Device Tracking

Tracking your android phone without a tracking app

Don't have a tracking app on your Android device? No problem. Check out our step-by-step guide to locate your device without any software.

April 21, 2023

Protecting your stolen devices is of the utmost importance. If you want to make sure you can track down your misplaced gadget, installing security software on it is a good idea. However, we acknowledge that there are situations when we fail to take this necessary measure.

However, there is no need to panic because reliable methods exist to locate your lost cell phone. Without installing any additional security software, we will teach you how to track your phone or tablet in this post.

Let's dive in and investigate what you can do to get back your misplaced phone.

Android Find My Device

Thanks to the GPS functionalities integrated into mobiles our devices are constantly delivering information about location and situation, but without an app to read it, it won’t be possible to get a registry of this data. However, we live in the 21st century, where remote apps are rampant and mass links are everywhere, which is why, even if you can’t get the whole package, it is possible to at least learn where the device is.

Google is a smart company. There’s a reason why they’re one of the most valuable companies listed. Therefore, they thought ahead of time and developed the Android Device Manager, now known as Find My Device, a function that comes by default in all Android devices and where being online is all it takes to get location information.

To use Find My Device, all it takes is a computer to log into the Google account also linked to the cell phone or tablet and every 10 minutes you’ll receive a report with the location of your device. This feature is always on by default and all it takes it for the device to be on and connected to the Internet.

Having a computer isn’t mandatory, since you can just download the app on another Android phone and track the location by logging into your account.

But tracking the gps location isn’t everything the Android Device Manager can do. When you’ve already lost hope on recovering your device it’s possible to order a mass wipe of all information to protect the user’s privacy. While this feature must be turned on beforehand, it will save you more than one headache.

Although in the past there were more options that involved installing Apps via remote connection, Google changed this feature because of safety reasons, which is why installing Apps via remote connection isn’t possible, but users have found new ways.

SmartThings Find (Samsung’s Find My Mobile)

Samsung has released a new application called "SmartThings Find" that allows customers to track down their misplaced or stolen Samsung smartphone, lock it, wipe its information, and even show a message on its screen. You must have a Samsung account and enable the Find My Mobile function on your smartphone to access this service. 

Once engaged, you may use the SmartThings Find website or mobile app to access the service. SmartThings Find not only locates your device but also allows you to remotely back up and restore your data. It's worth noting that SmartThings Find is only accessible on Samsung cellphones, but Google's Find My Device is available on nearly all Android handsets. While Google's service is primarily concerned with identifying and securing your device, SmartThings Find adds services such as remote data backup and restoration.

Track your Android phone using Google Timeline came up with new alternatives by thinking outside the box on how to track the location of your devices, which, while unorthodox, works as a last resource.

One of them is to use Google’s Timeline function, which is generally used to keep track of places visited in a timeline by checking the location with Google's account. But unlike ADM, Timeline doesn’t use GPS. Instead, it connects to 2G, phone antennas, and Wi-Fi networks to pinpoint a location, so it can work even if it is off.

Because of this format, it isn’t possible to obtain real-time reports, but you will be able to know the road your device is following and maybe even recognize a pattern and think of ways to find your lost device.

Brand-made tracking systems

Some mobile manufacturers have developed their own tracking software to track the location of their phones. Such as Samsung, can track the device no matter the device, and even if it needs the Internet to work, it will usually deliver more precise information and will be a surefire alternative, since it comes with the device with no installation needed.

Track your device using your carrier’s tracking service

If you've misplaced your Android handset and need to track it down, your carrier's tracking service is another option to explore. A tracking service is available from most service providers, allowing you to remotely lock and wipe your device, as well as track its whereabouts on a map. However, your carrier and location may affect the service's availability and operation.

You'll need to get in touch with your carrier's customer care, provide them with information about your device, and explain the scenario in order to use the tracking feature they offer. Before attempting to track down your missing equipment, they may want documentation such as a police report or confirmation of ownership.

Your carrier will be able to locate your device via its network once you have given the essential information. If your smartphone is not online or has its GPS disabled, this approach can be quite helpful.

Keep in mind that there might be hidden costs or prerequisites for using a tracking service provided by a carrier. Therefore, before utilizing this service, you should confirm the costs and terms with your carrier.

Android device ID tracking

Tracking an Android smartphone by its device ID is possible with a unique tracking app. This ID is created when the device is set up and never changes. If you know the device's unique identifier, you can monitor its whereabouts and actions even if it's not online or utilizing its GPS. Here, we'll go into the topic of Android device ID tracking.

Finding the device ID is the first step in tracking an Android smartphone. The device ID is a hexadecimal string containing a 64-bit number. The ID for a particular gadget may be in the "About phone" or "About device" section of the gadget's settings. Depending on your Android version, the device ID may be referred to as either the "Android ID" or the "Device ID."

You can monitor a device's whereabouts and actions using a third-party monitoring service or software once you know its unique identifier. For example, you may monitor an Android smartphone with several different services and applications using the unique device ID. The Find My Device app, which can be downloaded from the Google Play Store, is a common choice. The app provides remote device tracking, locking, and data deletion.

Prey, an anti-theft program, can still monitor the device's position using the device ID, even if the GPS is off. The software also can remotely lock the smartphone, set off an alert, and snap a photo.

If the device in question is not online or has GPS disabled, for example, device ID tracking may not work as advertised. Device ID monitoring is also an invasion of privacy; thus, it should be used sparingly and only when essential, such as in a lost or stolen device.

How to find my phone with IMEI/MEID Number

Don’t fall victim to the several scam apps and websites that claim they can track a phone with the IMEI number only. However, it can help you at least keep your phone data safe, but there is a process:

  1. Get hold of your IMEI/MEID number, if you can.
  2. Take it to the police and see if they can use it to help block the device.
  3. Contact your cell phone provider, who could also be able to work with that data and possibly block the device.

How to find your Android IMEI/MEID number without your phone

  • If you have your phone case, you can see it on the back of the packaging
  • If you don’t have your case, you can call your provider and see if they can get it for you

The IMEI or MEID, together with the serial number, won’t help directly track the device. The same thing goes for apps that claim they can get a phone location by number only. Without direct access or connection to the cell phone at hand, the phone number won’t be useful at all.

Use third-party tracking services 

All the mentioned above is a start, but it’s better to have all your phones and laptops under a single app with GPS location tracking and WiFI triangulation you can access and use anywhere.

Location tracking software often make advantage of your device's GPS to monitor its whereabouts and provide extra functionality like remote locking, data wiping, and even picture or screenshot capture of its present position.

Prey can help you track, detect odd movements, see past locations, and secure, lock, and protect your data. It’s more than the regular ‘Find my’ app, it’s anti-theft and online control panel for all your phones, laptops, and tablets.

preyproject location tracking
Example of Prey Project’s Geolocation Tracking

Get Your Device Back!

We truly hope you find your lost device, and we hope next time you’re facing this issue you’re ready with security software that lets you watch real-time information, create reports for the police and even create geofence's control zones with instant alarms and actions. And remember, Prey also support multiples OS and devices (We now support Chromebooks as well ).

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