How to Track a Phone

As our phone now become more and more sophisticated, the phone manufactured nowadays are equipped with GPS technology in which allows you to track a phone in real time. In this article, we will list down on the several methods on how to track a phone.

GPS Technology
The technology of tracking a phone revolves around the GPS chips that is embedded in your phone and also cell tower triangulation. Almost all smartphones have this GPS and therefore allows it to have some applications that helps you find your way such as Papago, Waze and etc. GPS or Global Positioning System is made up of a network of 24 satellites placed in the orbit by the U.S Department of Defense. It is a satellite-based navigation system and was originally developed for military purposes.


The GPS satellites orbits the earth twice a day and interact with the GPS receiver embedded in your smartphones. The GPS satellite will use triangulation method to calculate and measure the user’s location based on the GPS receiver in your phone.This GPS technology allows the satellite and also network tower to pinpoint your location accurately as your phone continuously sending information on its location whereabouts to the GPS satellite.
Cell Tower (Courtesy of franky242)
First of all, you need to know what type of phone you have. If it is smartphone, it is much easier to track as almost all smartphones has GPS chip embedded into the phone and therefore allows it to be track via satellite and also communication tower.

Tracking non smartphone
However, if it is a non-smartphone, it can still be tracked as we have mentioned in this article how to track a non-smartphone. This is because a cell phone is basically an advanced two way radio in which communication are made via cell towers. These cell towers are within a network of cell towers which its main function is send and receive the radio signals emitting from your phone. Your cell phone is basically transmitting radio signal to the nearest cell tower. The closer your phone to a cell tower, the stronger the signal that is emitted. So, by measuring the signal strength and also through triangulation method with other cell tower; that is by measuring how strong or weak signal emitted by your phone, your phone location can be pinpointed almost accurately. However, there are some disadvantages to this technique as big buildings or trees can affect the signal and therefore effect the signal strength.

Tracking phone with Apps
If ten years ago you lose your phone, the chance of tracking and retrieving it back is very much slim. All you can hope for is to call your phone number using a payphone and hope someone picks it up on the other side. However, if your phone was stolen, the slimmer the chance that somebody will pick it up at the other side. And ten years ago, your phone cost less than $500 and the only data that you have in the phone is your contact address, phone number and pictures. Fast forward to the current digital age, almost all phone users are now using smartphones. This smartphones are installed with applications as well as a lot of important data are in the phone. It is almost twice expensive as it was used to be. Therefore, it is critical for any users to be able to track their phone and retrieve it back once it is lost. All you need sometimes your phone’s IMEI number. You can use IMEI to track your phone by giving the IMEI number to your network operator to scan and locate your phone.
Track your phone

However, as phones are getting smarter, more data and information can be stored in the phone. Apps are a must for every smartphones and this Apps can have many functions depending on the interest of the users. Apps are also been created for security of the smartphones as well as for tracking the phone if the phone got lost. There are numerous available Apps in the market such as SeekDroid, Find My Droid, Predator and many more. Each of this Apps have its own unique specifications and advantages. iPhone even have a pre-installed app that is called Find iPhone that can instantly tracked the whereabouts of your phone. This shows that this feature of tracking your phone is getting critically important. Each Apps are designed for it to be able to transmit the location of your phone in which you can access through a computer or other phone. It uses GPS technology and therefore you can track your phone as long as it is on and connected to a network operator.

As a conclusion, smartphones has become a necessity in this modern age of web 3.0. As the device become more important to our daily lives, the ability to track it once it got lost will become more and more critical as many valuable data will be in the smartphones. The data that was lost sometimes outweigh the price of the smartphones and for that reason alone, people will try to track their phone in many means as possible.

Track Phone Using EXIF data

First of all, what is EXIF? EXIF stands for Exchangeable Image File Format. It is basically a standard set for digital images that covers the format for pictures, sounds and also other file images that is recorded by digital cameras. This digital cameras also covers the camera in your smartphones. So, how can you use it to track phone using EXIF data? The metadata tags in the EXIF standards such as JPEG, TIFF, RIFF WAV contains data such as the date and time information for the pictures or audio that was taken or recorded. It also contains the camera settings, copyright information as well as the thumbnail for the preview pictures. And the most important metadata tag for tracking your phone using EXIF data is the EXIF tag format for location information.


This is due to the fact that many smartphones have a built-in GPS receiver. The GPS data can be a time stamp into your digital photo and therefore the pictures taken will show the exact GPS coordinate of the pictures. This is called Geo-tagging process. There are several apps in the market that utilizes this EXIF data in the picture to know exactly where are the pictures you have shared are taken. So again, how all of this relates to using it to track your phone? Well, just imagine a scenario in which you just gotten your phone lost or stolen. Most smartphones nowadays comes together with cloud applications that stores your image to a cloud server in which you can access from anywhere in the world. iPhones for instance comes with the iCloud services in which any pictures or audio taken can be shared within all Apple’s platform devices. There are also application such as Dropbox where you can synchronized your pictures taken into your account and that can be accessed by you anywhere and any computers in the world. So, if you got your phone stolen, you can check the pictures or audio that have been uploaded automatically after the date that you have lost the phone. The pictures will contain the EXIF data in which you can extract from free photo viewer software such as Google’s Picasa or Windows Live Photo Gallery. This data also contains the geo-tagging data that will show you where the exact coordinates are the pictures was taken and you can use that data to track your phone. Even though the data is not that accurate but at least it can give you a lead on the whereabouts of your lost phone.

IMEI Blacklist Checker

First of all, what is an IMEI? And what is an IMEI Blacklist? An IMEI is basically the unique number that represents your phone. It has 14 to 15 numbers and you can quickly know your phone unique IMEI number by pressing *#06# on your phone keypad. An IMEI that is blacklisted is basically a phone that was reported lost or stolen. So if your phone IMEI number was blacklisted, this also means that your phone is blacklisted. A network operator who received the report by its previous owner would put the IMEI number of the phone to a blacklisted database. This IMEI is also called as bad IMEI. So if your phone have a bad IMEI, it is possible that the phone you are currently using might be stolen or was reported lost by its previous owner.


If the phone was reported stolen, the phone will be unusable in most carrier networks even if the SIM card is changed. So, how do you avoid this from happening? First of all, you can always avoid this by not buying stolen phones or not buying a phone from untrustworthy sources. This is because once you bought the phone from unauthorized source, it would be difficult to return your phone once you know that the phone has a bad IMEI. But, sometimes you could not avoid this and you might be duped by this people and thinking that your phone is a brand new one. The best way is to check the IMEI of the phone quickly and to determine whether it is good or not. Some network operator such as T-Mobile allows you to check the phone’s IMEI at their website. Just go their website and you can simply type the IMEI number of your phone to check whether it is blacklisted or not. There are also several websites that are offering to check the IMEI is blacklisted or not based on available database from the network carriers. So, make sure your phone does not have a blacklist IMEI before purchase. This would save yourself a lot of headache.