Have you ever lost your phone? Do you know that you can add a simple application to your cell phone that will help you locate it? Alternatively, you can add a cell phone tracking app to your child, teen or family members’ phone so that you know where they are. Losing track of your phone can cause a sense of panic, but losing track of someone for longer than you think you should be scary.

Setting the Tracking on Your Phone

You have Options

Many different tracking apps can be added to your electronic devices. Free cell phone tracking apps are available that have added features beyond what is already on board and some offer extra features, such as anti-virus security and malware protection. Some of these applications are free and some require a monthly, quarterly or annual subscription fee.

Whether you want to track on your phone, laptop or tablet, to find your device or to find someone, it can be easily set up on your iPhone, Android or Windows phone. The quickest and easiest fix is to use the onboard tools that are already on your phone. Listed in the following section are the steps required to set your devices up for tracking.

Android Phones and Tablets

Tracking App

The built-in Android device manager will allow you to track, lock and wipe clean your Android Tablet or phone in the event that you lose it. However, you must first enable this feature on each of your devices for it to be active. You do this by going into:

  • Google settings applications
  • Tap Android Device Manager
  • Visit the Google Play Website
  • Click the gear icon
  • Select Android device manager – you will see the location of the phone or tablet on the map.

Windows Phones

Included on phones with Microsoft Windows is a phone tracker called, find my phone. Like with Android devices, you must set it up for it to work. To set up the tracker:

  • Tap Settings
  • Find my phone on your Windows phone, so that you can configure it.
  • Go to the Windows phone website
  • Click find my phone
  • In the upper right corner window, you can lock, erase or track your phone

Windows PC and Tablet Tracking Settings

Since Windows does not offer a tracking solution for its tablets, laptops and PCs you will need a third party tracker if you want to be able to track the location of your device.

On both the Android and Windows systems, when using this tracking method, you need to be aware that the tracking information can be disabled if the phone has a factory reset performed on it.

Apple Phones and Devices

Apple integrates Find My services into their iPhones, iPads, a Macs. When it is enabled with the iCloud options, your device can be tracked from the iCloud website. Like Android and windows, you will have the option of tracking it, and marking it as lost, wiping it clean, which removes your personal data or locking it to protect your data.

When you put your device into lost mode, iCloud will begin tracking it and will develop a timeline of its movements. Unlike the other two operating systems, your Apple device will survive a factory reset, as Apple will not activate a phone that they have listed in their system as lost. So, if you lose your phone, be sure to let your provider know as soon as possible.

Best Cell Phone Tracking App

For Apple Products

If you want a high level of tracking ability and control over your iPhone, mSpy is a subscription service that offers a discreet system that will be difficult for the techies in your life to find on their iPhone. This will give you more control over your children’s phones. mSpy has many features that are not found with the built-in trackers on your phone. The basic will give you the ability to check the call history, contact list, emails, web history and many other operations that are occurring on your children’s phones.

For Android and Windows Products

Where’s my droid is another free download for your Android that will enable you to find your phone if you lose it. This app will give you the freedom to track your phone from anywhere with the online “Commander” control centre. You can give your phone command to ring so that you can locate it when it is nearby, or you can get the GPS coordinates of your phone if it is outside of your hearing range.

Cerberus offers a complete anti-theft application for your Android devices. Like “Where’s my Droid”, you can use Cerberus to control your device remotely. It can be found at Cerberus apps.

For IOS, Windows and Android Phones

Life 360 offers a free cell phone tracking app for Android, Windows phones, and Apple’s IOS, making it adaptable to whichever phone or device you have, including laptops and tablets. Using GPS locators, Life 360 can track your device and let you know where it is. When you set location sharing with others, you can all keep track of each other’s locations if everyone is using the app.

Prey works on all Apple, Windows and Android phone operating systems. An open-source app that is being used worldwide with many recoveries to its credit, Prey will work on your phone, tablet and laptop, keeping them safe from theft and inadvertent loss. Prey is also available by subscription for businesses and organizations with a number of phones. With the Prey app included in a group of phones, you will be able to track the location of all of your people, wherever they are.

Another free mobile security app for your Android is Avast! Not only do they offer a hidden anti-theft component, but they also offer antivirus software, a firewall and other great features to keep your Android Smartphone, laptop and tablet safe from online attacks as well as from loss due to theft or misplacement of your electronic device.

McAfee not only makes anti-virus software for computers, but they also have a tracking app for your Android device. It offers features like Avast!, that keep your Android powered devices safe from viruses, spyware, worms, Trojan horses and botnets. It scans installed applications, memory cards and more, and gives you the same level of protection on your remote electronic devices that you use on your personal computer.

No Tracking app on your Android Phone?

PlanB can be used on Android 2.x devices (Éclair, Froyo and Gingerbread) to find your phone even if you have not added a tracker. PlanB’s app for Android will work if your device is connected via Wi-Fi, GPS or cellular data. Limited on the number of Androids OS versions, PlanB is still a good way to track your phone if you neglected to set up the onboard tracking system of your device.

You have Choices

No matter which operating system your phone, laptop or tablet uses, there are many ways to protect it from loss, and you can use the settings on your phone or add a new application. There are also several methods to track your family and friends; some are already onboard your device and others that can be downloaded for free or for a small monthly fee. Since many of these apps are free, and security settings on your phone are already part of the operating system, there is no reason to ever lose your phone again.

Doing it free or paying a fee when considering a tracking application will depend on the level of security that you require on your device, and if your intent is to keep your devices safe from loss or theft. If you need a full-featured app, that also offers the security of anti-virus and malware protection, for your devices and those of your family, then considering an application from McAfee or Avast!, maybe the best route for your to take when adding a tracking app to your phone, laptop and tablet.