Chris HoffmanEditor-in-Chief

Chris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief the How-To Geek. He"s written about technology for over a decade and was a PCWorld columnist for two years. Chris has written for The new York Times, been interviewed as a modern technology expert ~ above TV stations prefer Miami"s NBC 6, and also had his occupational covered by news outlets prefer the BBC. Due to the fact that 2011, Chris has actually written over 2,000 short articles that have been read virtually one billion times---and that"s just below at How-To Geek. Read more...

You are watching: How to track a non smartphone

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UpdatedJul 20, 2016, 2:23 to be EDT| 4 min read

Whether your device was steal or simply lost, you can remotely track, lock, and also wipe it. Don’t wait till you’ve lost your hardware to think around this — these functions need to be permitted ahead the time.

This calls for that the device is it is provided on and also has a connection to the Internet. This is easy if you’re tracking a phone with a data connection, however harder if you’re tracking a laptop that might be offline or it is provided off.

iPhones, iPads, and also Macs

RELATED: How come Track, Disable, and Wipe a lost iPhone, iPad, or Mac

Apple’s “Find My” services are incorporated into iPhones, iPads, and even their Mac computers. Allow it in her device’s iCloud options and you can track under your machine from the iCloud website. Friend can also mark it as lost, lock it, and wipe that remotely.

Whatever girlfriend think that Apple, their solution is the best. When you put an iphone or iPad into “lost mode,” iCloud will start tracking its activities over time therefore you deserve to see a finish history. This likewise survives a manufacturing facility reset, therefore you can track and remotely regulate an iphone or iPad also if the theif resets it. Apologize won’t activate iPhones and iPads if they’re marked as lost.

You can also remotely lock a Mac — the Mac will automatically shut down and the thef will have to get in a firmware password to boots it. They won’t have the ability to boot any kind of operating system without the password you set remotely. Friend can additionally remotely wipe any kind of iOS machine or Mac if girlfriend have especially sensitive data save on computer on them.


Android Phones and also Tablets

RELATED: How to find Your lost or stolen Android Phone

Android’s built-in Android machine Manager permits you come track, lock, and wipe lost Android phones and tablets. Friend must permit this attribute on every Android maker you very own by launching the Google setups app, tapping Android device Manager, and also activating it.


After it’s enabled, you can visit the Google beat website, click the equipment icon, and select Android maker Manager. You’ll check out the place of the maker on a map. Unequal Apple’s solution, Android an equipment Manager will be wiped after a manufacturing facility reset — a thief have the right to reset your machine and friend won’t have the ability to track it down. Android maker Manager additionally won’t monitor a complete background of a lost device’s movements — it only fetches the place of the an equipment when you authorize in. It discards any type of location data once you sign out.

Android also permits for third-party tracking solutions, some of which are much more powerful. For example, Avast!’s Anti-Theft application can be mounted onto the system partition if you have root access, so the will make it through a manufacturing facility reset. However, composing a brand-new ROM to the device — or re-flashing the initial ROM — will certainly erase the tracking software.

Android Lost enables you to start tracking a device remotely, even if you never set up tracking software ahead that time. Various other tracking options offer much more powerful functions like the capacity to take it photos with the phone’s camera or hear in on the phone’s surroundings v its microphone.


Windows Phones

Microsoft’s home windows Phone has a tracking equipment named discover My Phone. Tap setups > discover My phone on your windows Phone to configure it. You can then visit the home windows Phone website and click discover My phone call in the food selection at the top-right corner of the display to remotely track, lock, and erase it.

Like Google’s Android an equipment Manager, the uncover My Phone attribute can be disabled if someone through the phone call performs a factory reset.


Windows PCs and also Tablets

RELATED: How to Setup her Laptop v Tracking software application in instance You ever before Lose It

Microsoft doesn’t offer an integrated method to track shed Windows PCs and also tablets. You’ll require a third-party computer tracking solution — together as prey — because that this. Prey provides a cost-free plan, so you won’t need to pay anything if you simply want straightforward tracking. This software have to be installed and configured front of time. If your maker is lost, you have the right to sign right into the service’s website come remotely track and also lock it.

Such services just aren’t as powerful as what Apple provides — there’s no way to remotely lock the an equipment with a BIOS or UEFI firmware password that will protect against it from transforming on again, because that example. Simply reinstalling windows or booting one more operating device on the pc or tablet computer will be enough to get rid of the tracking software.

You can’t usage this trick to monitor a home windows RT device like the surface RT or surface ar 2, as windows RT doesn’t allow you to install third-party desktop computer software. Friend may have the ability to install a device-tracking app like Windows ar Tracker native the windows Store. We didn’t test how well this details application works, yet it won’t be able to remotely lock or wipe your machine due to the limitations inserted on Windows store apps. These apps room toys that have the right to offer gps tracking in ~ most.


Linux PCs

As v Windows PCs, you’ll have to use a third-party software program to monitor a lost PC to run Linux. Prey likewise runs on Linux, so you can use the exact same software. The same limitations apply — it’s just a software regime running on her computer, so friend can’t remotely set a BIOS password come lock the entire PC down. If an attacker boots or installs one more operating system, you won’t be able to track the Linux pc down.


Chrome OS doesn’t carry out an integrated lost-device-tracking solution, either. Some software packages promise come track and also locate lost Chromebooks, but they’re generally commercial commodities marketed to big organizations. For example, GoGuardian assures to assist you in tracking and also recovering steal Chromebooks, however it’s targeted at schools rolling out large numbers that Chromebooks.

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Google and Microsoft have promised they’ll be including iPhone-like “kill switches” in future execution of Android and Windows Phone come deter call theft. Microsoft is also working ~ above bringing home windows Phone and Windows 8 together, so possibly the following version of windows will include a built-in tracking feature.

Chris HoffmanChris Hoffman is Editor-in-Chief that How-To Geek. He"s created about modern technology for over a decade and also was a PCWorld columnist for 2 years. Chris has written for The new York Times, been interviewed as a an innovation expert ~ above TV stations favor Miami"s NBC 6, and had his work-related covered by news outlets prefer the BBC. Because 2011, Chris has written over 2,000 articles that have actually been read nearly one billion times---and that"s just right here at How-To Geek. Read complete Bio »