It's tough figuring out how to find a lost phone. If you left it somewhere and it's no longer there, you're probably wondering what's the best way to locate it. Additionally, if you have had your phone stolen in the past, there are some amazing ways to prevent your phone from getting lost or stolen in the future.
In this article, I've done the research to explain how to track a lost phone depending on what type of phone you have across any cell phone carrier. I will also show you the best tracking apps and software to set up on your phone to find its location.
Table of Contents
How to Locate a Cell Phone Across Carriers
If you can't figure out how to locate a lost phone that is attached to either a T-Mobile plan, you're in luck. First, you should obviously always call your cell phone number from someone else's phone when it is lost. Even if a stranger has it, they may have just picked it up for you (if you're lucky). Then, you'll have to think about what type of phone you have and which tracking apps you have set up on your phone. Here's what to do if you have a lost T-mobile phone.
1. Call your phone number.
2. T-Mobile smartphone customers can use two different types of lost phone finders (as well as iOS Find My iPhone) if they don't want to use a third-party lost phone app. You should have already set one of them up on your phone.
FamilyWhere - This is a T-Mobile lost phone tracker that requires a $10 monthly subscription. It allows you to quickly locate any phone on your account. Furthermore, you can track up to 10 lines on one account, according to the T-Mobile lost phone instructions. This makes the app absolutely perfect for T-Mobile's family plans. Here's how to locate someone on your account:
- Log into your account at T-Mobile.com.
- Click on Profile.
- Click on Family Controls, then head to Manage.
- Then you'll just need to select which number you want to locate.
Lookout Mobile Security App - The Lookout Mobile Security App is an iOS and Android lost phone tracker app with free and premium services for all cell phone carriers. I will explain how to find your phone using this app later in this article.
3. Report your phone lost or stolen to T-Mobile service provider at 1-877-347-2127 if you can't find it.
4. f you end up finding it, you can log onto your T-Mobile account to restore your service.
AT&T Protect Plus
There are certain specific AT&T apps you can use to determine how to locate your lost phone. Here are the steps to take if you have a lost phone with an AT&T phone plan.
1. Call your phone.
2. Log into your account associated with either your tracking app or device. You can use the AT&T Protect Plus app, the AT&T FamilyMap app, or a third-party app.
AT&T Protect Plus App - Just log into your Protect Plus account to locate your lost or stolen mobile phone. The Protect Plus mobile protection package cost $10.99 a month.
AT&T Family Map App - Track up to 10 lines for $9.99 a month with the Family Map app for AT&T, which is perfect for AT&T's family plans, on your Android or iOS smartphone. You can view a demo on how it works on the AT&T Family Map site.
3. Once you've logged into your account, there should be an option for you to send a ping or alert to your device. You should also be able to see your cell phone's exact location
4. Call 1-800-331-0500 to let your AT&T service provider know if you cannot find it.
For the most part, you need to already have installed an app in order to use it to track your cell phone's exact location. The process to locate your Verizon lost phone will be different depending on which type of Verizon cell phone you have and its operating system. There are different apps for iPhone, Android, Windows, Blackberry, and basic mobile phones. Here's what to do if you have a lost phone that is relying on one of Verizon's cell phone plans.
1. Call your phone.
2. Determine which operating system you have.
3. Sign into your device's locator third-party app or Verizon Support App. Verizon used to offer the free Verizon Support and Protection Premium app for all cell phone models to pinpoint your phone's last location if you lost it. Unfortunately, it's no longer available for download, but you can still use it if you already have it. Here's how.
Verizon Support and Protection Premium App
- Just sign into your account on the app's website to locate your phone is you have already purchased and set up the app.
- Check the Verizon lost phone site for details.
4. If you cannot find your phone, go to My Verizon and cancel your line as soon as possible. You can also call customer service at 1-800-922-0204 to file a report.
Sprint Family Locator
If you have a lost Sprint phone and you pay a small monthly fee for the Sprint Family Locator option, which is applicable to Sprint's cell phone plans, then you're in luck. This is a good way to track your and your family's phones in case they get lost. In other words, this app is the perfect complement to Sprint's family plans. Otherwise, you'll have to identify your mobile phone's operating system to determine which app is best. Then, simply:
1. Call your Phone
2. Log into your app.
Sprint Family Locator - The Sprint Locator App will cost you $5.99 a month and lets you locate any family member on your plan easily. You'll be able to track up to five lines. All you need to do is:
- Sign into your account.
- View your device's exact location.
3. Locate your phone's GPS tracker.
4. Lock your phone and send it a message if you can.
5. Call 1-888-211-4727 to suspend your line if you can't find it.
Safelink is a free cell phone service provided by the government. Our guide on how to get free cell phone service will help you determine if you're eligible for this service. If you're on a search for your lost Safelink phone, there is no legitimate way to find it.
Safelink will, however, replace it one time for free by sending you a refurbished Tracfone. They will also permanently deactivate your mobile phone as soon as you report it lost or stolen, according to the Safelink Terms and Conditions of Service. Make sure to call SafeLink Customer service at 1-800-378-1684 as soon as you find out your phone is missing.
Three Great 3rd-Party Lost Phone Apps
- Lookout Mobile - The Lookout Mobile app is one of the best GPS tracking apps to find lost phones. If you have it downloaded on your phone, you can easily track it when it's lost. All you need to do is log into your account at the Lookout Mobile website to view and download backed up data, manage your account settings, and see your security activity and location.
- Family Locator - The Family Locator app from Life360 is a great lost phone finder for families because you can create your own tracking circle for multiple users. A tracking circle is a closed group with whom you can choose to share your location in real-time. You can easily track your lost phone by having a family member login if your phone is not dead.
- Cerberus - Cerberus allows you to lock, ring, or erase your information from your phone via the Cerberus location tracker app if you're looking for your lost mobile phone. You can also get access to your camera remotely and sound an alarm if you think it's in range with Cerebus. Just download the app and set it up so you can sign in to your account and find your phone if you lose it.
Related: Check out our buyer's guide to the best cell phone security apps for more top picks.
How To Find A Lost iPhone
You can find a lost Apple iPhone with the Find My iPhone App via your iCloud account on the iCloud website. First of all, your lost iPhone needs to be powered on in order for you to find it, otherwise, it's going to be quite difficult (if not impossible). Here's how to find a lost iPhone.
Find My iPhone App
If your Apple iPhone isn't dead, you can use the Find My iPhone App to pinpoint its current location with Google Maps. All you have to do is sign into your iCloud account using your Apple ID email address and password. Here's how.
1. Sign in to your iCloud account on the iCloud website with your Apple ID email and password. You should have originally set up and signed into iCloud with your Apple ID via your iPhone's settings.
2. Then, you'll see the devices you have iCloud accounts with, as long as you've made one before.
3. You should also see iCloud Settings in the top left corner. Click it.
4. Then you'll see a pop-up with icons that look like apps. One of the apps says Find iPhone with a green icon. Click on it.
5. As soon as you click it, you will be prompted to sign in with your Apple ID account. Once you sign in, the site will automatically start locating your iPhone's current location.
6. Once you've located it, there are a couple of things you can do. First, click on your lost device and hit the "i" icon. You should then see a couple of options.
- Activate lost mode on your iPhone.
- Lock your phone and send a message with a contact number. The finder can call you from the lock screen without getting in.
- Erase your personal info to be safe.
Read More: You can always compare the latest iPhone deals with our iPhone comparison guide.
Find Location History Using Google
You can also use Google Maps to track your device's location history if you were signed into your master Google account on your smartphone before it was stolen. Your location history setting on your smartphone must also be turned on. Here's how to view your phone's location history with Google.
1. Log into your Google Gmail account.
2. Then go to www.google.com/maps/timeline.
3. Click on location history on the left where you can select location dates to view.
How To Find A Lost Android Phone
Android phones come with an Android Device Manager built in these days. If you want to know how to find a lost Android phone, you can access your lost Android device's current location using Google or a compatible third-party app.
Locate Android Phone With Google
- Login to your Google account with your Gmail email address on your web browser.
- Go to Google.com
- Type "find my phone android" (with no quotations) into the search box.
- Click on the Android Device Manager website search option.
5. Then, just type in your email and password as if you were signing into your Google account to check your email. You may also have to complete the Google verification.
Once you're verified, the Android Device Manager will locate your Android phone using Google Maps. Then there will be a couple of options.
- Ring your phone so it makes a noise so you can find it if it's in range.
- Track its location and location history.
- Lock the phone so whoever found it cannot access your screen or information.
- Erase all of your information.
Locate Your Android Phone With Locator App
If you already have a locator app set up on your Android, you can use it instead of Google to find your Android phone. Then, all you'll need to do is sign into the app on someone else's smart device or computer to track your Android smartphone.
Call My Lost Phone
The Call My Lost Phone website will actually let you call your phone via their site if you can't find it, as long as it's not off or on silent mode. It's an easy way to figure out how to locate your phone in the house if you don't have a house phone and no one else is around. Don't worry, the site will not share your phone number with any third party. All you have to do is:
1. Type in your phone number.
2. Make sure the box next to "Remember My Number" is check or unchecked depending on what you prefer.
3. Select whether you want to call it now, in 30 seconds, in one minute, in two minutes, or in five minutes.
4. Click on "Make it ring."
5. Listen for your phone to ring. This obviously won't work if your phone is in silent mode.
Alternative Things to Try
There are a couple of other ways to track you or your family member's phone if you've lost it. You should also look into the best GPS trackers for kids if you're worried about keeping tabs on your children.
Reverse Phone Directory
You can use a reverse phone directory like Whitepages to help track the location of your phone by simply typing your phone number into the reverse phone number search engine. It does not use GPS or WiFi to track your phone. Instead, it searches records from public databases and directories to find your phone. All you have to do is:
1. Find a reverse phone directory like Whitepages.
2. Type your phone number into the reverse phone number search engine.
3. Wait for results on your phone's location history.
How To Track A Lost Phone With A Sim Card
If you have a lost phone with a sim card in it, there may be another way to find your phone. Here's how to find a lost phone with a sim card.
1. Call your phone so your provider can track its last known location.
2. Next, you'll need to find your phone's IMEI number. The number can usually be found on the box your phone came in.
3. Call your cell phone provider.
4. Provide your IMEI number and ask for the sim card number connected to it.
5. Ask your provider if they can track your device's location history using your sim card number.
6. If your sim card has been replaced, they can trace the new sim card number in your lost phone to find it.
Read More: What Is a SIM Card?
Report Your Phone Missing
If all else fails, you should always report your lost phone to the local police station. You can give them your serial number in case anything turns up. Along with the local police station, you can also report your phone missing on MissingPhones.org. Here's how.
- Go to MissingPhones.org.
- Type your IMEI or serial number into the search engine.
- Click search.
All in all, it's easy to figure out how to track a lost phone if you have already set up a preventative service from your carrier or a third-party application on your smartphone. If not, finding your phone may be next to impossible. Regardless, always call your cell phone carrier to report it lost or stolen and see what they can do to help you. You can also call the local police to report it in case it turns up.
In the case where you cannot find your phone, there are ways you can mitigate the loss. You can check out our guide for step-by-step instructions on how to backup your phone to the cloud where you can access that data from your computer, and transfer it to applicable devices.
If this article has helped you find a lost mobile phone, please share it with your friends and family. Subscribe to the MoneySavingPro Blog for more how-to guides and vital money saving information.