How to Ping a Cell Phone Number

By S.C. Palmer

When you ping a cell phone number, you locate the last tower that received a signal from a cell phone. This strategy is often used by emergency workers looking for a person in need, or by law enforcement looking for a runaway teenager or a criminal. Since this process requires sensitive information about a cell phone tower, you can't ping a cell phone yourself. You must contact the provider of the cell phone you're looking for to ping the phone for you.

Step 1

Ask the owner of the phone if you have permission to ping it. It's illegal to ping a phone that doesn't belong to you without permission.

Step 2

Get the cell phone number you want to ping. You can't ping a phone without the number. Get the name of the cell phone provider as well, since you will need it later. It's also helpful if you have other information, such as the phone's serial number.

Step 3

Call the phone's provider. Ask them to ping the phone number, and give them all the information about the phone. Every cell phone provider has a different policy regarding pinging. Some will offer information easily, and some will only give it to those with proper clearance, such as law enforcement.

Step 4

Wait for the cell phone provider to contact you. They will usually want to call the owner of the phone to approve the ping. When the provider grants you access, you will hear back with the location.

Tips & Warnings

  • In an emergency, such as locating a runaway child, don't go through this process to ping a phone yourself. Call the authorities and have them take care of it for you.