Is there any way an Android phone can be pinged or tracked by the IMEI number? My phone has been missing for 7 months now and Google tells me the phone got synced. It tells me the date and time and says Google knows this via IP address. But they won't reveal the IP to me. Does anyone have a way around this?

1 Answer 1


Yes, but whether you can do this, remains to be seen. Phones can receive commands through the phone network (not what you would see as the "phone's internet connection"), what is called the OTA channel. Whether they do is another matter.

Samsung phones can be remotely controlled via the KNOX subsystem, but your phone needs to be registered and you need to be its Knox controller (usually this is done for branded phones - i.e. Stark Industries purchases 1,000 phones for their employees, but makes it so they can't change the logo, or use a different SIM, or can be tracked if needs be). The same applies for iPhones. On both systems (I suspect all systems), what is seen by the user as "the OS" is actually a guest that lives at the complete mercy and sufferance of the underlying secure module, which always has complete control.

Unfortunately, while the owner can request for a remote factory reset, data wipe, and sometimes even a total system lockout (what is commonly referred as "bricking", but isn't a definitive bricking), locating the phone through OTA requires uploading a bespoke app to said phone, and this feature is not available to the average Joe for obvious privacy issues. It can be done and is routinely done in response to police requests, for example. If you denounce the theft, it is possible that such a request might be made. Whether the police will be able to pinpoint the location and recover the phone is doubtful, but once I saw this done for a tablet, so...

Another thing that can be done (and is routinely done too) is locate the phone by triangulating through the network carrier cells. This too isn't available to the average Joe, and requires much more hassle. It's only done to track criminals (or if you lost a phone with the missile launch codes, I guess :-) ). You can request from your vendor (with appropriate proof of purchase) for the IMEI to be blacklisted through the global database. Once that is done, the phone will be unable to connect to any carrier.

A more worrying issue though is that "Google tells me the phone got synced". What got synced? Your Google account? Because that would mean that the phone is still logged with your password, and you certainly don't want that. I'd disconnect the device and change my password ASAP.

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