Finding Lost Or Stolen Cell Phone

Posted on 2008-11-16
2 Ratings
Last Modified: 2015-03-25
How can I traingulate a lost or stolen cell phone?
Question by:luisrivera123
    LVL 14

    Accepted Solution

    Call the police and talk them into gettinga  warrant to ask the carrier for the triangulated location.  Most cell phone carriers won't triangulate unless court ordered.  
    LVL 38

    Assisted Solution


    In general, the answer is "you can't". The typical user cannot track a cell phone. There are some exceptions:
    1) Your cellular service always can (by GPS if it's on, by trangulation if GPS is off), but generally will not;
    2) Law enforcement can (in the USA, at least), with a warrant or in a demonstrable emergency OR when you call 911 (most modern phones automatically turn on GPS when 911 is called);
    3) Some cellular services offer a GPS tracking service for parents, which sometimes can be activated for a lost or stolen cell; and,
    4) In some cases and for some phones there is tracking software, which sends data back to a central site where the phone's location can be tracked over the web or via the software manufacturer's special application. Typically this is used by companies tracking employee travel/location during the work day. It would have to have been installed prior to the phone needing to be tracked, though.

    I suggest calling the phone and see if it rings in a place where you think it might be, or who answers. If you have online billing statements, you may also be able to see who they are calling, and call those people to figure out who has the phone

    Unless, of course, you believe this site:      <----- JOKE!

    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    yes, call the service provider and allthough they can not locate it for you, tell them you want to have the phone put on the lost stolen lost. that way if someone has it, they can not activate it under another account. essentially by callling and reporting it stolen, the phones esn number (like a serial number) will not be able to be activated, unless you call the phonw carrier back to report it found,
    LVL 2

    Assisted Solution

    Have you already lost the iPhone, or was it already stolen from you?  Or do you wish to be prudent and setup preventative measures?  IF the former, you're pretty much SOL.  IF the latter, then a few viable options are afforded you, and they are as follows:

    Apple's MobileMe service:  Upon subscribing(30 day free trial, and $99usd per year thereafter), you can log in to your browser-based MobileMe panel(, and go to 'Find my iPhone' section, at which point you can register one/some/all of your iPhones, view their current location on the map, send a message to them, lock them, or wipe the data from them, and then lock them.  IF someone steals your iPhone, or you leave it somewhere, then so long as you can get to another Internet connected device, you can locate your iPhone within 10-40 meters in most cases.  Of course if you wish to hunt it down, it's best to have a portable device that is Internet connected, or a second person with whom you can give directions to over the phone as you follow/track/monitor the location of your iPhone(s).

    There are a half dozen other tracking apps similar in nature, found on both the iTunes stores and in Cydia.  If you wish further information, I'd be happy to elaborate.

    Eric Jarvies
    Cabo San Lucas, Baja California Sur, MExico
    LVL 28

    Expert Comment

    I've requested that this question be deleted for the following reason:

    Not enough information to confirm an answer.
    LVL 38

    Expert Comment

    I recommend a split:

    http:#a22972189 - 200 points
    http:#a22972283 - 200 points+ accept
    http:#a23399931- 50 points (late to the party, no new information)
    http:#a32776588 - 50 points (late to party, information is only pre-loss)

    The information provided was accurate at the time of the question, and is largely accurate now.

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