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How To Locate Cell Phone Using a Free Cell Phone Tracker App

Updated on October 15, 2014

It's Easy To Locate A Cell Phone With GPS

It's so EASY to find the location of a cell phone with any computer. In most cases it's COMPLETELY FREE! Today I'm going to teach you a little bit about how to locate cell phone from your computer or smartphone.

The days of only law enforcement agencies being able to use a cell phone locator service are in the past. It seems to many that being able to locate someone with their cell phone is likely to only be a special effect from the movies.

Remember the days when you would watch star trek on television and they could locate Captain Kirk on their "long range scanners" and "beam him up"? Well unfortunately we haven't evolved to the point that you can find out where you kids are when they are late for dinner and beam them home. Maybe someday though. I'm keeping my fingers crossed! Let me rephrase that statement. We can't do this unless they are carrying a cell phone with a cell phone locator application on it. We can easily locate them but we can't "beam them home" just yet.

Locate Cell Phone Through Triangulation

The old way to locate cell phone was with a method called triangulation. When a cell phoned is turned on, it immediately begins to search for the nearest cell phone tower by broadcasting it's ESN (electronic serial number). When it has found a tower, the tower sends a signal back informing the phone of the tower ID number and the signal strength.

Cell phone towers have a certain radius in which they can communicate with a cell phone. This range is represented as a 360 degree circle around the tower. Step one to locate cell phone through triangulation is for the tower to calculate how far the phone is from the tower. It then calculates an imaginary circle that is sized based on the phones distance from the tower. This is circle "A".

Since there are several towers in any given area, the phone also knows how close it is to the surrounding towers. This is so that when you travel, the phone can automatically transfer it's signal to the next strongest tower to prevent dropped calls. The second nearest tower calculates the cell phones distance and again makes an imaginary circle based on the distance the phone is from the tower. This is circle "B".

The third step to locate cell phone through triangulation is for the next closest tower to gather the same data as the first two did. Once again an imaginary circle is recorded. This is circle "C".

A central computer located at the cell phone company knows the exact location of each of the towers reporting the proximity of the cell phone being tracked. A software program overlays circles a, b, and c. The point at which all three circles intersect is the location of the cell phone. It's as simple as that.

The technology of locating a cell phone with triangulation merely provides a close approximation of the location of the phone. It is usually accurate to within 100 meters or less. In most instances, this is level of accuracy is fine. There is a more accurate cell phone locator services that use GPS technology that is emerging as people replace their old phones with the new smart phones like the ever popular iPhone.

Locate Cell Phone - Pay Services

There are a couple of services called Verizon Family Locator and AT&T Family Map that you must pay a modest fee if you would like to use their tracking service.

Sprint has a very good cell phone locator service called the Sprint Family Locator. It's not free either but it doesn't cost much money. Sprint only charges you $5.00 a month to use their cell phone tracker and it is a very good tracking service. As a matter of fact, it is the only cell phone tracking service that doesn't require you to download and install a cell phone tracking app on the phone that you want to be able to track. It will work with any Sprint or Nextell cell phone and you don't need to subscribe to a data plan with your cell phone service provider if you want to use it either.

There's also one called iLocalis that is a cell phone tracking app for the iPhone but you need to pay to use it too. iLocalis will cost you about $20 year.

Free Cell Phone Locator Services

Believe it or not, there are some free programs that you can download onto your smart phone that will allow you to be tracked and track others. All you have to do is install the app on a supported cell phone and then make some minor configuration settings and bingo, you can begin tracking.

These free services are quite accurate and easy to use. Imagine looking at your phone and instantly seeing if any of your friends are near you during lunch time. You never know, you might find that a friend is only a block away from you. Then you can call him or her up and ask them if they want to get together for lunch.

You can set these free cell phone tracking programs up on your child's cell phone. Then whenever you want to check on them, you can simply look at your phone and see exactly where they are any time day or night.

Imagine that you expect your wife home from work at 7:00 PM and there was a big snowstorm and she's late. If you have a cell phone tracker installed on her phone, you can easily check to see if she has left the office yet.

The uses for this technology are virtually endless and someday soon nearly everyone will have this feature on their cell phones. It's just to important of a feature to not make it available to everyone who wants it.

A few of the more popular free cell phone locator apps are:

  • Glympse
  • MobiWee
  • Find My iPhone
  • GPS Tracking Pro
  • Find My Phone

Limitations of Phone Tracker Apps

You should know that there are a couple of limitations that cell phone tracker apps have.  Keep these in mind when using them.


  1. The phone must be turned on.  It's not possible for the apps to turn the phone on remotely.
  2. The phone must be in a cell phone service coverage area
  3. The phone must have a cell phone signal.
  4. They apps use the GPS receiver that is built into them that they won't work very well if you're in a shielded building like a parking garage.
  5. The app needs to be running on the phone or they won't work.

Are All Cell Phone Tracker Apps Good?

Some people email me from time to time wanting to know what cell phone tracker app they should use. They always want to know which app is the best. Unfortunately it's not always easy to answer that question. There are several factors that come into play when choosing an app for tracking mobile phones.

The first factor is the type of phone your have. If you have one of those old flip phones that don't allow you to download and install apps, you're just going to be out of luck in most cases. These phones are like the old "brick phones" that you used to see people carrying around in their back pockets. They're not really good for much other than making a phone call.

If you have a smartphone, then you have a lot of apps to chose from. Some are free and some require a fee. My favorite is phone tracker app by the name of SpyBubble. The reason I like it so much is that it's much more powerful that many of the other apps you can choose from.

It's actually one of the only apps of it's kind that is nearly impossible to detect once it has successfully been installed on a smartphone. You can learn more about this powerful cell phone tracking app by clicking on the link below.

Cell Phone Tracking Video

Here's a good video about a service called the "Sprint Family Locator". It's a very good tracking service that is offered by Sprint that is packed with some really cool features. It's only a short video so take a minute and have a look at it.


You shouldn't use a cell phone tracking application to track someone without their knowledge and permission.

You and you alone are responsible for your actions. The information contained herein is for entertainment purposes only.

Don't use any type of technology or software for the purposes of invading someone's privacy!

What Do You Think About Being Able To Be Located With Your Cell Phone?

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    • profile image

      OYINMA 7 months ago


    • profile image

      Lady313 7 months ago

      If your flip phone has GPS, is it possible to track? My boyfriend does not want to get a smartphone but wants us to be able to locate each other.

    • profile image

      Satish 10 months ago

      My mobile missing what do

    • profile image

      joyce 5 years ago

      Are you sure there is no way to to track spouses cell phone without him knowing?

    • profile image

      kelsey 5 years ago

      are there any tracking sites i can use that only require the serial number of my android? the theif that stole it changed my number so if it requires a phone number to track it, it does me no good.

    • profile image

      ashley 5 years ago

      Can I track my fiancé he constantly works out of town and sometimes scared he's somewhere else his GPS is always on it's an android phone how can I do this? Without him knowing

    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 6 years ago from Oregon

      No, sorry but you can't.

    • profile image

      chintu 6 years ago

      Can we locate anyone if we have his mobile number only and he has normal phone without gps

    • profile image

      Indifferent 6 years ago

      Carriers and almost all application out there track you record video, audio and take pics, so what's one more.

    • profile image

      thomas 6 years ago

      hi my name is thomas and i lost my mobile at school how can i get back my mobile

    • profile image

      james mwenda 6 years ago

      iko poa

    • profile image

      ajay 6 years ago

      great thought

    • profile image

      Tom Jewell 6 years ago


    • profile image

      Angie 6 years ago

      How do I found out if my phone have a track on it?

    • profile image

      mareena 6 years ago

      hey im a new girl on here and i just lost my phone also in the grass.......i don't know if it got stolen or been moved or torn by a lawn mower because my land lord mowed my lawn and my phones off so i don't know where my phone is at all and im afraid someone has it and will look up personal stuff and numbers on my phone what should i do since the police wont do nothing about it?

    • profile image

      Imran 7 years ago

      It was very good information. I have got following quries

      1. How can we identify the distance or time advance of the other phones

      2. After I get the Cell ID then how can identify the pannel directions

      please forwad the answers on my email

    • profile image

      Brad 7 years ago

      After raising 4 kids and having to roam the streets at 3 am looking for one from time to time I would have given my Eye teeth to have a tracking app on their phones. would have saved me a lot of heartburn and ulcers over the years.

      Yes!! it is a parents business to know where they are ALL the time. They can have their privacy after they are on their own.

    • profile image

      Robin Belisle 7 years ago

      I've just had my cell phone stolen, police can't help me. Would you know how i could track it.

    • profile image

      Jonthan oporta 7 years ago

      Hi could some please help me I lost my new eve htc phone at work is a big wear house but is still in the wearhouse my number7862274452 could some please help me to track my phone before the battery dies

    • profile image

      Tai Owens 7 years ago

      Can You Help Me Find My Cell Phone Its Lost And I might HAve To Return Black Ops For A New Phone :( Please Help Its Not Charged Can You Send The location To this Email::

    • profile image

      Bryan Simpson 7 years ago

      I need your help. I have lost my Iphone 3G. My locator service is turned on, so my Iphone knows where it is. How can I find it?

    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 7 years ago from Oregon

      @quiethorse - I don't believe there are any apps that will work with prepaid phone currently because you need to have the Internet on your phone for these tracking apps to work.

    • profile image

      quiethorse 7 years ago

      Do you know if there is any way to track a prepaid cell phone? Thanks.

    • profile image

      Joe Jamus 7 years ago

      This is great news! I'm learning all kinds of new things from your hubs today! Thanks!!!

    • Bob Barker profile image

      Bob Barker 7 years ago from Northern Earth

      This is just what I was looking for! Thanks for much for publishing this! I really appreciate it.

    • profile image

      Bobby Francis Joseph 8 years ago

      Thanks Patty Hahne. Your article was really helpful in understanding the concept. It could be further improved with help of a diagram explaining the concept. Anyway thanks a lot.

    • profile image

      bill 8 years ago

      I do not believe they need to know where I am.I guess now days there is no privacy for anyone with a cell phone.America is being more like the KGB use to be.Nose in everybodys business.


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