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How to Track a Phone Without SIM Card: The Complete Guide

15 min. to read

If you're asking yourself can a phone be tracked without a SIM card, the answer is yes - but it's not as easy as you might think. In this guide, we will walk you through the steps needed to track a phone without a sim card.

It’s important to note that there are different ways to do this, and some methods are more effective than others. We’ll cover all of the options available to you so that you can choose the best method to track a phone without a sim card. Let’s get started.

How the phone works without a SIM card

How cellular communication works

When you activate your phone, it will attempt to connect to the closest available networks, whether or not it has a SIM.

IMEI Number

If you’re unfamiliar, IMEI is a unique identifier for your device that gets queried at this point in the process.

IMEI Number
IMEI Number

It’s worth mentioning that unless it’s on a block list (meaning it was reported stolen), queries to IMEI are irrelevant. Additionally, even if it is on a block list, you’ll still be able to call emergency numbers.

track a phone without a sim card if your phone in black list

The IMEI code is not some magic tool. It is a code that is used to identify phones in a very specific way between a phone’s database and the GSM system.

The SIM only becomes active when the network inquires from your mobile phone about which operator’s services should be rendered to you if any.

If you don’t have a SIM card, you can’t use most of the services that your phone offers. The only exceptions are emergency calling and a few other services like that.

Your mobile’s location is usually easy to find. You are usually in the range of 2 to 4 cell towers, and based on the signal strength between them, we can usually tell where you are.

GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, and the like will not be applicable here because they are not being transmitted into the GSM network.

Can NFC help?

People have been talking about NFC. NFC is a way to communicate wirelessly over a short distance.

NFC is a way to communicate

NFC is not useful for tracking purposes because its maximum range is only 15 cm, and it usually only functions properly within a 5 cm distance.

Wifi tracking 

First, wifi doesn’t really do anything by itself. You need access to the wifi service to be able to use it.

track a phone without a sim card use Wifi tracking

But if you have apps on your phone that are logging in to a more widely used service, like email or maps, then it’s possible that those services will be able to track your phone’s location.

Can a stolen phone be tracked if it is on but without a SIM in it?

If you have installed any tracking software

Can a stolen phone
Can a stolen iPhone

If you have installed any tracking software like “find my iPhone” or Android Device Manager before the loss, then you can remotely access those tools and find the phone’s location of your phone. But if you haven’t, then you’re out of luck.

If you do not have the IMEI Code, you can request your mobile service provider, I think they have saved it somewhere.

Unless the robber has rooted the phone and updated the IMEI which is rampant now, you can track that mobile phone once another user starts using mobile services with that phone.

The only chance you have is to somehow track the IP address of the device if it’s turned on and connected to the internet. But that’s a long shot and requires some serious skills.

The phone has a built-in feature that monitors and locks the device remotely after connecting

Some phones have a built-in feature that not only tracks but also locks the device remotely once connected to any network.

phone has feature locks the device remotely
phone has feature locks the device remotely
phone locks

These can be enabled by going into “Settings” and then to the “Security” or “Lock Screen” menu. Look for an option that says “Remotely lock and erase”.

Once you have enabled this feature, you can go to the website of your phone’s manufacturer and look for their tracking/locking service.

I have experimented with or found Google Lock to be as effective. I couldn’t find my first Redmi 4G after losing it years ago, but it’s still in my Mi Account as of today.

Usually, you will need to log in with the same account that you use on your phone. Once you have logged in, you should be able to track your mobile phone and remotely lock it if necessary.

If your phone does not have this feature, there are still a few options available to you.

Hoverwatch app

You can try using a third-party tracking service like Hoverwatch. This service usually requires you to install their app on your phone before you lose it.

Once installed, they can provide you with information about the location of your phone as well as the ability to remotely lock it if necessary.

 iPhones and can be locked

Apple iPhones and tablets can be locked successfully. Even if the phone is Reset, Apple mobiles and tablets which are tied up with the iTunes account cannot be used without being released.

Check third-party programs for reliability

There are 3rd party software that has imitated this security feature, however, if they are disabled or the mobile phone is reset then they will lose track.

Some of this software is also capable of taking pics using the front camera and emailing it to you.

app capable of taking pics

I have tested one of them years ago. Some also send the new mobile number of the user to your number or backup contact too.

One of the most popular tracking software is Hoverwatch.

It’s a modern app and anti-theft software that can be installed on laptops, Android phones, and tablets. Once installed, it can help you track the phone location of your lost device as well as remotely lock it or even wipe its data if necessary.

Enable the security function before the device goes missing

If the thief has not reset the device, then you can track the phone’s location if you have some advanced anti-lost apps installed.

You will only be able to track the location of certain tracking features that had been enabled before the mobile phone was stolen.

If the thief has reset the device, then tracking it via the IMEI number of the SIM is possible only if done so by law enforcement. In this case, there is a chance that you may find your phone.

Use Find My Phone Apps for Android and iOS to Track a Phone Without SIM

There are a number of ways you can track your phone without having a sim card. One way is by using an app on google play or apple store that will allow for tracking, even if there’s no service.

The data collected by this mobile application is then sent back to the company’s server, where they can track your movements.

Find my Phone is a tool that can be adapted for Android or iPhone applications.

Is it possible to trace your sim without using your phone?

Find My Phone

The ‘Find my phone feature on your android device will allow you to track down any lost Samsung phones. You can also use a Samsung account to log in and find your lost phone.

I think that’ll give you an idea. It can be used by the user to monitor their location information. It can also be used in the lost mobile apps of iOS & android devices. When the device is connected, it will monitor the SIM location. The location settings are needed for the function to be effective.

If you have an Android phone, you can use the “Find My Device” feature to track your lost mobile phone. This is a built-in service from Google that can help you locate your lost Android devices as well as remotely lock them or erase their data if necessary.

Find My iPhone

The process is similar for iPhones too. If you have an iPhone, you can use the “Find My iPhone” feature to track your lost phone. This is a built-in service from Apple that can help you locate your lost iPhone as well as remotely lock it or erase its data if necessary.

If you have an iPhone, then activate ‘Find my iPhone’ and sign in with your iCloud credentials. Doing so would enable you to remotely access your iOS device and track it, using the inbuilt GPS feature. There are various other methods that can be used to track a phone without SIM.

If you can’t find your phone, then chances are it might have been stolen. In such a scenario, your best bet would be to contact the police and file a report. Give them all the necessary details, such as your phone’s make, model, and IMEI number. The police might be able to track your phone using the IMEI number and help you get it back.

Track a Cell Phone Via Google Maps

The best way to find your lost device is by calling from another phone connected.

The chances are that the device would receive the call, and you can then follow the location by checking Google Maps to find out where exactly it is.

track a phone without a sim card Track Via Google Maps

To track a phone without SIM, all you need is a mobile number through which you can connect to the internet.

Once connected, open any browser and go to Google Maps. After that, enter the mobile number of the device you want to track in the search bar. Once the location is found, it will be shown on the map. You can then follow the directions to find out where exactly the mobile phone is located.

This method can come in handy if you have lost your phone in a public place or if it has been stolen.

By tracking the location of the phone, you can either find your lost device or catch the thief.

Track a Phone with Phone Tracking Apps

There are a number of apps that can allow you to check your device’s location, but there is always some limitation.

The apps don’t work when switched off, for example at school because most schools require students to shut their phones.

It could seem like an attack on security or a breach of privacy.

Opinion of expert
Harold Craig
Security and Fire Alarm Systems Installer
The following are some of the most popular applications for monitoring children, mates, and workers.

However, studies have shown that most parents feel more secure knowing where their kids are at all times since Hoverwatch makes regular appearances.

Use a Tracking App to Track a Cell Phone Without SIM Card

Most tracking apps work by collecting data from the GPS of the phone and then sending it to a central server.

You can use this data to know where the device is at any point in time.

The server can be accessed by anyone with login credentials, which means that you can use it to track the location of the mobile phone.

There are many tracking apps available, and they all have their own set of features. Some of the more popular ones include Hoverwatch, uMobix, and FlexiSPY.

FlexiSPY is the world's most advanced mobile monitoring software. It allows you to spy on virtually any mobile phone and access its data remotely. FlexiSPY is the only monitoring software that can intercept and record calls, track GPS locations, read messages, view photos and videos, and more.
uMobix is the world’s most advanced remote monitoring software. It was created to help businesses and organizations of all sizes keep their critical data and systems safe, secure, and always available.
Hoverwatch is a powerful phone and computer monitoring software that helps protect your family and business. The Hoverwatch records call messages, social media activity, photos, and videos. It also tracks GPS location, web browser history, and more.

Hoverwatch is one of the most popular phone tracking apps.


The app can be installed and used on the target mobile phone secretly, and it can be used to track the location of the device, as well as to monitor calls, text messages, and social media activity.

Here are the steps to expect when using the Hoverwatch spy app:

  1. You first need to create an account on the Hoverwatch website.
  2. Once you have done that, you will be given a login ID and password, which you can use to access the Hoverwatch dashboard.
  3. From the dashboard, you can then select the device that you want to track.
  4. You will be able to see the location of the device on a map, as well as all the other data that is being collected by the app.

This includes call logs, text messages, social media activity, and more.

uMobix is another popular phone tracking app.

uMobix tracking app

The app can be used to track the location of the target device, as well as to monitor calls, text messages, and social media activity.

Here are the steps to follow when using the uMobix spy app:

  • Visit the uMobix website and create an account.
  • You will receive a login ID and password, which you can use to access the uMobix dashboard.
  • From the dashboard, select the device that you want to track.
  • The app will show you the location of the device on a map, as well as all other data being collected by the app.

You can use these apps to track the location of your lost phone as well as to monitor the activity of another person. However, it is important to note that these apps can only be installed on smartphones and not on basic phones.

Private Investigator’s Tip

Private Investigator's Tip how to track a phone without a sim card

As a private investigator, I often get hired to track down phones without SIM cards. It’s a tricky process, but with the right tools, it can be done. Recently, I was hired by a woman who suspected her husband of cheating on her. She had no concrete evidence, but she just had a feeling.

I started by downloading the Hoverwatch phone tracking app. This is an app that can track any phone without a SIM card as long as it’s connected to the internet. I then created an account and logged in to the app dashboard.

From there, I could see the location of the target phone on a map, as well as its recent activity logs.

With this information in hand, I was able to confirm that the husband was indeed cheating on his wife. She was relieved to have some closure and was able to move on with her life. Thanks, Hoverwatch app.


As you can see, there are several different ways to track a phone without a SIM card. From basic services provided by phone manufacturers to tracking apps to track a cell phone without a SIM card.

As a rule, you find yourself in a situation where the phone has already been lost, but no action to protect it we have not committed.

But don’t panic and contact your service provider or the police. In order not to get into such a situation beforehand worry about the safety of your device.

Turn on phone tracking in the device settings.
Install any of the popular phone tracking apps.
Check that you can find your device through your device identification method.

Tracking apps are third-party applications that can be installed on a phone to remotely collect data about the device’s usage and location.

There are many tracking apps available, but some of the more popular ones include Hoverwatch, uMobix, and FlexiSPY.

While tracking apps can be used for a variety of purposes, they are commonly used to track the location of a lost phone or to monitor the activity of another person.

However, it is important to note that these apps can only be installed on smartphones and not on basic phones.

FAQs about Tracking a Phone without a sim card

Can the phone operator disconnect my stolen phone?

Stealing a SIM card gives the thief about 30 minutes of use or less.

If you think your phone has been stolen, call your carrier. They can use all the tools at their disposal to find your phone, disable it, and blacklist it if necessary. If your phone comes back to you, the operator can remove it from the blacklist.

Having a "blacklist" has changed a lot about phone theft. Ten years ago it was very popular and very profitable.

Today, it's almost useless to steal a phone.

Maybe you can sell a new $1,000 iPhone for $100 to use as an iPod Touch. Unlikely, though.

All carriers in the U.S. have access to a database of stolen phone IMEI numbers. They have your IMEI number associated with your phone number - you don't need to know that. I believe this also extends to most of Europe and elsewhere.

How do I know your IMEI?

Dial * # 06 # and a pop-up window will appear with your IMEI codes. Keep this code handy and away from your phone. Once stolen, the police will find the IMEI code very useful in tracking down the stolen device. This code works on any device. Whether it's an iPhone, Android, or a regular pushbutton phone.

What happens if I put a SIM card in a "stolen phone"?

In the U.S., if a phone is reported stolen, nothing happens. The phone will not work. Stolen phones are blacklisted and will not connect to the network.

Can you track an iPhone without a SIM card?

It's possible to monitor iPhones without a SIM card. Despite the restrictions, many people use the IOS category, it remains excellent in providing services to customers. The company also provides the means of tracking phones without SIM cards as they offer similar features.

This device requires an active internet connection only. It would not be possible for anyone with a locked iPhone to receive phone calls, as thieves would not beat the system.

You can also expect the software to track your iPhone with no sim card, so you will be able to use the internet on this device. Several phone tracking applications are able to be used, including iCloud, Dropbox, and IMEIs on phones.

What can I do to track a stolen phone if it's turned on but doesn't have a SIM card?

Сall the operator and tell them your phone. If it's just lost, they'll figure it out. They can help you. And they can help everyone by making sure no one profits from a stolen phone.



🎖️ Best Phone Tracker Apps for iOS & Android