In this guide, we take a look at how to find a vehicle location using a phone.
The following methods will allow you to (1) find or (2) track in real-time a car's location using the phone as a GPS tracking device.
1. Find Phone and Car Location
For this procedure, you will need to know the Google or Apple user name and password for the phone (car) you are trying to locate.
Go to Find your phone (Provided by Google) and log in with the account of the phone you are trying to locate.
Here you see the location of the phone and, therefore, the car.
Pay attention to the location update. In this case, the phone/car was just updated. If the option was updated, let's say 15 min ago, press the refresh button next to "Last seen _ min ago."
In addition to locating the phone and car, you have a few other options.
- Play Sound - Allows you to make the phone ring even if it is on vibrate.
- Secure Device - Will lock the phone and sign you out of Google.
- Erase Device - Allows you to erase all your data.
If you are trying to find the location of a car that has an iPhone in it, go to Find iPhone by Apple.
Sign in with the Apple ID and credentials used by the phone that you are tracking. Once you log in, you can see a map and the location of the phone and the car.
2. Track Vehicle in Real-Time with Phone
Do you have a vehicle that you want to track in real-time?
Another way to track a car in real-time is to use an old phone. Follow the instructions below to turn an old phone into a car tracking device.
What you will need:
- Tracking Device (old phone) Put that spare phone to work by turning it into a GPS tracking device. If you don't have one, you can buy a used older smartphone online for less than $30.
- Free GPS Tracking Software / App A GPS tracking software will be used to see the current vehicle location that uses the GPS in the old phone. Depending on the app, you can also see the history and places visited over the last 24 hours.
- Smartphone or Computer You will need to use your smartphone or a computer to monitor the Tracking Device (old phone) and, therefore, the car.
Choosing a car tracking device (old phone)
We will set up an old smartphone as a GPS tracker. You most likely have an old phone lying around.
If you don't have an old phone, here is a list of inexpensive phones that will get the job done.
- Samsung Galaxy S3
- Motorola E
- HTC Evo 4G
- Apple iPhone
You need a phone that has a clean IMEI / ESN and is not locked.
For the phone to report the location to you, it needs to have data enabled.
You can sign up for a cheap $15/month plan that comes with 500MB of data on any of the following service providers.
If you have a family plan, activating the phone on the family plan may be cheaper.
To active the phone, you will need the IMEI number. You will find the IMEI number in the settings. You will also find the IMEI by removing the phone battery. Or dial *#06# from the phone.
Install a GPS tracking app
The last step is to install a GPS tracking app on both phones. You will use your phone to track the location of the old phone which you will have in the car.
Many of these apps allow you to track the phone using a web browser as well, in case you don't want to use your smartphone.
There are countless free GPS tracking software available, but one of our favorites is the Life 360 GPS Tracker. It is free to use, and the app works on Android and Apple phones.
- GPS Location Tracker. GPS Location Tracker by FollowMee
- MapMyRun GPS Running
- LocaToWeb – Real-time GPS tracking.
Tracking your car location history and current position is simple as long as you have a phone with data enabled in the car.
Only use these methods to track your car. Do not follow your teenagers, spouse, or elderly parents without their permission.