People can use a variety of online resources and applications to track a cell phone for free; these services are free and utilize the GPS feature of Android or iOS smartphones. Different trackers require an account set up beforehand and syncing the device with special online software.
One app that a phone's owner can download after a phone has been misplaced or stolen is Plan B. All Android phones have a Google account, as the Google Play store is the only service that the phones can download apps from without changing a security setting. Plan B app lets a user download the app from another computer or device to a missing phone. Once installed, the software sends the user an email with the phone's location. Ten minutes after the first email, another is sent with a link to a map where the phone was located. If the phone appears to be on the move, the owner can text the word "locate" to the phone to repeat the process.
Prey is an app that requires that phone owners register for the tracking service beforehand and sync a smartphone with the company's software. In the event that a phone is lost, clients sign in to the security portal and enable tracking.
iPhone owners can take advantage of the "find my iPhone" feature. The tracking software requires that it is enabled before owners can track missing phones online.