This is something I've wondered for a while - is it theoretically possible to track someone using their phone number in the UK? It's a classic Hollywood trope and I'm wondering just how much truth there is to it and how feasible it would be.

Doing some basic research returns plenty of services and apps that claim to be able to do it. For example, here:

Our location services use a variety of technology to locate a handset. Primarily we use cell-ID to locate a mobile phone to within a certain transmission cell. Accuracy is greater in areas of high population density (e.g. large towns and cities), and reduces as population density reduces (e.g. in the countryside)...

Our service will not work with landline numbers. It will only give the location of mobile phones registered to a UK mobile cell network. The service does not require the user to install any apps or other software. The service works cross-platform, which means it can work on Android, iPhone, Windows Phone, and older basic phones.

...and here:

So if you’re concerned about the location of your family members, want to know the location of your employees, find a lost phone, or want to track down a suspicious call, phone number tracking is as real as they show in the movies!

I also came across this which seems like it could be of interest.

Is it possible to track a phone using a UK mobile number, and if so, is it limited to corporate entities? How easy or hard is it to do for the average technologically capable individual?

3 Answers 3


At a technical level, the only entity that should be capable of performing this tracking is your carrier (as far as I know). They are able to locate your phone using the location of cell towers the phone is currently in communication with.

However, much to the unsuspecting consumer, that data can be sold to 3rd party entities. It is likely that the company in question is purchasing this data from the carrier(s), and/or has some sort of agreement with them. In the US, there have been rather questionable practices regarding who the data is given to.

So, it isn't that difficult, as long as you find a company/carrier willing to provide the data at a price you can afford.


In addition to the methods described in the other answers on this page, cell phones can be tracked using devices that masquerade as a cell phone tower, such as a Stingray. See https://theintercept.com/2020/07/31/protests-surveillance-stingrays-dirtboxes-phone-tracking/ for more info, specifically:

What is a stingray?

Stingray is the generic name for an electronic surveillance tool that simulates a cell phone tower in order to force mobile phones and other devices to connect to it instead of to a legitimate cell tower. In doing so, the phone or other device reveals information about itself and its user to the operator of the stingray.


No, you cannot track a phone with a phone number. But you can track a phone with the phone's built in GPS. That is what the apps and the services you are seeing are using. You will need to have access to the phone with the ability to install the application. I use Google Family Link for my young kids' phones for when they are walking to and from school. The location works quite well.

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