A switched-on mobile phone emits signals that can be perfectly traceable. These signals can be tracked through GPS systems, cell phone masts, or network connections. It is not a 100% reliable process, but this data can give us an approximate location. A turned off mobile does not emit any type of signal, but it can still be located. When it was turned on, that terminal that we want to find went through repeaters, connected to the Internet and did a whole series of things that leave a trace. The latter is what we are going to have to grab in case of having to locate an inoperative phone. We tell you how below.
Prey, the most accurate solution
Prey is a classic when it comes to security and location. Download it from the button that you will find below and install it, and grant it the necessary permissions so that it can work. This includes a special permission to run in the background and circumvent battery optimization, which means that the phone’s GPS will continue to work even if you turn off the terminal.
Then sign up for the app and enter your user credentials. Once this is done, Prey will add our terminal to its location system. Next, go to the application’s website and enter your user credentials. A map will appear on the screen showing the location of your device, even being off:
Device located by Prey
Prey lets you have up to three devices under control with the free version of the app, which is always a plus.
Where’s My Droid, alternative to Prey
Where’s My Droid is a app very easy to use and configure, and it is free to download and install it. Now, some special functions (like the one we are interested in) are paid. Of course, the amount of money you must pay is pyrrhic: either € 1.49 per month, or € 8.99 per year.
In any case, to use this application download and install it from the button that you will find below. When you open it, accept all the permissions that app ask you and create a user account. When you’ve done all that, on the main screen, look for the option Passive localization and click on it:
Access to passive location in Where’s My Droid
Through this function, what we do is that the phone is permanently locatable via GPS, which means that, even when turned off, our terminal will continue to be locatable. On the next screen, you will have to click on Enable for passive localization to work:
Button to enable passive locating
This is where what we told you at the beginning of this section comes into play: you will have to unlock the functions premium (upon payment) to be able to use it, but you see that the prices are much more than reasonable. Of course, it must be borne in mind that Prey allows you to have the location active in the background on up to three devices, and without having to scratch your pocket, as was clear before.
If you have unlocked the feature, you will have to enter the Where’s My Droid website and log in with the user credentials with which you created the account. You will arrive at an interface similar to that of Find my Google device where, if you click on To locate, you will find your device.
Google Maps, the native solution
Google makes available to all Android users a web tool known as Find your mobile. To use it, access it through the web. You will find a screen where, under normal circumstances, you would have to select the device you want to locate, and after this it would appear on the map.
The problem is that, with the phone turned off, you cannot locate it with this method. You will have to access Google Maps via the web and observe your chronology. To do this, click on the menu button (three stripes in the upper left corner of the screen) and then click on Your timeline:
Access to the Google Maps timeline
Next, a list will appear on the screen with the locations that you have visited historically. Find the date you lost your phone and a history of movements will appear on the screen for that day:
Device movements in the Google Maps timeline
You will have to redo the movements you did then, but that is better than nothing. This option, despite everything, is the most limited. It can help you guess where your phone was, or draw some conclusion, but little else.
Find My Mobile by Samsung, similar to Google but more complete
By way of bonus, It seems appropriate to include the way that Samsung has to locate a terminal of its brand even when it is turned off. In order to activate it, we will have to access in our Samsung to Settings> Biometrics and security> Find my mobile. If we do not have it activated, we will have to create a Samsung account in order to do so.
It is important that we have that Samsung account created, since, from it, we will be offered the possibility of creating a complete backup of our data and applications, to be able to rescue it in another terminal of the Korean firm if necessary. The restoration process can be done from a non-Samsung device, but the dump can only be carried out on a phone from this manufacturer (it is important to take this into account).
Once we have the function activated, to find our phone while it is off we will have to go to the web version of Find my Samsung mobile. Even without power or Internet connection, the phone will use the tool to connect via Bluetooth to other Samsung phones. In this way, you can give us an approximate radius of what area you are in.
Antivirus applications, an option to consider
On many occasions the debate about whether to have antivirus apps or not in our devices has come to light. The truth is that, as such, we do not need to have one (just use common sense), but it is true that some like Lookout have localization functions that make them tremendously useful.
Speaking of Lookout, upon payment, this application even allows us to configure alerts in case they try to turn off the device, remove the SIM card or activate airplane mode. They will even send us photos of the thieves to our email.
As a general rule, antiviruses do a deeper monitoring of the terminals, so having them for these purposes can be interesting if any of the options we give you does not convince you. Keep in mind that all these capabilities are probably only available after a financial outlay, we insist.