To ping a cell phone for its location, users must provide the cell-phone carrier with specific information about the phone number, serial number and SIM card number if applicable of the phone and request that the phone be pinged. If the phone returns the ping, technicians can either narrow the location to the nearest cell tower or triangulate a more specific location.
Privacy laws prevent users from attempting to trace the location of a phone belonging to anyone else. Before beginning the process, users should review their state's particular laws and regulations to ensure that pinging the phone is not a violation of law.
Users must first gather their phone number and the serial number of the phone. The serial number is typically located beneath the phone's battery panel. Users should obtain the phone's SIM card number if it has a SIM card. This number is typically inscribed on the card itself. All of this information may be requested by the cell phone carrier. At this point, it may be possible to give permission for a third party to ping the phone. After everything is set up, the user can ping the phone to determine its approximate location. The carrier and quality of the signal determine how precisely the location can be triangulated.