Losing a phone is one of the most devastating feelings, especially considering how much of our lives we store digitally on them, including our contacts, wallet, and even car keys. If your phone was password protected, you can breathe a sigh of relief temporarily.
There are obvious services in place that help you locate your lost Android phone by pinging its GPS location. But what if your cell phone is switched off? Can you still track it?
Can You Track a Phone That Is Turned Off?
Short answer—yes; long answer, it depends on how long it has been switched off. Your phone stops communicating with the cell towers the moment it powers down, which is also true for all GPS activity. You need to act quickly to increase your chances of being able to find your phone.
If your phone has been stolen, filing a police report may increase your odds of finding it through your phone’s IMEI number.
Use Find My Device to Locate Your Android Phone
Every Android device that’s linked to a Google account can be tracked through Google’s Find My Device service. It works similarly to Apple’s Find My app and allows you to not only ping your misplaced Android phone but also lock or erase its contents.
- Visit Google’s Find My Device website on a computer or another phone.
- Log into the same Google account as the one on your stolen or lost phone.
- You can view compatible devices to the left, including your lost Android phone with its last known location to the right.
Assuming your phone has been switched off, you will only be able to view the location where it last pinged Google. That may be enough if your phone was lost rather than stolen. In the event someone finds and turns your phone on, you can easily ping, lock, or factory erase it using Find My Device.
Trace Your Steps Using the Google Maps Timeline
Another genius way to find your lost cell phone is by seeing where you’ve been with the Google Maps Timeline. With so much reliance that we put on our phones for commuting and finding directions, there is a great chance that Google Maps has a detailed history of where your phone has been—as long as you’ve got Location History enabled on the device.
Google Maps Timeline displays every route you’ve taken and every shop you’ve visited. Although this is not its intended use case, this is a great way to locate your lost or misplaced Android device.
- On a computer or a phone, open Google Maps and sign in to your Google account.
- Click on the menu icon and select Your Timeline from the options. This will bring up a timeline view of your recent outings.
- To narrow down your search, select the date you lost your phone using the drop-down menus.
- By retracing your steps, you may eventually locate where you lost your phone.
Track Your Phone Using Third-Party Apps
If you don’t use Google Maps on your phone often and have background data disabled for it, you most likely won’t be able to locate your phone using Google’s services.
Fortunately, there are still a few apps and services that constantly ping your last known location. Snapchat is a great example of this. Since you can view someone’s location on Snapchat, if you had the option enabled, you could ask your friends to check for your latest whereabouts.
If you shoot a lot of images and use Google Photos to back them up, you can access your most recent images from another device and check the image details for the location it was taken at. Again, you’ll need to have had the location option turned on in the camera app.
Try to think of any other apps on your phone that might have your last known location stored. In times as dire as this, every last bit of information is useful.
Find Your Lost Android Phone
Finding a lost or stolen phone can get nerve-wracking, but with these helpful location services, you stand a good chance of locating it. Seeking help from the police is always an option that will greatly increase your chances of tracking your lost cell phone.
Obviously, losing a valuable piece of technology is just one side of the coin. With your phone gone, your personal details, banking information, contacts, and work documents are at stake. The faster you find it, the better.
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