Find My Phone

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Find my Phone or similar is the name given by various manufacturers to software and a service for smartphones, whereby a registered user can find the approximate location of the phone if switched on, over the Internet, or by the phone sending e-mail or SMS text messages. This helps to locate lost or stolen phones.[1][2]

Apple offers a free service called - Find My iPhone for iPhones running iOS. Microsoft's My Windows Phone offers a similar service for phones running Windows Phone. Similarly, Google, has designed the "Android Device Manager" app for select phones running Android. The app comes pre-installed on all Android devices and is based on Google's one account for all. For the function to work, the target Android device should have previously been linked to at least one Google account. The Find My Device service can be accessed by visiting Google Android website or by installing the app version on another Android device. The same account logged on the lost device is then used to track its location or for locking the device with a password and displaying a text message on the home screen. To prevent misuse of available information, Google enabled the function to erase all the data on lost Android devices.[3] At least one of these can be installed remotely on a phone after it has gone missing.[4][5]

Some of these applications may have limitations which can be checked before installing, such as only working in some countries, dependencies upon the phone's implementation of GPS, etc.[4] Similar paid or free apps are also available for all device platforms.

Similar applications are available for computers. Computers rarely have built-in GPS receivers or mobile telephone network connectivity, so these methods of location and signalling are not available. A computer connected to the Internet by a cabled connection gives its location as the location of the Internet Service Provider (ISP) it is connected to, usually a long distance away and not very useful, although the IP address may help. However, a WiFi-connected computer (typically a laptop computer) can find its approximate location by checking WiFi networks in range against a database, allowing approximate location to be determined and signalled over the Internet.[6]


  1. ^ BBC: Inside a knife-point mugging, 9 July 2012. Describes a street robbery of a phone and other items, and how a suspect (in possession of the phone, and recorded on security cameras in the area) was quickly tracked and arrested through a Find my Phone service.
  2. ^ AP: Cop accused of stealing driver's iPhone from a wreck, 12 July 2012. iPhone tracked as having been stolen by policeman from car crash.
  3. ^ "Find My Phone: Track your misplaced Android, iPhone, or Windows Phone". Gadget Detected - Tech & Startup news. 2017-04-24. Retrieved 2017-09-09.
  4. ^ a b ReadWriteWeb: How to Find Your Lost or Stolen Android Phone for Free. Comparison of several "Find my Phone" applications for Android phones.
  5. ^ Mlot, Stephanie. (2013-08-02) Google Unveils Android Version of 'Find My iPhone' | News & Opinion. Retrieved on 2013-08-09.
  6. ^ PC Magazine: 6 Ways to Find Your Stolen Laptop, July 2011