Locating a cell phone: this is how it works

Your smartphone has disappeared without a trace? We’ll tell you how to locate your Android or iOS phone.

A lost phone on a table

Hectic search, sweating, panic: You probably know the feeling when the much-loved cell phone is suddenly no longer to be found. Forgotten on the bus, left at the last party or lost on the way home? A lost smartphone doesn’t have to be gone for good.

You can try cell phone tracking. Maybe it is hiding in the crack of your bed after all? We explain how you can your Android smartphone or your iPhone track down.

Search Android phone with Find My Mobile

If you were the owner of an Android smartphone until a few hours ago, you have the option to call it from the Android Device Manager to locate. Just use the desktop version of Google and the "Find my device" feature. However, in order to locate your Android phone, some requirements must be met:

You need to be connected to a Google account be logged in on the smartphone.

The function "Find My Device" and the location transmission to Google you must before the Loss Have it activated on your smartphone. It is best to do this as soon as possible, then you are on the safe side.

The phone must be turned on and have an internet connection. It does not matter if it is WLAN or mobile Internet.

If the battery is empty or the smartphone has been switched off, you can unfortunately forget about using the Android Device Manager to search for your smartphone. However, if your phone is turned on, the tool transmits the location quite reliably.

Here’s how to do it:

Navigate to the "Find my device" feature and sign in with your Google account. If you use the same email address on multiple devices, you need to select the appropriate tab for your phone.

If your phone is turned on and connected to the Internet, the location will be sent to you on The location is displayed approximately on the map.

If your phone can’t be tracked, the Android device manager will show the last location – if it’s known.

If your phone is nearby but you can’t find it, leave your phone ring, by calling your number from another phone. This will help you get closer to its location.

The Android Device Manager not only allows you to locate your phone, but also to lock it or delete data from it. This way you ensure that private pictures, videos and phone numbers do not fall into the wrong hands.

Locate your phone using the Google address via Find My Mobile

Search iPhone in the cloud

Similarly easy you can locate your phone if you are the owner of a new iPhone. However, this is not where the Android device manager comes riding along in his armor. Instead, the savior of lost iPhones is named "iCloud". But the procedure is more or less the same.

In order to track your iPhone, you first need to give iCloud permission to location transfer have issued – namely before the loss. This is done in no time via the iCloud settings.

If you’ve lost your iPhone, here’s how you can search for your phone:

Sign in to the desktop version of iCloud with your Apple ID. Of course you can also use your iPad.

If your iPhone is turned on and connected to the Internet, you can locate your phone using iPhone Search.

If iCloud has found your phone, you can see the location via Apple Maps.

Just like with the Android Device Manager, you can make it easier to search in the vicinity by calling your iPhone from another phone and letting it ring that way. In case of emergency you can use iCloud to delete the data on your phone or lock the iPhone.

You can also use the tool to make your phone emit a loud, almost penetrating beep. The advantage of this function: The sound will be heard even if you have set your phone to "silent" beforehand. But it must be turned on.

Another option: you can enter your contact information through iCloud, which will appear on the lock screen of your smartphone once you set the mode to "lost". If your phone has been picked up by an honest finder, he or she can contact you. By the way, this also works after you have locked your cell phone.

If you can’t track down your beloved iPhone despite a cell phone locator, it’s more than annoying. However, in the long run it is difficult to do without a smartphone. Are you ready for a new device? Then take a look at our store and discover our iPhone offers .

Have your cell phone located by your provider

If your own efforts do not lead to the goal and your cell phone remains missing, you can possibly ask your cell phone provider for a cell phone location.

To find your phone, it can check through which radio masts it was last connected to the Internet. This can lead to a relatively accurate location determination in areas with good network coverage. In rural areas, however, the radius can be several kilometers.

However, it is not as simple as it sounds at first. The mobile operator is not obliged, to help you with your search. In addition, legal regulations may even prevent him from doing so. The provider is only allowed to help the owner to locate his phone. If your phone is stolen, it has changed hands and the provider may not take action.

In this case, you can have your provider locate your phone only after you have reported the theft to the police and have a court order to call your provider for the location. However, in case you report a theft, you definitely need the IMEI number of your lost smartphone. This will be spit out if you dial the number *#06#.

By the way, a report also serves as proof when it comes to recovering the incurred financial damage from your Cell phone insurance to get reimbursed – if you have taken out one. But even if you were so careful and covered yourself, the insurance will only take effect if you were not grossly negligent.

Other ways to locate a cell phone

Of course also offer the Google Play Store and App Store some apps that you can use to locate your phone. However, they often don’t differ much from the Android or Android mobile phones. iOS services.

Some tools – including the Lookout app ( Android | iOS ) – offer some special features, such as additional virus and malware protection. Another plus: the application takes a picture of the possible thief as soon as he enters the PIN incorrectly, and sends you the pic by mail. The following apps can also help you locate your phone:

Prey Anti Theft ( Android | iOS )

By the way: If you want to know where your boyfriend or girlfriend is, it is best to call and ask. Because without their consent you are not allowed to locate the cell phone number of other people. We have also shown that if you don’t have certain information, it’s not that easy to do.

Even if there are various providers who claim the opposite: they also can not locate cell phone numbers and only want to rip off their customers. So do not fall for such dubious Offers in.

Important: Lock (have locked) your smartphone

We have already mentioned this several times: If you can no longer find your smartphone, it’s important to lock the device or – if that’s not possible at that moment – have it locked.

If you – for whatever reason – can’t access the Android Device Manager or iCloud, you also have the option to, to call your provider and at least block your SIM card. In Germany, all you need to do is call the toll-free hotline 116 116. From abroad you have to dial the country code 0049.

What to do if the tracking was unsuccessful?

If you don’t get your beloved smartphone back via tracking, you can always hope that an honest soul has turned in the good piece at the lost and found office. But it can take days until it arrives there. If necessary you have to register them with the nearest lost and found office and regularly ask how things are going.

You should not forget that there is not "the one" lost and found office. If, for example, you took the train and probably lost your cell phone there, it may well be that the device was left in the lost and found office of the respective transport company was handed in. But it is also conceivable that someone has visited the central lost and found office of the city. It is worth a try!

Modern lifesaver

The tracking of cell phones has not only the advantage to find a lost smartphone. In some German cities, new "advanced mobile location" technology allows the fire department to locate smartphone owners by their cell phone numbers when they Emergency number 112 call. This happens automatically during the emergency call.

Until now, the question of where the caller is located has been the weak point in the rescue chain. Because to transmit the respective location, costs a lot of time and often also requires a precise description. AML is soon to become the standard throughout Europe. The technology is already in use in Sweden, Belgium and Estonia.

Locating a cell phone: this is how it works

Lisa has already explained the latest gadgets to her little brothers in the past. But it not only knows a lot about technology, it also knows where to find the best pizza in Hamburg.

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