Have you lost your phone, or has it been stolen? Don’t panic! If you activate the appropriate feature, you can ping, lock, wipe, or geolocate it for a potential recovery.
If it’s nearby, at the office, at a friend’s place, or stolen, you could notify the person with the phone to help you get it back. How do you do this? What are the requirements for this to be possible?
In this article, I’ll show you how to ping a phone to find its location, whether it’s an iPhone or Android device.
How to Ping a Phone to Find Its Location
Well aware of this problem, Apple iOS and Android phones have a feature built into their operating systems.
In this section, I’ll show you how to ping a phone to find its location. Of course, the procedure is not the same for iOS and Android phones, but it starts with enabling location and Find My Device.
Ensure your phone’s Find My Device is enabled
As a smartphone user, it’s necessary always to enable Find My Device in Settings and your phone Location. To do this, swipe down your phone and turn on location.
You can enable Find My Device by pressing the cogwheel icon at the top right corner of your phone. Then go to Security >> Security and location >> Security status (this can be different depending on the Android version, manufacturer, and software overlay).
Look for Find My Device and enable it. If other settings are available for localization (e.g., a High Accuracy mode), enable it.
How to ping an Android phone to find its location
From a computer (PC or Mac), tablet, or Android mobile, open any browser and go to the Google Find My Device web page.
Log in with your Google account username and password (the same one you use on your Android smartphone).
The device name is displayed at the top left. It is accompanied by the date and time when it was last detected.
On the panel on the left, you have the choice between three options. If you think it’s not too far from you or it’s in a known location where someone could pick it up for you, click on the Play Sound option. This is the easiest way to ping a phone to find its location.
Your mobile will ring quite loudly for five minutes even if it is in Silent, Do Not Disturb, or Vibrate mode. Likewise, if turned off or offline, the phone will ring as soon as it is turned back on and/or connected to a mobile or WiFi network.
If you do not recognize the place displayed on the map, click on the second option, Secure Device.
You can enter a phone number that will appear on the screen as soon as it is turned ON and connected to a WiFi or mobile network. Keep it short (maximum of 60 characters). Then click Secure Device.
Your mobile will instantly lock when turned on and connected to a WiFi or mobile network. If you get it back, you must enter the security PIN you usually use to unlock it (fingerprint or facial recognition won’t be enough).
Finally, there is the third Erase Device option.
If you click tap on Erase Device, all content on your phone will be deleted, and the link with your Google account will be broken. You will no longer be able to locate it. Only use this function as a last resort if you think you will never find your mobile, and you prefer that no one accesses its content.
How to Ping an iPhone to Find its Location
iOS has all the necessary options to allow the location of your iPhone in case of loss or theft. But it all starts by enabling location and providing your Login details:
Enable location on iPhone
- Go to iOS Settings. Scroll down the page, then tap Privacy.
- On the page that appears, tap Location at the very top. Location Services should normally be enabled. If not, toggle the switch, so it shows green.
- A little further down, tap Share My Location, then Find My iPhone. Finally, toggle the three Find My iPhone, Find network, and Send Last Location switches to the on position. This will give you the best chance of finding the device’s location, even if it is offline or its battery is down.
Locate and ping iPhone on a map
From a computer (PC or Mac), tablet, or Android mobile, launch any web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari).
Go to your iCloud account >> Enter your Apple account ID and password (the same one you use on your iPhone). With the double authentication system, you will receive an alert and a connection authorization request on the devices (Mac, iPad, or Apple Watch) connected to your Apple account.
If you have one of these devices handy, activate the Authorize button and enter the six-digit code sent by Apple. If you don’t have one of these devices or can’t receive a code, click the Locate button on the left below the code entry space.
Re-enter your Apple account ID and password. A map appears in the browser window. It shows the last known location of your device.
The dots (green or gray) represent your devices registered with your Apple account. The green dot means the device is connected to a network. If it’s gray, the iPhone is offline. Click on one of these dots to find the “i” button to the right of its name.
The top right of the window displays the device’s name, the date and time it was last detected, and three options.
Click Ring if you think it’s not too far from you or in a known location where someone could pick it up for you. The iPhone will play a fairly loud ringtone even if it’s in Do Not Disturb or Vibrate mode. If turned off or offline, the ringtone will ring as soon as it is turned back on and/or connected to a mobile or WiFi network.
If you don’t recognize the location displayed on the map, click Lost Mode. Here you can enter a phone number where you can be reached if someone finds it. Click Next.
Now enter a message. It will appear on the iPhone screen as soon as it is turned on and connected to a WiFi or mobile network. Click Done.
Finally, if you click Erase iPhone, all data on it will be deleted, and the link with your Apple account will be broken. In addition, you will no longer be able to locate the device. Only use this function if you think you will never find it and prefer that no one accesses its contents.
Read also: How to Change Voice on Apple Maps
- Swipe up on the home screen of your Apple watch and go to the control center
- Find, press, and hold the ping iPhone icon to ring the alarm of the iPhone connected to the watch. Immediately, your iPhone’s alarm and flashlight will activate.
How Long Does It Take to Ping a Phone?
The procedure doesn’t take more than a minute. You could ping your phone in 15 seconds, provided you’ve previously turned on location and Find My Device.
Best Apps to Ping Cell Phone Location
Both Android and iOS devices have pre-installed applications for locating a phone. You don’t need to download them. But here, I’ll show you the best apps for pinging cell phones. They are pre-installed and downloadable.
As a Google app for Android devices, Find My Device is made to find lost and stolen devices. However, you can use it as a location tracking app. You may or may not have it installed to start monitoring. It’s accessible with the app and via the webpage https://www.google.com/android/find.
- Find real-time locations easily.
- You can erase, locate, or ping the device even if you don’t have it with you.
The main purpose of Find My iPhone is to help locate your lost or stolen iPhone, iPad, and watch devices. In addition, you can use it to ping (make your device play an alarm noise), even if it is in silent mode. Like Google Find My Device, this one is accessible via a webpage.
In an ideal scenario, you should previously do the following configuration to enable this option.
- Go to Settings >> Privacy >> Location services and allow control.
- In Settings, select your Apple ID. Select Find my device.
- To see your device, even if it’s offline, turn on the offline search option.
- To send your device’s location to Apple even when the battery is low, enable Send Last Location.
Find My Friends is also a location service available only for Apple iOS devices. Through this application, you can find the real-time location of family or friends. As a clarification, you will only be able to track cell phones that previously authorized this option.
- Area tracking with Find My Friends is very easy and secure
- You can download it from the Apple App Store for free, or sometimes it’s already included.
- It allows you to track multiple iOS devices, not just one.
Among the best free location tracking apps is Glympse. It’s available for Android and iOS devices. This app instantly detects your device and lets you know your location history. You can access location activity through the Glympse dashboard.
- You can share the location in real time with whomever you want.
- It is not necessary to register, nor for the other person to have the app installed.
- It is a light app and runs in the background.
- It works through GPS and data connection.
It is another app available for Android and iOS devices, which performs free cell phone location tracking from your phone number.
It’s free, and the only drawback is that it asks you to do a review before using it. But according to the store reviews and rating of 4.5 stars, it is worth it.
- Helps locate a cell phone by its number in real-time.
- Caller ID, with history and contacts.
- You can block calls that do not interest you, such as advertising from banks or fraud.
With Family Locator, you have an app focused on the family. You can use it to know how your children navigate or take care of the safety of your family or friends.
This application uses a GPS that allows you to track the device’s real-time location, as long as it is with the other person’s consent. It is available for iOS and Android.
- Receive notifications when the people you love arrive at the destination points.
- You can configure the safe zones in the GPS, be it the school or the house.
- Create groups in the application itself.
What Should you Do Before your Phone Is Stolen?
1. Turn on Location
Just like your insurance will ask you to install a tracker on your car for theft protection, you need something like that done to your phone.
First, you must turn on your phone’s GPS, which is the location feature.
With the location turned on, you can ping and locate where the device is in real time on a map.
If otherwise, it still doesn’t mean you can’t find it. And if it’s not connected to a WiFi or data network, its last known location will be saved on Google’s or Apple’s servers.
By using another smartphone or a computer connected to the internet, you’d be able to ping your device.
You can lock access to it and display a message or a telephone number. Therefore, the person the phone is with can contact you as soon as the device is connected to the internet again. But, of course, that’s if he wishes to return the phone.
You will also be able to erase its content remotely. This is the last resort when considering your mobile phone irretrievable. It will no longer be possible to locate it afterward.
2. Do regular cloud backups
You should also ensure that you make regular backups of the device’s contents. The operation is carried out with Google servers for Android mobiles (in the device settings, activate the automatic backup options) or on iCloud for iOS devices.
This way, you’ll be able to recover your data and reintegrate them into a new mobile if you do not recover your lost or stolen smartphone.
3. Know your IMEI
Next, you need to retrieve the smartphone’s IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. This number, made up of 15 to 17 digits, uniquely identifies a mobile, like a social security number or an identity card.
When you report the lost or stolen device to law enforcement, you will need it. This helps you obtain a police report. Your network operators may also request the report if you wish to register the phone’s IMEI number in the database of blocked and unusable devices in the country.
The IMEI is always written on a label stuck on the original casing of the phone. You can also find it on a piece of paper inside or on the purchase invoice – always keep it safe. It is also accessible under the phone’s battery.
Finally, you can also check your IMEI code by dialing *#06#.