impossible to retrieve it, you have the option of wiping out all of the content stored on your device.

In iOS: Find My iPhone

find my iPhone de IOS
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iOS devices also offer you the possibility of tracking your device’s location without having to install nor activate anything, that is, you’ll only need to use software that comes by default on your device. Find My iPhone also offers you the option of tracking your family’s devices if you have the “Share with your family” functionality activated.

  1. Open the Find My iPhone app, or open a web browser in any device, and go to iCloud.com.
  2. Click on “all devices”. If the circle on the side of the device is green, that means that the device is connected to the Internet, and you can see its current location. If the circle is gray, the device is not connected to the internet, and you will see its last recorded location.
  3. On the map, you will see the current location of your iPhone if it’s connected to the internet, or its last recorded location.
  4. Below the map, you will see the following options:
  • Play sound: You can make your iPhone to start playing a sound.
  • Lost mode: By activating this mode, the device will be blocked. You could also show an onscreen message, for instance, by displaying a number where you can be contacted by whomever found your iPhone.
  • Delete iPhone: If you’re sure that it is not possible to recover your iPhone, you can wipe out all of its content and restore it to its factory settings.

 

  • Prey Anti-Theft:

This popular app is available for Android and for iOS devices, and it is the preferred app of a lot of people when it comes to apps that allow you to track a cell phone.

With Prey Anti-Theft, you can find out your device’s location not only through GPS, but also through triangulation by using Wi-Fi.

If you lost your device, and you’re traying to track it, you can activate the security options by accessing a control panel through a web browser, or even by sending an SMS.

The security options allow you to block the device, show an alert message, activate an alarm, and even take a picture by using either the rear or frontal camera.

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Prey also allows you to recover files and remotely delete all of the information on your device. Even though Prey Anti-Theft offers many payment options, its free version is enough to allow you to track your cell phone, and it also allows you to include up to three devices on the same account.

You can download the app directly from the Play Store on Android devices or on the App Store on iOS devices. Remember to configure your account from scratch to prepare the app to be ready to use whenever you need to track your device.

  • Cerberus:

When it comes to apps that allow you to track your cell phone, Cerberus is the most famous name for Android devices.

This app appears on top of the list of paid apps, and for good reasons. Cerberus offers you many of the same functionalities than other apps on this list, but it also offers you some additional things that no other apps offers you.

With Cerberus, you can find out the location of a device, block it, make an alarm sound, remotely delete your information, and have access to the frontal camera to take pictures of the device’s surroundings, or even of the person who has it.

Unlike other apps that allow you to track your phone, Cerberus also allows you to record audio with your device’s microphone and hide the app so that the person that finds your cell phone won’t be able to find it.

You can have access to all the functionalities offered by Cerberus
by accessing the control panel in any web browser or by sending commands via text messages. The web’s control panel only works if the device is connected to the internet, whereas the SMS commands work even if your device isn’t connected to any network (as long as you have cell phone data.)

Cerberus is only available for Android devices, and you can try it for free for a week. If you decide that this is the best app for you, you can buy an annual license for $5 USD.

  • Avast anti-theft:

Avast anti-theft

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Even though Avast is better known as an excellent antivirus, it also offers an app designed to help you track your devices.

Besides usual functionalities in this kind of apps, such as playing an alarm, block the cell phone and remotely wiping out your information, Avast Anti-theft also offers a lot of additional functionalities.

One of the options that makes Avast different than other apps on this list is that you can remotely send commands to make your cell phone call another device with the screen turned off to be able to listen to your cell phone’s surroundings without anyone noticing.

You can also configure the app so that it notifies you if your device detects a different SIM card, hides the app, and restarts your cell phone through SMS commands.

Avast Anti-theft is freely available both for Android as well as for Android devices.

  • Bitdefender anti-theft:

Bitdefender Anti-theft is a lighter Avast Anti-theft version and, just like the complete version of the app, it is backed up by a giant firm.

If you’re looking for an app that allows you to track a cell phone, and that it also offers you basic functionalities on a simple interface, that is, without anything extra that you don’t need, Bitdefender Anti-theft is an excellent option for you.

Also, if you’re familiarized with other Bitdefender products, you can take full advantage of it and have all of your security software from a single firm.

You’ll only need to access the web’s control panel to remotely activate an alarm, send a message, block the device, or wipe out all of the information contained in your cell phone.

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If the device’s GPS is on, you will be able to see its location on a map with a margin of error of only a few meters. However, you could still see the location of the device even if it’s only connected to a Wi-Fi network.

Bitdefender also works with commands through text messages so that you can protect your information even if your device is not connected to the internet, or if you can’t access the web’s control panel.
This application is freely available for both Android and iOS devices.

Applications to track the location of other people

cell tracking app
Via Pexels

 

  • Family locator:

If you’re looking for a tracking app, but instead of looking for your own device in case it gets lost, you want to find out the location of others, Family Locator is the appropriate app for you.

With Family Locator, you can find out the location in real time of the people that are recorded into the app and have said app installed on their devices.

When opening the map on the app, you’ll see in it the location of your loved ones. Since it’s focused on families, this app also allows you to design safe zones for children. This functionality allows you to receive notifications whenever your children reach a designated zone, like their school, or if they get out of any of these zones. Any family member can send an alert message with their exact location by pressing a button.

Family Locator is available both for Android and iOS devices. Even though there is a Premium version, the free version is enough for taking full advantage of most of the functionalities offered by this application.

  • Life360:

Another popular app that allows you to learn the location of other devices is Life360. With this app, you’ll be able to see on a map the location of the people that had been added to your list and send them group messages. However, one if its most attractive functionalities is that you can save the locations of your choosing and configure your account so that it sends automatic notifications to your friends and relatives each time that you reach those destinations.

Life360 also allows you to create different circles to be able to separate the different people in your life. This means that you could use the same app to find out the location of your friends and family on separate maps, send different messages to each circle and customize the configuration for each group of devices.

Life360 is available for both Android and iOS devices, and its free version is enough to take full advantage of everything that this app has to offer.

  • Find my friends/Buscar a mis amigos:

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If you’re an iOS device user, you can use this native functionality to track your friends’ devices.

“Find My Friends” comes installed by default on Apple devices with iOS 9 and on, but you could also install this functionality manually if you use older versions. This functionality allows you to share your location and see the location of others without having to install nor configure any additional application, but it only works with other iOS users that have this functionality activated.

With “Find My Friends”, you could choose when to share your location and what friends to add to your list.

To add a friend:

Even though you could see their location in either the app or in iCloud, you can only add friends from the app.

1. In your iPhone, iPad, or iPod, open the app “Find My Friends”.
2. Press the “Add” option and choose one of your contacts or enter an email address.
3. Once that person has accepted your request, only you will be able to see their locations on a list or on a map.

To stop sharing your location:

If you wish, you can hide your location while still being able to see your friends’ location. Your friends will see the message “location not available” whenever they try to find out your location. You can change this configuration in either the app or from iCloud.com.

From iCloud:

1. Log in into your iCloud account, and open up the “Find My Friends” menu.
2. Select the “Me” option.
3. Deactivate the “share my location” option.

From an iOS device:

1. Open the “Find My Friends” app.
2. Press the “settings” button and, then, insert your name.
3. Open the iCloud section, and press the “share location” button.
4. Press the icon to deactivate it.

If you’re only looking for an easy way of sharing your location and finding out the location of others, you may not need to install anything, since you may already have the needed software included on your devices. Many social network apps and map services, such as Google Maps, allow you to share your location, even in real time, without requiring you to activate nor install any additional functionality.

Social Networks:

If you’re just looking for an easy way to share your location and find out about others, you may not have to use anything that you don’t already have installed on your devices. Many social networks and maps services like Google Maps allow you to share your location even in real time without having to activate or install any additional function.

WhatsApp:

To track a cell phone with WhatsApp, follow these steps:

1. Open WhatsApp on the device on the device where you wish to share your location.
2. Open the chat of the person to whom you want to send your location. This functionality also works in group chats, so it is a good way of sharing your location with many people at the same time.
3. Touch the clip icon and select “location” from the options that appear onscreen.
4. Select “Location” to send your current location or select “real time location” to share it with others even if you’re moving to another location.
5. Touch the arrow to send your current location or to start sharing it in real time.

Google Maps:

1. Open Google Maps on the device where you wish to share your location.
2. Touch the circular icon on the bottom right corner of the screen to see your current location on a map.
3. Touch the three dots on the upper left corner to open the menu.
4. On the side menu that appears, select “share location.”
5. Touch the option “Add people” and select the amount of time that you wish to share your location.
6. Choose the people that you wish to send your location, be it your location at that exact moment, or your real time location.
7. If the person with whom you wish to share your location doesn’t have a Google account, touch the three dots, and select one of the available apps to send your location.

Facebook:

1. Open the Messenger App on the device where you wish to share your location.
2. Open an individual our group chat in which you wish to show your location.
3. Touch the plus symbol icon and select “location.”
4. Touch the “share current location” option.

Applications to track your employees:

aplicaciones para rastrear a tus empleados

 

Hubstaff:

If what you’re looking for is a way to track the devices of your employees to measure their performance, Hubstaff is an excellent option.

This app allows you to see how your employees are managing their work hours, and it offers tracking functionalities in real time by using the GPS on their devices.

The tracking functionalities allow you to follow up the commute of your employees or the vehicles of your business and find out how much time is spent on each location. Besides allowing you to track the location of your employees, Hubstaff offers other additional functionalities that are suited for the needs of a firm.

With this app, you can make your employees to keep a log of their work hours, manage their bills and their payroll, establish weekly limits of working hours, and see automatically generated reports. Besides being one of the apps to keep track of your employees with the highest number of functionalities, this app can be integrated with other applications, such as Asana, ActiveCollab, and Basecamp.

Hubstaff is available for both Android and iOS devices, and its free version offers you all of its basic functionalities. The premium version requires a payment, but you can take advantage of the 14-day free trial to try the premium functionalities and decide if they are what you’re looking for.

TSheets:

TSheets is another popular app designed by Quickbooks for businesses that want to keep track of both the performance and the location of their employees.

With this app, your employees can record their work hours and breaks with the press of a button and report their location regardless of where they are. The employers can easily approve and edit schedules, see reports, establish alerts linked to employees working overtime and integrate TSheets with other accounting and payroll software to be able to enjoy additional options.

Unlike other similar apps, TSheets allows employees to record their working hours by sending text messages, so not everyone in the staff needs to have the app installed. However, it is required to install the app to take full advantage of the tracking functionalities using GPS.

TSheets is available for both Android and iOS devices, and it is absolutely free for a single user. Adding additional devices has a cost of $3 USD per month.

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