Person using maps on a phone

How to locate a lost Android phone that has been turned off

Losing a phone is one of the most devastating emotions, especially considering how much of our lives we digitally store on it, including contacts, wallet, and even car keys. If your phone is password protected, you can temporarily breathe a sigh of relief.


There are obvious services in place that help you locate your lost Android phone by pinging its GPS location connection. But what if your cell phone is turned off? Can you still track it?


Can you track a phone that has been turned off?

Short answer – yes. Long answer, it depends on how long it has been off. Your phone stops connecting to cell towers the moment it is turned off, this also applies to all GPS activities. You need to act fast to increase your chances of finding your phone.

If your phone is stolen, filing a police report may increase the odds that it will be found by your phone’s IMEI number.

Use Find My Device to locate your Android phone

Every Android device linked to a Google account can be tracked through Google’s Find My Device service. It works similar to Apple’s Find My app and allows you to not only ping a misplaced Android phone but also lock or erase its contents.

  1. Visit Google Find my device Website on another computer or phone.
  2. Sign in to the same Google account on your stolen or lost phone.
  3. You can view compatible devices on the left, including a lost Android phone with its last known location on the right.

Assuming your phone is turned off, you’ll only be able to view the site you last viewed for the Google test. That might be enough if your phone gets lost rather than stolen. If someone finds your phone and turns it on, you can easily test the connection, lock it, or wipe it from the factory using Find My Device.

Track your steps with the Google Maps timeline

Another genius way to find your lost cell phone is to see where you have been using the Google Maps timeline. With the heavy reliance we place on our phones for navigation and finding directions, there’s a good chance that Google Maps will have a detailed history of where your phone has been — as long as location history is enabled on the device.

The Google Maps timeline shows every route you’ve taken and every store you’ve visited. Although this is not the intended use case, this is a great way to locate a lost or misplaced Android device.

  1. On a computer or phone, open Google Maps and sign in to your Google account.
  2. Click on the menu icon and select Your schedule of options. This will display a timeline of your recent outings.
  3. To narrow your search, select the date you lost your phone using the dropdown menus.
  4. By getting your steps back, you may eventually locate where you lost your phone.

Track your phone using third party apps

If you don’t use Google Maps on your phone often and its background data is disabled, then most likely you won’t be able to locate your phone using Google services.

Fortunately, there are still a few apps and services that are constantly testing your last known site. Snapchat is a great example of this. Since you can view someone’s location on Snapchat, if you have the option enabled, you can ask your friends to check your recent whereabouts.

If you take a lot of photos and use Google Photos to back them up, you can access your most recent photos from another device and check photo details for the location they were taken. Again, you will need to turn on the location option in the Camera app.

Try to think of any other apps on your phone where your last known location may have been stored. In terrible times like these, every last piece of information comes in handy.

Find your lost Android phone

Finding a lost or stolen phone can be nerve-wracking, but with these handy location services, you have a good chance of locating it. Seeking police help is always an option that will greatly increase your chances of tracing your lost cell phone.

Clearly, losing a valuable piece of technology is just one side of the coin. With your phone gone, your personal data, banking information, contacts, and work documents are all at risk. The faster you find it, the better.

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