Best Smartphone Tracking Apps for Android/iOS

Misplacing your smartphone can result in a painful and tiresome search process, especially if the sound is off. But, what do you do if your smartphone has been stolen or lost? Fortunately, Google Play and iTunes offer a number of free tracking applications to help you quickly locate your phone in case of an emergency. It is worth mentioning, however, that none of these apps will help you if the smartphone’s battery is low, or all its data has been erased by the time you start looking for it.

These applications will help you find your smartphone under stressful circumstances. For example, if it has only slipped between the cushions, or became invisible in the debris of your handbag, and the sound is off, these applications will make your phone emit an audible sound so that you will be able to hear it and locate the device in its hiding nook.

However, in situations when the phone gets seriously lost or stolen, these applications will identify its location via GPS. Some applications go as far as to give you remote access to the device, and the possibility to block it until you get to its location. Note: some of these applications require your smartphone has GPS on at all times which may be battery-consuming. Unfortunately, this problem creates a circle of problems: if the GPS is on at all times, you only have a limited amount of time to locate it until the battery dies, and the tracking application will be useless.

LoJack is only compatible with Samsung Galaxy S4, Galaxy S4 Active and Galaxy Tab 3 10.1 and comes at a price of $29.99. The application offers theft-recovery technology for your smartphone protection.

iPhone owners are familiar with the iPhone’s built-in Find My iPhone, Apple’s native application. This utility allows using another iOS device to locate your lost or stolen iPhone, but you have to be logged in with your unique Apple ID. It can make your phone emit a beeping sound or lock the device altogether. If necessary, you can even wipe your data completely from the lost or stolen iPhone. Find My iPad, as the name suggests, is an identical application for iPads.

Android Device Manager has been recently released by Google. It is a perfect solution for locating your smartphone in your approximate whereabouts, such as your office or home. In situations when the ringer is off, and you can’t call your phone to find it, you just need to login to your Google account and select the Android Device Manager link which will take you to the Google Maps where the marked location of your lost device will be displayed. From your Google account on the web, you can instruct the Android Device Manager to ring. No worries if you have turned the ringer off; Android Device Manager has a privilege to override the silent or vibrate mode, and will make your smartphone ring at its highest volume. In case you think your smartphone has been stolen from you, Android Device Manager can erase all data on your device if you have enabled this option beforehand.
Tracking Apps: Lookout
Lookout Security & Antivirus is another free, feature-rich application for Android and iOS devices. With its help, you can locate your missing device on a map from any other device with Internet connection. You can then make it beep at its highest volume, call the device or send text messages to it. In case the device’s battery is low, Lookout will save its last known location. In addition to tracking capabilities, Lookout also scans your device for malware, makes backups for your contact list and monitors your OS updates. Lookout for Android devices will send you an email notification if someone attempts at accessing your device with an incorrect password three times in a row.

Lookout for iOS is compatible with iOS 5.0 and higher iPhones and iPads. Lookout for Android has OS requirements depending on the device. The premium pack costs $2.99 per month or $29.99 per year and offers extensive features tom improve your privacy protection and control your device remotely, and even wipe its entire data storage. Kindle owners also have the opportunity to download the free version of Lookout.

In case you did not install a tracking application and lost your phone, you can try to locate it with the help of Plan B application, or its counterpart AndroidLost as a last resort. However, if your smartphone or tablet is still where it belongs, we strongly recommend you install a tracking application of your choice before it’s too late.

Plan BPlan B is another app by Lookout and a last resort for the desperate, especially if you do not have any tracking application installed. You will need to have the Plan B desktop application, or you can also access Plan B through Google Play to install the Plan B application on your missing device. Of course, it is only possible if your phone is anywhere within WiFi network. If the installation is successful, the application sends a notification to your Gmail with details of the search process. If or when it locates your device, Plan B sends another notification with your phone’s location marked on a Google Map. There is also another way to trigger the location procedure. Provided the application is already installed, you can text your phone the keyword “locate” to initiate the location process. However, Plan be is only compatible with Android 2.0 to Android 2.3 devices.

AndroidLost is another application which does not require a pre-installation because you can push it to your supposedly connected to WiFi phone through Google Play. You will have to login to Google Play via to install and activate the app on your missing device remotely. You will then have a number of SMS commands you can send to your phone to initiate several procedures. You can view the location of your phone on a map, view your call logs, and make the phone beep, or forward calls. With the help of this feature-rich application you can also wipe out all your data, or lock the device, or better, take photos of your device surroundings. You can even use the text-to-speech feature to make your phone speak your message out loud. In addition, you can remotely turn GPS on and off. AndroidLost requires Android 2.2 and later.

Another free, open source and quite powerful application compatible with Android, iOS devices, as well as laptops on Mac, Windows and Linux, is Prey. You will need to register an account and install the application on your devices. You can register up to three devices in one Prey account. Clearly, Prey requires installation before the fact of loss or theft takes place. In case you lose the smartphone, log into your account and mark the device as lost, or missing. Prey initiates locating procedure and sends you updates on its progress. It uses WiFi and GPS to tag your phone on the map. It also allows getting images from your phone’s cameras, initiate an alarm, send text messages and alert you if a different SIM card has been inserted. The Android compatible Prey requires Android 2.2 and later. The iOS app requires 4.3 or later. Prey Pro comes at $5 a month price and offers more customization options and advanced features, as well as support for a larger variety of devices.