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

Applies to: iOS8 and iOS 9, iPhone, iPad, iPad2, iPad 3, "New iPad", & iPod Touch


Update for 2015 and iOS 9 

The instructions on this page are specifically for iOS 6, if you have a new iPhone with iOS 9 or if you have upgraded to iOS9, the settings are virtually 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 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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Lorraine (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Your petsLocation
I have an iPhone 4 can I use 'find my iphone' to find where my cat is.. What is meant by other devices and could a tracking tag be one of them.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
hi have a question its says on top that yhu dont have to report it lost but when i try to find my phone why does it only shows play sound, lost mode or erase iphone so where do i really suppose to qo find my phone without a txt or call to my phone lettinq them know im trackinq my phone
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Hello what would happen if someone stole my Iphone and they took it overseas could I use the gps to track it there ? thanks for your help
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
yes as long as the phone has access to WiFi or 3G/mobile internet you can track it.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Can you tell if being tracked
I am the account holder and can track my son's phone through find my phone. When I turn on find my phone to see where he is does it signal him on his phone somehow ie can he see that I am tracking him?
photo of member named
insert witty description here
I am a Grown Up Geek
Re: Can you tell if being tracked

To track a phone you need to configure Find My iPhone on the phone with your iCloud account. When you track the phone, there is a notification that the Location Services are in use unless that has been disabled.. It's just a little icon that shows up any time any app makes use of Location Services.. it doesn't pop up a big message saying "you are being tracked" or anything like that.

Ripon Mannan (not verified)
Dear Sir Thanks for nice presentation. But not clear in all aspects. Would you kindly help me how to track other person iphone user location? Such as friends and family members. Your cooperation will be highly appreciated.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Is there a way to pull historical data of where the phone/person has been for say the last week or two?
Repeat Ralph (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
No.. if you put the phone into "lost mode", it will then track/record everywhere it goes and you can view that info on the website.. but you can't 'pull' the historical data.
Anonymous Visitor (not verified)
Re: How To Use Your iPhone To GPS Track Someone's Location
Does this have the capability of downloading any history of where the phone has been, and if so, how far back can this be tracked?

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