I found that many folks are interested in how to use GPS tracking for cell phones and how to put GPS tracker on a smartphone. I am one of them.

I have written in my previous posts about GPS trackers and how they work. But maybe you and I even do not need to have a stand-alone tracker but instead use our iPhone, Samsung or HTC smartphones?


I did the real experiment and am about to explain you it in a simple manner.

I will not dive deep into details and not make comprehensive research of different GPS smartphone tracking solutions, apps, and software. I also do not claim to the proof of the truth. I did the real experiment and am about to explain you it in a simple manner. Conclusions are up to you.

I am a long-time iPhone user and therefore take it for my research, but I guess that for Android phones work are pretty the same way.

First of all, let’s see on Apple default application Find My iPhone.

What Apple home page say about Find My iPhone app.

„Find My iPhone helps you locate and protect your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Apple Watch, or Mac if it’s ever lost or stolen. With Find My iPhone set up on your device, you can do the following:

·       Locate your device on a map

·       Play a sound on your device to help you find it

·       Use Lost Mode to lock and track your device

·       Remotely erase all of your personal information from the device.“

As you see, that amongst other it is mentioned about tracking feature so related to our topic.  I decided to check how it works and what GPS tracking results we can get, how useful it is.

Here it is, I have done two experiments.

After the first one, I was disappointed, but after most recent attempt I changed my mind. Before I continue, excuse me to guys who know HOW TO, maybe for other my research can help a bit.

I made a short video but will try to explain in a couple of words.

In the first time, I log in iCloud and click to open Find My iPhone application. After that, I took my iPhone 6S Plus and jumped into the car and made one minute trip around the street block. My Mac Book Pro was on screen recording mode in hope to see a track. Unfortunately, video replay shows no movement on my phone.

Today I decided to make another try. My wife was about to drive to the kindergarten to pick up a son it is about 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) away. I have laid my iPhone into the glove box of her car and returned to my office to see what action shows on the Mac Book iCloud screen. Screen recording was enabled.

My wife was about to drive to the kindergarten to pick up a son it is about 3 kilometers (about 2 miles) away. I have laid my iPhone into the glove box of her car and returned to my office to see what action shows on the Mac Book iCloud screen. Screen recording was enabled.

After reloading the current page, my phone position was changed, and next reloading shows another location. All locations were on the street which leads toward the destination of my wife’s car.

Eureka. It is a bit inconvenient refresh a page every time to get a new phone’s position on the Google map, but it works. Indeed, that it is not the same as standalone GPS tracker which can show speed, set geofences and ring alarm when youngsters are speeding, but…

But it is for free. Not any subscriptions or monthly fees. Only you have to know is a traceable phone iCloud credentials. If you can afford to equip their children or elderly parents with iPhones, (Android phones have similar features) then for general case GPS tracking for cell phones it could be enough.

From the other hand, there are many smartphone apps for GPS tracking for cell phones which are the best it is hard to say. A principle of operation is pretty the same for all. The only difference is in services to be offered and the prices.

How far I found a Mspy.com could be worth to check. It offers so many features I even did not know some of them at all.

Here is little from Mspy Features page:

mSpy is the most popular and user-friendly application for watching over your kids, preventing theft, and supervising your employees’ performance. Our mobile monitoring software runs on the target device to track all activity including call log history, GPS location, calendar updates, text messages, emails, web history, and much more! After following our easy, step by step instructions on how to create your own personal online mSpy account, you may log in to immediately begin viewing the tracked data.“

I haven’t used their services, and only I can say that looks professional and service prices are in range to be responsible for offered features quality.

One more thing I forgot to mention is, how does “Find my Mac” work since there is no GPS receiver in a Mac Book? I was ignorant of how iCloud can geographically locate a computer without a GPS chip.

The answer I found in one of Apple forum threads

„ Even without a GPS chip, your location can be determined using your MAC address, SSIDs of WiFi networks in range (both private and public networks), their signal strength, etc. In Apple’s case, this data is submitted to the Skyhook Wireless service, which then returns a set of GPS coordinates (latitude, longitude).

The Mac can use Wi-Fi network identification for localization. This is called a Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS). The access points name and signal strength is determined and looked up in a database to identify the location. The more access points are found, the more precise the localization.

Unlike GPS (Global Positioning System) or cell-tower triangulation (together called Assisted-GPS), the Wi-Fi based localization works well inside buildings.“

I hope that became a little more clearly how to use GPS tracking for cell phones.

My opinion is that you can play around those smartphone apps but when it comes to real long-term tracking needs then stand-alone GPS trackers like Best Seller Spy Tec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real-Time GPS Tracker
or many others is a more smart solution.