FAQ about locating your lost Android phone

find android phone without tracking app

Some time ago, I published a detailed article about locating a lost phone even if you don’t have any tracking apps installed. If you are trying to find your phone, make sure to read this guide first.

We received a lot of comments, emails and even private messages from people struggling to locate their lost phone. Most questions we got were very similar, so we decided to write this FAQ post, to give you fast answers to your urgent questions. This way, you might gain valuable time to track your phone instead of having to wait for a response.

I changed my Google account password. Can I still locate my phone?

Changing your Google password after you losing your phone is a totally logical thing to do right? You don’t want someone else have access to all your emails, drive documents etc. You can go ahead and change your password without losing the ability to track your device. Methods like Android Device Manager will still work. Shouldn’t you be able to locate your phone with ADM then I suggest you check the last recorded location using your phone’s location history.

–> Android Device Manager guide

–> How to use Google Maps location history to find your phone

Can I still locate my phone if it’s turned off / in airplane mode / the battery is dead?

This is a common scenario. Your phone is lost and its battery won’t last forever or a potential thief might have turned it off. What now? Except you’re working for the CIA, there no way to get in contact with your device. It needs to have an active internet connection to send its approximate location. However, you can use your phone’s location history to see where it was located before its internet connection stopped. For this to work, location history needs to be activated on the phone. If you didn’t do that, you don’t have another choice but wait and hope that someone turns it on and connects to the web.

–> Google Maps location history guide

My phone doesn’t show up on Android Device Manager. Why is that?

This can have many reasons. Your phone could be off, disconnected from the internet or your Google account. Keep in mind that changing your Google account password will automatically disconnect it from Google. Also, trying to locate a device with Device Manager doesn’t always work. I recommend that you keep trying to locate your phone every half hour or so. Your phone might have a bad connection or someone else turns it on and connects to the web. But if you changed your Google password, then Device Manager won’t be able to track it.

–> Locate your phone using Android Device Manager

Tile for iOS and Android – For Finding Anything and Everything

Can I locate my phone if someone changed the sim card?

Even if someone puts his SIM card in your phone, you might be able to locate it. Changing SIMs doesn’t disconnect it from your Google account, which is a good thing. It means that tracking tools like Android Device Manager or Android Lost should still work. The only needed thing in this scenario is that your phone keeps an internet connection.

–> Android Device Manager guide

–> Use Android Lost to track your phone (only for Android <3.0)

Can I track my phone if someone made a factory reset?

That’s an easy one – No. As the name already implies, resetting a phone brings it back to its factory settings. The most important thing you need – connection to your Google account – won’t be there anymore. If you haven’t installed a tracking app with root access, such as Cerberus, then you won’t be able to locate it anymore.

Can I locate my phone using my IMEI number?

Locating your phone with its unique IMEI number isn’t really possible. In some cases, the police can work together with a phone’s provider to locate it using its IMEI number. But don’t think you can just walk into a police station and expect them to do that. A more realistic thing you can do is to block your phone so that no one can use it to make calls, send texts or use the web. To do so, the best thing is to contact your provider.

By the way, you can find out your phone’s IMEI number by dialing *#06#. This code should work on most phones.

Are there still important questions left that haven’t been answered in this article? Go ahead and comment below and we’ll try to help you as good as we can!

Marc is an online marketer, avid blogger and technology enthusiast. His focus is on Android, tech and gadget reviews. He likes spending time travelling and reading all about what's going on in the tech world. You can find him on Google+ and Twitter.
  • ydurt

    How about the location of my phone is a place with no internet connection? Does that mean i lose my phone for good?

  • Karbry

    Hi Mark My phone was stolen so I disconnected it until I went for a new one. Same number and all. You’d think that’d be itt but a week after deleting thr vvideo history on my YouTube app I realized there are new ones (like “how to break in a ios”) . My youtube app is connected to Google but can I still send the control message even though it no longer receives calls? I put it on secure mode or something but that didn’t do much.

  • CoryL

    Changing your Google password does NOT stop the Android device manager from working, I have experience of this. In fact changing your password is the FIRST thing you should do if you suspect your device has been stolen.

  • Jaime Anderson

    Hello there ive lost my Android phone and its disconnected from my google account so the google locathow to locate your mobile phone

  • E Scott

    Will the person who has my phone know that i am tracking them

    • Only slightly. For example, trying to track it with Android Device Manager will trigger the GPS icon in your status bar to show up. Unless the person knows where to look in the settings, he won’t know what exactly triggered GPS.

      • Alicia

        Hi Marc,
        Merry Christmas! I have a Galaxy S4 which fell and so the screen needed changing. Within that time I forgot the password! I tried ADM but when the notification is sent to the phone nothing happens. I am thinking about installing the android lost remotely. Will I be able to change the password having forgotten the original password to unlock my phone? Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

  • kyle

    PLEASE HELP!! I got drunk one night spreading my fathers ashes (which is mainly why I want it back, lots of memories and photos of him) in a lot of different places, i lost my phone somewhere along the way. Its a Verizon LG optimus with 4.4 kitkat operating system. So Plan B app wont work. Ive tried plenty of others and I cant get any to work. I never installed any apps that would help, previous to losin my phone, so im screwed there. Also it is dead or turned off. I cant remember every single place I was that it could have been lost. I do hovever remember some places and times, havent been able to find it still. I used the google maps location history and still no luck as i live somewhat in the mountains and the towers etc that are used gave me very erratic times and locations, Anyone have any idea on how to help me out here? Please let me know. email skate_4_life420 [at] hotmail [dot] com or message back on here. Thank you

  • brad

    I had my GS4 for a week, it has been lost or stolen, I have not installed Android Device manager on the phone. I used my laptop, went onto ADM through my Google settings, found my mobile phone on the list of devices. It cannot be tracked on the map. My phone is not password protected, so If I select phone lock or erase while the mobile is offline, and someone then switches it on, will any of the Lock or Erase functions be activated?

    • DeeAda04

      Android Device manager is already on the phone. If you ever logged into your google account from the device, then you can go online, log into the same account and then google android device manager, then click the little crosshairs symbol. Easy as cake!

  • Krystal Gobea

    I found my phone’s location using Android Device Manager…but when I checked the address against Google Earth, it’s an apartment complex. How willing do you think the police will be to help me find it?

  • vividh

    In case of my Google account in not signed in my device…. what should i do then???
    Is there any else to know my device is located??

  • Alex

    can I check to see if they were successfully able to lock / erase my android?

  • bridgette

    umm… if i “lock & erase” my phone, will the thief still be able to use it?? & will i still be able to retrieve it??

  • Lorena

    I lost my tablet in the house but I can’t find it anywhere it might still have battery but how can I track it?

    • Lorena

      Please help me this isn’t the first time this happened. Last time I lost it I found it like one month or so in the couch and it stopped working right away I’m really worried if this happens again my dad payed so much to fix it at the end it couldn’t be fixed so they exchanged it but my dad had to pay more money. My dad thinks it was stolen last time since it just appeared in the couch and we searched in the couch one million times last time. I HAVE to know how to track my tablet

    • Foryoushop1 (I’m Poyd)
  • Bob

    You’re completely wrong about changing your password. Your phone remains trackable/lockable through Android Device Manager even if you change your GOogle password. Next time try verifying information before you write, so-called “journalist”

    • Hey Bob,
      thanks so much for your comment. You’re correct and I’ll update the article.
      I used to be unable to track my phone with another password. So either the problem was with me or at some point ADM has been updated.

      • KarenvanHoek

        The current version of the article says at the top that you *can* use ADM after changing your password. A few paragraphs down it says you *can’t*. It’s completely crazy-making. It would be nice if the article said one or the other, not both.

  • Janine XD

    i forgot my google account :'( but some account are register in my phone like facebook ? please reply in this comment help me i lost my phone last night 🙁

  • Abu Mohammad Rasel

    I don’t know know the IMEI ( dialing *#06#).but from my document i have got two IMEI
    .IMEI1 and IMEI2. Would you please tell me how can i track my theft android phone?
    Symphony W68Q android versin 4.4.2 kitkat

  • rocky

    If SIM change alert is enabled and cell got reset once stolen, what if theif changes the SIM card still will I get SMS about it.?

  • Kim

    I tried it last week, just to see if it worked. Wow..it showed every place I had been and the time. I tried it again the next day and it won’t show me that anymore. Only shows where my phone is at that moment I have changed nothing. Why is it doing this and how can I find the tracker

  • ashley parish

    Hi marc, great article, I just wished I’d had time to read it yesterday! My questions is, how do I select a different device in the maps web page. It shows my phone and I can see the history perfectly, but can’t figure out how to see the history for the samsung tab3 I’m trying to locate. ADM shows it is unreachable but was online yesterday (but doesnt show its location at that time). I use gps and maps on it frequently, and would like to see maps location history for it.

  • Sherbaaz Singh Pannu

    my samsung phone is lost . someone have remove my sim , but not inserted any other sim , it seems he is not using that phone , can i still locate it ! device manager is installed in it ! and avast anti theft too !

  • GGC

    Was able to track my phone with goole maps location data and saw last activity with Google Device Manager. Now I definitely know the phone was stolen and is not lost. I’m visiting a couple of locations where it was turned on, but without live/very recent location data finding it seems unlikely.

    Question: Phone hasn’t been on for a couple of days. I’m fairly confident in the security of my lock screen. Is it likely that it has been factory reset?

    Looks like it’s not that complicated to do such a thing, unfortunately.
    https://support.google.com/nexus/answer/4596836?hl=en

  • Joe

    If someone puts a different sim card in the stolen phone, is it possible to find and call that number

  • selam

    Happy New Year Marc,

    I lost my phone this morning and I didn’t install the tracking. It doesn’t have internet access and the Wi-Fi was also turned off. I tried to call and noted it is on voice mail. I left message. Do you think there is a way to track it?
    Thanks a million
    Selam

  • GT-I9082L

    https://www.facebook.com/warlay.wintwarsoe?fref=nf
    is my fb profile
    and
    Location Thailand Bangkok
    Phone No. +66-851432-811

  • Zen

    my phone…….. ;(

  • steph

    I keep the GPS on my phone turned off. Is there a way to turn it on using my computer, so that I can then track it?

  • Plzteachmehowtogrammar

    do you not proofread this shit ” there now way “

    • Frank and beans

      *Did you not proof read this shit? “there now way.”

      I suggest you learn basic grammar.

  • I

    i did lost my androis phone 1 week ago.. now i see in internet a lot of option to change imei.. means mister thief now has a new smartphone.. Sure everyone that find my phone can do hard reset of my phone without any password.. and all lost android applications just are not able to work ..
    Seems the best way to keep save my phone is never to have this one.. I never will have more smartphone because of that

    this is for my promise Samsung, iphone, htc or others: never more smartphone..

  • Newphonelost

    Hi, I recently lost my phone and immediately contacted my provided who blocked the sim and phone. I also changed my google account password, but does this still mean that I can locate it? As you said changing the password doesn’t stop this working, then said that changing it does disconnect it from google, which means it won’t work? Please help

  • Araceli

    My stolen galaxy s4 min I me num is 355960/06/194401/9. Can I still find it? If reset?

    • glameyes

      I have a tab used for work if I take the sim out can it still be tracked as long as there is no Internet connection I don’t like being watched at all

  • Kamal Kiran

    is there anyway i can track my phone with android 4.4?

  • adrian

    I lost my android phone oversees. Does blocking IMEI works even I lost the phone oversees?

  • mehjr

    I got a S5 sport when they first came out and kept my S3. My kids used it for games because i have wifi. My emails were still going to it even though i changed my password. Now my phone is missing since this morning. I have valuable information from work on it plus perso al info. Is there any way to trck it thru wifi? I have the imei# too. *main reason for knowing is that i had my gas guy come today and also have a girlfriend who went out of town this morning. I dont want to accuse anyone or conpany until i know for sure. It had a full charge

  • ZH

    Please let m know if I am misreading as I think these two sentences say opposing things “You can go ahead and change your password without losing the ability to track your device” then “Your phone could be off, disconnected from the internet or your Google account. Keep in mind that changing your Google account password will automatically disconnect it from Google.” doesn’t the Android Device Manager work through Google?

  • PIA MISHRA

    IS THERE ANY WAY IN WHICH I CAN TRACE MY PHONE WHICH HAS BEEN THEFT? ITS AN ANDROID OF SAMSUNG . ANYWAYS I WANT IT BACK WITHOUT POLICE HELP

  • Ty

    Is there a way to turn GPS on using my computer, so that I can then track it?

  • kubalas

    The android version of my stolen phone was higher than 3.0, so is Android Lost totally useless? What are my alternatives?

  • nandhini

    I have Samsung galaxy S duos phone, due to some problem during service they removed the wifi board from my phone, after that my GPS is not able to track the location, can any one tell me why? is there a connectivity between wifi board and GPS?

  • Joe Joseph

    So smart man, I been looking all over for these answers thanks.

  • Meghan

    When I remotely factory reset my Android phone did it actually delete all my pictures, contacts, and apps? I have some private photos on my phone that I would hate to see get in the wrong hands.

    • Kian O’Floinn

      I already seen them, wow you really did that?

  • Maria

    If my device still shows in the android device manager, it means the thief havent reset it wright? And my google account is still there wright? If my device has this mobile data, will it locked?

  • Juli Carrington T

    How can I track my phone when it is not conncected to wifi? I find this very annoying when it happens because the only way that you can get your phone back is if its connected to the internet and in many cases I DONT have data or wifi turned on all the time. Is there a solution or something to let me find it back even when there’s no wifi in it?

  • NIKE

    CAN THEY ACCESS MY PICTURES AND CONTACT

  • NIKE

    CAN THEY ACCESS MY PICTURES AND CONTACT IF MY IMEI IS BLOCK

  • Amiratul Arifah

    Will the thief know when we install the androidlost app ? If yes, is there any other way to install it without him notice it?

    • Bootle Bill

      annoyingly no. He will see when you track it. Pointless

  • Islam Monjur

    Hey Marc,

    Too many valuable information above there. I have one question. Please reply immediately as you look through over my question.

    Question is: Someone stole my phone and he/she reset my phone and also he/she using my phone without sim. Now if he/she use wifi on my phone can i find my phone using my phones IMEI?

    Please reply as soon as possible.

    • Bootle Bill

      I want to know this as well. My phone has been stolen, they replaced the sim, I blocked it and turned the tracking off. However they use the wifi on it 24/7 and it angers me intensely. There must be some form of looking at this. On my google account manager this phone is listed alongside my current phone and the google manager tells me all my history and tracking. I am keen to see the same information on the STOLEN phone too.