Nowadays, people are heavily invested in their phones, not just because they are expensive but also because they carry a lot of personal items and memories. For instance, you might be able to insure your phone against theft but the pictures from your last holiday are priceless.

To protect your cell phone and your precious data, the best thing you can do is install tracking software before anything happens. However, there are still ways to track your device even after it has been stolen, though you will certainly be limited in what you can do.

Apple and Google come to the rescue

Both iOS and Android devices have similar services by Apple and Google, respectively, that allow you to locate your cell phone. These services are Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager for iOS and Android respectively.

The good news about these services is that they are usually activated by default. The bad news is that if they are not enabled when your phone is stolen, you cannot do anything about it.

For both services, all you have to do to locate your device is to head over to a web page provided by Apple or Google, enter your account details, and hope that your phone is still connected to the Internet, otherwise all you will receive is the last-known location.

From there, you will be able to perform some simple actions such as displaying a message with a phone number in case that your phone was not stolen but rather lost and a good person will actually call you to give it back.

Locate your phone’s timeline

If your phone was previously connected to the Internet but the thief has now turned Wi-Fi or mobile data off, you may still have another option via the Google Maps timeline feature.

For those unfamiliar with the feature, the Maps timeline logs your location and movement in a map to your Google account. If you visit the Timeline page and log in with your account credentials, you will be able to see your phone’s movements on a map.

In order for this to work, Location History has to enabled in your phone. In most Android devices, this is enabled by default so you might actually have a very good chance of locating your device. If you are on iOS, you must be using Google Maps and have the feature turned on.

Install another tracking app

In Android phones, you can install apps remotely. This means that you can install certain tracking apps even after your device has been stolen. As always, you phone will still need to be connected to the Internet in order for this to work.

To do this, you simply need to head over to the Play Store, find an app like Lost Android and click on the Install button. Sometimes, you may need to go through additional steps, such as sending an SMS to your phone from another device in order to activate these tracking apps.