I know exactly where my Android phone is at almost all times, whether it’s in my pocket, in my purse or on my desk. The few times I’ve misplaced it, I’ve felt a surge of worry. My life and my personal data is on that phone. But I didn’t panic, because I know how to track my phone.
You can track your Android smartphone using Google’s own Find My Device system.
You can also download GPS phone tracker apps through the Google Play Store, but please note we don’t condone using these for anything other than locating your own device or for keeping tabs on family members with their consent.
Finally, we’ve got one more way you can track your phone, and it involves an extra piece of hardware.
Between these three different methods, you can stop worrying about losing or misplacing your phone.
Use Google’s Find My Device to locate your Android phone
Google doesn’t want you to lose your phone, either. If you’re using a Google account on your Android phone, then the Find My Device feature is automatically turned on. To double check this, open Settings, tap on Security & location, and make sure Find My Device is set to “On.” In the same place, check that Location is also turned on.
Go ahead and test Find My Device before you actually need it to track your phone. Visit Google’s Find My Device page and look for your phone on the map.
This page also has options for ringing your phone, securing it or even erasing it entirely if you’re sure you won’t be able to get it back.
Google has an app version of Find My Device, which is handy for tracking multiple Android devices, including smartwatches and tablets.
Use a GPS tracker app for Android
Find My Device is an easy way to track the location of your phone, but you may want the added features that come with using a dedicated tracking app. Here are two highly rated options:
Life360 Family Locator: The Life360 Family Locator GPS tracker app lets you build circles of family or friends and view their real-time locations on a private map. You can set up alerts for when group members arrive or leave a specific location, and also use the system to find a lost phone.
Family Locator works with iOS as well as Android, so you can have a mix of iPhone and Android users in the same group. If you lose your phone, just log into the Life360 website and find your phone’s last location on the map. You could also ask a member of your Family Locator circle to check for your phone on their own map.
Cerberus Phone Security: Cerberus is much different from Family Locator. It’s an anti-theft app that combines location tracking with a host of extra abilities designed to reunite you with a stolen phone, and collect evidence along the way.
Cerberus can sound an alarm on your phone, display a message, take pictures and screenshots, and record audio from the microphone. You log into the Cerberus website to track your lost or stolen phone. The app is free for a one-week trial period. After that, it costs 5 Euros (about $6) per year.
Use a Tile tracker with your Android phone
Tile trackers are small Bluetooth devices that attach to key rings, laptops or anything else you don’t want to lose. They can help you find a misplaced phone in several different ways.
If you have a Tile tracker (attached to your keys, for example) but don’t know where your phone is, you can double-press the button on your Tile to make your phone ring. That works if the phone is nearby, but what if it’s farther away?
The next method you can try to track your phone is to log into the Tile app or website to access a map showing your phone’s last known location. This is similar to Google’s Find My Device feature. If you’re using Tile anyway, then this is a handy method for finding your misplaced Android phone.
If you want an extra layer of insurance, you could also stick a Tile tracker, like the low-profile $30 Slim version, onto the back of your phone or phone case.
This could give you a better chance of finding it if the phone has been turned off and moved from where you lost it. It’s a bit like wearing suspenders and a belt at the same time, but it could help you track your phone in unusual circumstances.
Here’s hoping your phone is never lost or stolen, but if it happens you will know what to do and give yourself the best possible chance of getting it back.