How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location


Applies to: iOS6, iPhone, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, "New iPad", & iPod Touch

 

Updates for 2013 and iOS 7 

The instructions on this page are specifically for iOS 6, but if you have a new iPhone with iOS7 or if you have upgraded from iOS6 to iOS7, the settings are basically the same.


Did you know that your iPhone (iPad or iPod Touch) can be used as a real-time GPS location-tracking device, giving the (near) exact location of the phone (or the car, or purse that it is in) in near-real time?  You can watch on your PC or Mac as the location is pinpointed on a map, and updated every several seconds, accurately to within just a few feet!  The person holding the phone doesn't even have to do anything, and won't even know they are being tracked. Perfect for parents that want to keep an eye on their children's location - now buying (or loaning) an iPhone to your kids might make more sense.

 

Watch the video version:

WARNING: Using this method to turn an iPhone into a real-time GPS location tracking device should only be done to an iPhone that you own.  Tracking someone's iPhone that you do not own, without the owner's permission or placing any tracking device on someone without their permission or knowledge is not only immoral, but it may also be illegal in some states.Iphone Tracking via GPS

What you need to track your iPhone location:

  • Any iPhone (1st generation, iPhone 3g, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S) running iOS 5 or newer - Jailbreaking is not required.  First generation iPhones will provide slightly-less accurate location information due to the lack of a GPS chip, and must be in range of cell towers.  Works on all iPads, but for non 3G iPads, it will only work if/when the iPad is in range of a wireless network and the location data may be less accurate.  Also works on iPod Touch but only if wireless is enabled and the device is in-range of a wireless network
  • MobileMe Account:  Mobile Me is a service provided by Apple for email, online data backup/storage, calendar/contacts sync, and Find My iPhone.  The normal cost for Mobile Me is $99/year, but you can usually find memberships for less on eBay (buyer beware!).  You can often get several months of Mobile Me for free when buying a new iPhone or computer from Apple, and you can also sign up for a free 60-day trial membership at the Mobile Me website to try the service.  For more info on the Mobile Me service, see Apple's Mobile Me website.
  • iCloud Account (FREE!): iCloud is a service provided by Apple for email, online backup of iOS devices, calendar/contacts sync and Find My iPhone.  iCloud is FREE.  See Apple's iCloud Website

How to turn your iPhone into a GPS location-tracker:

The key to using your iPhone as a real-time GPS location tracker is the Find My iPhone service which is part of iCloud.  Most people have probably heard about the Find My iPhone service - Apple markets the service as a way to find your iPhone if it becomes lost or stolen - but what many do not realize about the Find My iPhone service is:

  1. You can use Find My iPhone to get real-time maps of where your iPhone is at any time.  You do not have to 'report' the phone as stolen.
  2. You can get the location of your iPhone as often as you wish, with no limits
  3. There is no limit to the number of iPhones you can track - they don't even have to be owned by you! Just remember: do not track a phone/person without that person's permission.  Should the iPhone owner catch on that you are tracking their every movement, the information they need to convict you will be stored in the iPhone.

How to setup location tracking on an iPhone:

  • On the iPhone you want to track, go into SETTINGS, then iCloud
  • Enter your iCloud account information
  • Scroll down through the iCloud options (contacts, calendars, etc) and make sure that Find My iPhone is ON

Your iPhone is now setup as a location tracker! 

How to find and track the location of your iPhone:

From any computer connected to the internet: From any browser go to www.iCloud.com and sign in with your email address/iTunes account and password.  Once signed-in select Find My iPhone.  When prompted, re-enter your password.  After a moment a list of all devices you have configured for tracking will show on the left of the screen.  Click the device to track - after a moment a map will appear with the location of your device pin-pointed in the center (this usually takes a few seconds).  If the iPhone is in motion it will not be updated live on the screen - click the refresh button near the upper-right (near the time) to update the location.

From another iPhone or an iPad: Download and install the free Find My iPhone app.  Start the app and enter your Mobile Me membername (email) and password.  Select the device to track from the list and a map will appear with the location.  To update the map/location, click the refresh-button in the lower left.

When tracking on either a computer or another iPhone or iPad: on the map, select "hybrid" view for the best map view.

 

That's all there is too it!  There are other, cheaper ways to track an iPhone but they require jailbreaking and the person with the iPhone must first run a specific application on the phone, and are just not as simple or 'fool proof' as this method.  This method requires only a minute to setup and does not require you to do anything on the iPhone once configured. 

 

More reading about tracking and locating iPhones, iPads, iPods:

 

 

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Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Not usefull
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Find My iPhone accuracy
My husband had me turn on "share my location" because I drive for Uber. He turned his on too. So I tracked his after he called me using the ER office phone and it showed him 3 miles away at a residence. Why would this happen? He called from the office phone so I'm pretty sure he was really there at the ER
Apple Eater (not verified)
Re: Find My iPhone accuracy
Anonymous Visitor wrote:

...he called me using the ER office phone and it showed him 3 miles away at a residence.
Why would this happen?

Because it's not always 100% accurate and being inside a thick walled building with things like X-ray machines and CT scanners can throw it off.

Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
it all sounds too good to be true.i have searched through about a dozen different apps and reading blogs trying to find the perfect one.where I don't have to get a hold of the target phone and don't have to turn on the find my iphone feature...how stupid is that?..correct me if I'm wrong but all my daughter has to do when she starts catching on when I suddenly appear at her location looking for her is turn that feature off.she would be able to see that it is on,right?.getting the phone and then getting the passcode to get in is way too much of a hassle.she sleeps with it under her pillow practically and has a code that I can't break or get from her...
AnonyMan (not verified)
GPS Track Someone with an iPhone
That's right, all she has to do is turn that feature off UNLESS you lock her out of that feature by setting up 'restrictions' on the iphone. But you need access to the phone to do that. Sorry to say it, but it sounds like she's more in charge than you.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
If I am using my iphone to track my boyfriend's iphone, I have realized he is getting an email from Apple notifying him that his iphone "find my iphone" app has been used. How did he set this up and how can I take that notification away? I have all of his passwords, yes, I'm tracking him for a reason.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Just don't stalk him like that. I'm sure you wouldn't like it if he tracked you every day.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Yes, I would deserve it if I had given him multiple reasons to track me. All in all, if you have to track you need to break it off. So, that's what I'm doing. Done with this. 5 year relationship down the drain due to him breaking trust. It's exhausting. I'm no Nancy Drew, I've got too many other things to worry about than some man being unfaithful. Outa here~
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
I'm having the same issue , and my hubby changed his password- Did you get any advice? I think it has to do with the new Iso 8 thing- So frustrated - he hasn't updated it the phone but Apple prob change or update find my iPhone settings-
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Mine hasn't updated to IOS8, but it is something that did change. I've been tracking him for about 4 months and all of a sudden last week I seen where he started receiving the Apple e-mail that he had been tracked! Oh, and if you delete the email notification off his computer, he can still access it on his phone! There's nothing you can do to prevent him from getting the email notification each and everytime you track his phone EXCEPT change his Icloud email address on his Iphone under Settings. He will eventually find out that you've done that because he will probably get an email from Apple stating the Icloud address was changed, but I'm not sure. That would be interesting to find out. If he isn't notified of that, then I don't think that it would mess anything up by changing that address. Hmmm... worth checking out! Let me know what you come up with.

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