How to Track a Cell Phone Location

Huge advancements in technology have made it possible to track a cell phone location. If you wish to know the whereabouts of a lost cell phone or pinpoint the exact location of an individual, read the following article for helpful pointers...
The concept is quite easy to grasp. You wish to know where someone is (a family member or a friend), and there is a software that helps make it possible. One of the best ways to locate someone's location is by using an easy and inexpensive method of GPS (Global Positioning System) or tracking chip. Today, with a few latest cell phones, which have an inbuilt GPS, you can track them anytime and anywhere. You can easily track the cell phone on a map, see its exact location at all times, and receive real-time updates.
If you want to track someone else's phone, first you'll need to be able to access that phone in order to download the app on it. Parents and/or guardians are permitted to access their kids' phones. However, if the phone doesn't belong to you (a family member or friend), then it is a punishable offense to download an app onto their phone, without their knowledge, and track them.
Track a Smartphone
For smartphones, there are some apps that help in tracking your lost/stolen cell phone. On the other hand, certain apps can be downloaded for monitoring your child's, family member's, or friend's activities and whereabouts. Now there are a few ways to go about it. One, you can install a GPS tracker on your phone and two, download an app that is supported by your cell phone. Let us see how these methods work.
GPS Tracking Software
  • Most smartphones come with an inbuilt GPS tracker. However, if your phone is older and it doesn't contain one, you need to purchase one.
  • Follow the instructions provided with the GPS chip for installation.
  • Next, you have to choose an online software program such as AccuTracking, BuddyWay, Mologogo, uLocate, SpyBubble, and many more. These programs will help you track the cell phone.
  • After you select the service provider, go to their website and sign up. Log in to their website and read the instructions on how the software operates.
  • Download the software, if you find it apt, and follow the instructions to connect the cell phone to your laptop. Once the tracking software is uploaded into the cell phone, activate it by going through the phone's menu.
  • Now, when you wish to track the cell phone, all you need to do is log into the service provider's website and get the exact reading on a map or receive a text message, depending on the software.
Download an App
There are many free and paid apps available for smartphones (also for tablets, laptops, iPod, and other devices). Of course, everyone has different reasons to track a particular cell phone. Some do it to know where their kids and/or family members are (safety concerns), others do it to make sure that their lost or stolen devices can be located. The most popular apps are
  • Find My iPhone - Free app for iPhone
  • Prey - Free app for iPhone and Android
  • Plan B - Free app for Android
  • Android Lost - Free app for Android
  • Glympse - Free app for iPhone, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone
  • Life360 - Free app for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, and Windows Phone
  • GPS Tracker - Free app for iPhone and Android
  • SecuraFone - Free app for iPhone and Android
  • SMS Tracker - Free app for Android
  • avast! Mobile Security - Free app for Android
  • Lookout - Free app for iPhone and Android
  • WAY GPS Phone Tracking - Free app for iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry
  • Footprints - US $3.99/year for iPhone
  • Mobiflock - US $25/year for Android, Nokia, and BlackBerry
It is essential to know how different apps work on your cell phone and whether or not they are free. Also, depending on your usage plan, standard charges may apply. Which is why, understand it thoroughly before downloading it.
Track a Non-smartphone
For non-smartphones that can't install apps or connect to the Internet, here's a quick and easy way to track any cell phone. With the use of Google Latitude, an individual's cell phone can be traced on Google Maps, via his/her Google account; and you don't require GPS technology as it works on any cell phone that can access Google Maps or Google Latitude (although most phones are now GPS-enabled).
Google Latitude
While using Google Latitude, rest assured that this service doesn't allow anyone to track your location. For this, they must first send you a request and ask your permission to do so. On the other hand, if you're tracking your own lost or stolen cell phone, you will have to register your phone with Google Latitude. Once you do so, here's what you need to do to track a cell phone.
  • From your cell phone (if it has a wireless Internet access), go to the Google Latitude website to download the latest version of Google Maps. This way, you can enable Google Latitude on your phone.
  • From your cell phone, sign in using your Google account and press the "Menu" button. Choose the "Latitude" option.
  • Now, select only those friends from your list with whom you wish to share your location information. Select the "Add Friends" option in front of your friends' names.
  • If you're using your laptop, you can select friends from the list and enter their email addresses.
  • If the GPS is enabled on your phone (or you don't have GPS), Google Latitude won't be able to pinpoint a cell phone's location. It will give a general location depending on the closest cell tower that phone is using.
One of the most wonderful thing about using Google Latitude is that you're in control of sharing the amount of information you want with your friends. You can restrict their access as per your convenience.
Even though these technologies are designed to help us in a positive way, some people tend to misuse it. Invasion of someone's privacy is a felony and rarely forgiven, if caught. And hence, as a precautionary method, certain software require the individual's permission before tracking their cell phones. Whether or not you may think your reasons are valid, you cannot invade someone else's privacy. So keep that in mind and proceed.
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