I had a Samsung Galaxy S3, which got stolen recently but didn't have any built-in tracking software.

But since the theft my friends often see 'me' on many online mobile chat applications. I conclude from this that the thief is using it to access internet.

Is there any way to track my phone from this information?


5 Answers 5


Is the thief using your SIM card? If so, then you know the number and can inform your mobile service provider / local law enforcement, who will be able to track the phone based on cell tower proximity provided it is switched on.

If you want to track the phone based on IP, then you need access to the server logs for the chat services your phone is automatically logging into. From there you will be able to get an IP Address for your user account, which can be used (again via the mobile service provider) to identify the device and track its location.

Both approaches involve law enforcement. So the bottom line is: call the police.

  • He is not using my sim card, and also how can one access server logs of chat server that i dont own... :-)
    – Raj
    Dec 28, 2012 at 14:03
  • @Raj you can't - which is why you need to call the police. If the police aren't helpful (they won't be over a phone), then you can always contact the chat company, ask to speak to a sysadmin and explain your situation. If he is really friendly, believes you are who you claim to be, and he feels like breaking privacy laws for you, then you should be able to get an IP. Next step is to contact your mobile service provider.
    – lynks
    Dec 28, 2012 at 14:07
  • thanx @lynks ... Now i understood tat it cant be recovered. :-(
    – Raj
    Dec 28, 2012 at 14:27

Probably not, I advise you to go to the police. However, considering it's just a phone, I doubt they will put effort in it to track it down by triangulation (if they are using your sim card); because the time, money and manpower that will go into this will surpass the value of the phone a few times.


Download Plan B by Lookout Mobile Security (you can download it to your device from your web browser). It was made specifically for this case - losing your phone without prior installation of tracking software. If the phone is turned on (and the new user did not factory reset the phone) you should be able to track it.

  • 1
    This no longer works (4.0+ I think), Android apps when installed are in a 'stopped' state, when in this state they can't receive texts or broadcasts. The thief would have to run Plan B to activate it.
    – user2918
    Feb 12, 2014 at 13:50

It Depends™. We recover many stolen laptops, desktops, and phones using similar methods. The problem that you'll run into is that no properly functioning unit will release information to you directly. It should only be performed as part of an official investigation as requested by an official investigative source, typically either law enforcement for local investigations or via subpoena for an external investigation.

The level of cooperation you'll receive from law enforcement will vary greatly from agency to agency depending on such conditions as technical expertise, work load, of scale of the crime committed. If local law enforcement is properly interested in working on the case, and the access of the device is geographically nearby, then you may get better results. Alternatively, if this theft is part of a string of robberies then you may similarly get more buy-in. It's worth noting that I have seen this situation be the lynchpin in finding, and bringing charges against, individuals who had performed multiple robberies in a relatively small area.

So, in short, you can't know whether the information is useful, or the device is recoverable, until after a report has been filed. In addition, this may be covered by your home owner's or rentor's insurance. The insurance company, however, won't even talk to you about a claim until you have talked to the police.


This thread is very old, but to help other people I want to tell you that it is possible to track a lost Android phone, even if it previously didn't have any tracking apps installed on it. While surfing the Internet on ways of tracking lost phones, I came across this interesting article, and another website about tracking Android phones & tablets.

I recovered my phone using androidlost.com. There is another app named "Plan B" on Google Play Store that helps in recovering lost phones.

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