How to Track IMEI Number Through Google Earth

A lot of cell phone users are bothered by phones being lost or stolen. Tracking phones with an IMEI number seems to be a workable way to find the lost or stolen phone. You can seek help from the phone service provider and police and use some IMEI trackers.

However, with the recent controversy over Google Earth’s ability to track phones by IMEI number, some people are skeptical about it. “Can Google Earth search for an IMEI number? If so, how?” This is a question on Quora. To answer this question that many users are concerned about, the article will give a discussion on it and find out whether it is workable on IMEI tracking.

What Is Google Earth and IMEI number?

Before we find out whether Google Earth is workable on IMEI number tracking, we need to get a full understanding of what is Google Earth and IMEI number.

  •  What is Google Earth?

Google Earth is a geographical information computer program that provides a virtual mapping service based on satellite imagery. It can show terrain and buildings in 2D/3D and allow users to check the details by interacting with the program via zooming it in and out. With Google Earth, users can explore the world when they don’t have a chance to go there. It is a powerful tool that users can use to plan trips, navigate directions, and get information about unfamiliar spots. Also, it helps to monitor the environment. With history satellite imagery provided, scientific researchers can use it to study environmental changes, etc. or the authorities can utilize it to have disaster management.

google earth
  • What is IMEI number?

If you have lost your phone, someone may have suggested tracking your phone by IMEI number, but not everyone knows what it is. IMEI number is an abbreviated name for International Mobile Equipment Identity, which contains all the information of the phone device including model, brand, released year, origin and warranty period, etc., forming from a 15-digit number. You can check your IMEI number from its package, the back of the device, system settings, or dialing “*#06#”. 

imei number

IMEI number is the only and unique identity code assigned to every mobile device and no one can change it. So, by IMEI number, when the phone is connected to the internet, the network can identify the phone and let it access data. It is not like the serial number. IMEI number is used by phone carriers, while serial number is used by manufacturers. That is to say, when the phone is network-connected, the phone carriers can track IMEI number and locate or block your lost phone.

How to Track IMEI Number through Google Earth?

So, after knowing what is Google Earth and IMEI number, whether Google Earth can track IMEI number, the answer is no, since it can only be tracked by the phone carrier or the authorized entities. 

However, Google Earth can be helpful when tracking your phone. If you can get your lost phone’s coordinates, you can utilize Google Earth to view the detailed imagery of its location and that will increase the possibility of getting your phone back. Follow the guide below.

Before your phone is lost, you need to set it up on Google Maps Timeline. It is an excellent feature of Google Maps, which can remember routes and trips where you have taken your phone. By this, you can find the history locations of your phone and their coordinates. Then, you can utilize Google Earth to view the specific 3D satellite imagery of the phone location.

Step 1. Turn on your phone’s GPS service. It will make Google Maps create timeline locations more accurately.

iPhone: Settings > Privacy > Location Services > turn on Location Service.

Android: Settings > Location > Move the slide button to the right side to turn it on. Or more simply, slide down your screen, and you will see the control panel. Turn on the Location.

Step 2. Download Google Maps and click on the profile picture. Tap on the Google Account button to access the settings page.

Step 3. The location history is off by default, for that you need to turn Timeline on. Tap on Data and Privacy and scroll down. In the History settings section, you will see the Timeline option. Turn on the Timeline option and your phone will create a timeline when you use it.

After your phone is lost, you can use Google Earth along with Timeline on another phone. Here is how to use it.

Step 1. Download Google Maps and Google Earth on another phone.

Step 2. Login to your Google account on Google Maps and tap the profile picture. Now, you can see the Your Timeline option as the picture shows. Tap it to view the history locations of your lost phone.

Step 3. After accessing the Timeline, you can switch the button to the right or left side to choose a specific date when you lost your phone.

Step 4. After you decide the location on the map, tap it into details. You will see a history location coordinate. Tap it, and it will automatically be copied to the clipboard so that you can turn to Google Earth to geolocate the coordinate more precisely with 3D imagery.

Step 5. Open Google Earth and paste the coordinate into the search bar. After the loading time, you will get the 3D satellite imagery which may better help you find your lost phone.

Limitations to Google Earth IMEI tracker

Google Earth is designed for mapping service purposes. It is not a real-time locator for tracking your phone. Only if you get the accurate coordinates of the lost phone will Google Earth become useful when you try to find out where your lost phone is. What’s more, Google Earth does not provide any history locations of the lost phone, and it cannot block your stolen phone as the phone carrier does. The only thing it can do is to show accurate imagery of the lost phone’s location like terrain, buildings, etc., making you more efficient in finding the lost phone.

Google Earth Alternatives: Find Phone by IMEI Number

Considering the limitations of the Google Earth IMEI tracker, it’s worth trying other cell phone tracking solutions. One of the hassle-free ways is to track phones by IMEI number directly. Here we will share an IMEI tracker app and two online IMEI tracking platforms. Let’s begin with the details.

  1. IMEI tracker app

There are a lot of IMEI trackers on the App Store or Play Store. You can search to get one to use. For example, IMEI tracker-find my device. It is a tracking tool for your phone. You can search for it on the application store. Before you can use it, you need to set it up. 

Step 1. Download and install the app. 

Step 2. Open the app, the app will ask you for some permissions to access some functions. 

Step 3. You will be asked to enter the trusted phone number of your family or friends and the message containing your IMEI phone location and phone number will be automatically sent to them when your phone is missing or stolen and a new sim card is inserted. 

Step 4. You can turn on Get Lost Phone, Ring Silent Phone, Get Current Location options, and track your phone on another device. The location of the lost phone will be sent to you by sending the lost phone an SMS.

  1. Online IMEI tracking

Compared to the IMEI tracker app that needs preinstallation, using the online IMEI tracking platform is more simple and easy for tracking your lost or stolen phone. You can use a computer, phone, or tablet to search the IMEI tracker on Google Chrome and access the tracking web page. After entering a valid IMEI number and waiting for seconds or minutes, you will get the results. There are a lot of online IMEI tracker platforms. However, not all of them work well. Here are two safe-to-use IMEI tracking platforms for your reference.

IMEI tracker: This platform is free to use and has an intuitive interface. It can track the precise location of the cell phone and show it on the interactive map. To locate the lost phone, you just need to enter the IMEI number and choose the country where your device was first registered.  Then click “TRACK IMEI” to receive the location result.

LocatePhone: This online tool can locate your mobile phone by entering the phone number, regardless of any phone type, carrier, or brand. It can track cell phones worldwide and give you an exact location that is displayed on the map. No Google account or Apple iCloud is needed during the tracking process. Simply type in phone number and click “Locate” to find location of iPhone, Android or Samsung phone online!

Tips for using IMEI tracking tools

If you need to use the IMEI tracker, you need to know the following important things.

  • If you accidentally get someone else’s IMEI number, it is illegal to track their phones without their consent.
  • IMEI tracking can only be used to find the phone or prevent theft. If you are tracking phones out for spy purposes or invading other people’s privacy, it is illegal.
  • Please check and follow the relevant local law before you track the IMEI number.


  • How can I find my IMEI number without my phone?

Yes. If you have kept the packing you can find the IMEI number on it. Or you can dial *#06# on your device’s keypad.

  • Can I track someone using their IMEI number?

Yes. If you know their IMEI number, you can use the IMEI tracker to locate them. But, for legal consideration, it is not suggested to do that. If you track someone without their consent, you may break the law.

  • Can a phone be tracked without a SIM card?

Yes. If the sim card is taken out, the phone can still be tracked. Apart from IMEI number tracking, there are GPS tracking, network-based tracking, and built-in tracking services like Apple Find My iPhone function, etc. However, some tracking needs you to take pre-measures like turning on the GPS of the phone or logging into a specific app’s account. Also, it is vital that the phone is turned on and the network is connected through wifi. Otherwise, under the circumstances of the SIM card being taken out, it is hard to track a lost phone.


IMEI number is a unique identifier to your phone and remember not to reveal it to strangers in case of illegal tracking use by others. Google Earth can be helpful when you try to find your lost phone, but it cannot track the phone directly by IMEI number. You can alternatively use an IMEI tracker app or an online IMEI tracking platform.


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