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Sprint Family Locator: Don't Sign Up Before Reading This

Updated on October 12, 2016
Read this before signing up!
Read this before signing up!

One of the greatest innovations in cell phone technology is the ability to use a cell phone as a GPS tracking device. Cell phone manufacturers started putting GPS receivers in all cell phones a few years ago so that 911 operators can see the exact location of someone calling for help. If you call 911 from your cell phone, your exact location will instantly pop up on the operator's computer screen.

This technology also works for individuals who want to track other people with cell phones. The Sprint Family Locator service allows you to track anyone you have added to your cell phone network, as long as they have their phone with them, it is turned on, and they're in the cell phone coverage area.

Features You Need to Know About

There are some important things that you must know about the Sprint Family Locator cell phone tracking service before signing up.

  • This is the only cell phone tracking service that doesn't require you to download or install any special software on your phone. This makes it the perfect cell phone tracker if you don't have a modern programmable smartphone
  • Sprint has some privacy features built into the service. The main one is this: When you first sign up, the phones that you have put on the program will get a text message that says that the phone is now a part of the tracking network.
  • From time to time Sprint may also send out text messages reminding the user of the phone that it can be tracked.
  • The person doing the tracking must have a username and password to track any particular phone. Sprint does this to protect the privacy of the user and so that not just anyone can track any old Sprint phone.

There are advantages and disadvantages to using this service.
There are advantages and disadvantages to using this service.

Advantages of the Service

  • One of the nicest features is that you don't need to go out and buy a new cellphone to use the service. It will work with any Sprint or Nextel cell phone.
  • One of my favorite features is the ability to set automated text messages. You can tell the system to send you a text message at a particular time of day with the exact location of anyone in network. If your partner is traveling, you can program the service to let you know when they arrive at their destination. This is also a great way to make sure that your children made it home from school safely every day.
  • Many cell phone tracker services only work with new smart phones that are programmable and require that you download and install software onto the phone. This is not necessary to with the Sprint tracking service.
  • If you do have one of a programmable smart phone, Sprint has a free app that enables you to track others in your cell phone tracking network directly from your smart phone. If you don't have a programmable phone, you will need a computer with an Internet. Enter your password on the service website and you will instantly see the location of the people in your network, if their phones are on.
  • Most cell phone locator services require that you subscribe to a data plan but there are no hidden fees when you sign up for the Sprint cell phone tracking service.
  • When you log into the service you will enter a password. This prevents other people from being able to track or locate people in your network.

Disadvantages of the Service

  • Some users report that the service does not update tracked phone locations quickly enough to be useful.
  • Sprint is required by law to send a text to phone users to let them know that they are being tracked. Sprint also sends a monthly text to remind these users. For people using the service to track someone without that person knowing, this feature is a major disadvantage.
  • There are work-arounds for people with phones that are being tracked. They can simply turn the phone off, not bring the phone with them, switch their phone to airplane mode, or set their phone to "GPS location only for 911."

Sprint Family Locator Poll

Do you use the Sprint Family Locator on your cell phones?

See results


Know the laws before you use this service and don't use this technology to invade anyone's privacy!

What are your thoughts about the Sprint Family Locator?

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    • profile image

      Lori 12 days ago

      So in terms of the text messages it sends out, most newer phones, well smart phones anyway, have the option to block calls and texts from specific numbers and people. So if you want to track your kids without them knowing, tell them you need to do an update on their phone and while you have it track it so when the number comes up you can immedietly block and delete it, and they will never know

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      Al 5 weeks ago

      Does anyone know how long Sprint had the "child locator" I thought it was 20 years ago. Trying to settle a bet.

      Nothing on their website.


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      Tommyboy 3 months ago

      Look we are all in different situation, who's paying the bill, is the better question! if your paying the bill and it's under your name, it's your phones, Do what you want, if they, (the other person) isn't paying bills and dosent like it, they should go pay there own bill get another phone...correct

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      Johng385 2 years ago

      What's Happening i'm new to this, I stumbled upon this I have discovered It positively helpful and it has aided me out loads. I hope to contribute &amp help other users like its helped me. Good job. bgaedgacgbfb

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      amy 3 years ago

      I think its completely rediculous. Does anybody really need to track there boyfriend or girlfriend? What happened to the right to have privacy? Why not put the mark of the beast in your hand or forehead. Because everybody is ok with stuff like this, it makes our government think that it is ok to spy on us. We are now a surveilance state. If people tought their children right from wrong they wouldn't be spying on their kids. Everyone is cheering over all of our rights being taken away. Wake up. It us wrong to give up our rights under the guise of safety. Hopefully when everyone wakes up it won't be too late. Good luck to you all

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      ANONYMOUS 4 years ago

      Wow, nobody knows this one little trick....

      Airplane mode, all forms of internet, gps, and radio/cell service signals are disabled without turning the device off.

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      Maria 4 years ago

      It's cool! Just hoping they will work still even the phone is off.

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      Carol 4 years ago

      The sfl can really get you in trouble. Jealous husband tracked me and just so happened the street I was located on had a hotel. I don't know the street! I've never been there. I don't cheat, don't have time. He wants a divorce!

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      Sandra 4 years ago

      I love it I'm a big worrier and the wife of a truck driver and would have to wait until my husband would call to find out he was ok. Now I locate him in the morning when I wake up and if he is on the freeway I call him if he is parked/unloading I won't bother him and wake him up. I don't use it unless he is on the road. If someone wants to cheat on you they will no matter if you can locate them or not, you have to trust your partner. If your spouse is a cheater let them know that when the cats away the mouse can play....if they wanted to!

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      Gina 4 years ago

      I didn't see the answer to the question about memory, if someone is at the store at 4 and the gps isn't accessed until 6 can you look back to 4 to see if they were at the store

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      Laura 4 years ago

      If my teenage grandson is driving with friends who live on a farm somewhere around Lodi CA. and they break down or have an emergency..when 911 is called, will they know the location of the kids, or at least to 100 to 300 feet of the location?

    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 4 years ago from Oregon

      Verizon has a similar cell phone tracking service called "Family Locator".

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      Annette 4 years ago

      I tell everyone with children about this service. It's sad Verizon doesn't offer claiming privacy rights.

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      Sara 4 years ago

      Is there a family tracking software that can be downloaded on the IPhone 4S?


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      pldro 5 years ago

      I believe with the satellite it isn't correct, it did the same thing to me. Plus in the map it showed cars in the parking lot of the studio I teach at and clearly there are no cars there at 3 am. I believe the satelitte pictures they show are old.

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      TrustisKey 5 years ago

      I 100% agree with the above comment. If you have to track you spouse then you shouldn't be in the relationship in the first place...and your relationship is sham. You are either in it for the right reasons or you shouldn't be at all. If you have to spy on someone then you don't really have a relationship!!

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      thinkb4uact 5 years ago

      Fact u want to track someone shows there's no trust between either party. Instead of both of you going behind one another' back. Work on building a REAL relationship. Spying on someone will only make things worse. Its like picking at a scab, eventually.... It leaves a scare. C'mon "parents" don't take the shortcuts in parenting. Put in the time and reap the benefits. Ps. I'm a parent of 3 and my children tell me EVERYTHING bc I don't judge them. Its all about unconditional love and helping them learn from there mistakes. REAL TALK.

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      Mike8395 5 years ago

      This stupid crap keeps telling my mom that I'm not home in the middle of the night when I'm 100000000000% positive I'm asleep in my bed. What the hell is going on??

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      Lg 5 years ago

      I have had the tracker for a couple of years and works great, however the last month the range of location is within a 1.2 mile radius instead of 30 yards. Is anyone else having this issue? Or is there anything I can do to fix it?

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      tryingtoforgive 5 years ago

      I wish I had this when my husband was with the "manhole" that tried to wreck my family. Now I use it to a help build the trust. Anyone with divorced blonde, named Kim, three children, living in Monroe, GA, breast cancer and drives a cadillac, beware...

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      Zannah Wyatt 5 years ago

      I'm 18,and my dad just started tracking my phone. I turn my phone off and turn the GPS off. I'm pretty pissed off about it.

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      lil me 5 years ago


    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 5 years ago from Oregon

      Honest? I'm not sure I follow what you meant by that comment?

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      Brandy 5 years ago

      I like the app....Although, it does has two downfall is all they have to do it turn the phone off & the program is unableto locate it...also I have found that after a couple of monthr Sprint starts sending out text messages letting them know that the phone number can be located through sfl and the number that can track them.


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      Debi 5 years ago

      How bout being honest. My husband and son both know I can and will locate them. If hubby has me take him to work I can easily see when hes on his way back to his shop so he doesn't wait for me...im already there. My son is 16...enough said.

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      lva 5 years ago

      So does sprint family locator still work if I turn off my gps? How exact does it show on a map?

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      Rhoda 5 years ago

      @Tim- you couldn't be more right. That is my dilemma and it isn't that easy "that I can just walk away from the wonderful relationship".

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      tom 5 years ago

      I think it's sad that sprint uses the guilt parents will feel if they don't spend five bucks a month to keep their children safer. This should be a free service for sprint customers.

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      mike 5 years ago

      @gloria...what the hell...speak english or learn to spell...I dont know what yer tryin to say!

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      none 5 years ago

      does the locator have memory? example...if i was at macdonalds at 400 and it is 6 now, can someone look back to 400 and see where i was? or is it only at the time you are looking?

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      playonplaya 5 years ago

      Yup...cheating wives can also.use sfl to find out when.hubby is coming home...and.exactly when to kick Rico suave out before it gets ugly! lmfao...love it but it is stalkerific...so beware...ur being watched

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      NotAFool 5 years ago

      FROM 1 WHO KNOWS....been using SFL for 3 years now. Great service. Yes they send (periodically) a text to whatever phone is on your list of being located...by law they have to notify. BUT...you can get around this....Added another line for 9.99....free phone....used only for tracking....(I'll let you figure out the rest). Works great!...and you can set up your Sprint account so that the person being tracked doesn't see the other line/phone being used for tracking purposes....if you are the account holder.

      FYI...set the device to silence, power save, block all calls in and out plus text and data, and then lock the phone....battery lasts over a week that way.

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      Epc 5 years ago

      Abused wife is an idiot for staying with her wife beater husband. Family locator has nothing to do with this. She should be long gone.

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      Kathy 5 years ago

      When I first got it the map showed satellite pictures of where they were now it just shows a regular map

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      Tim 5 years ago

      I think ALOT of people need to wake up!

      Yes, this is a tool for parents to keep track of their kids.

      HOWEVER, Family Locator is also a tool for abusive spouses to trck their partner's actvities! So...an abused wife goes to have coffee with a friend...she comes home and is accused of cheating by her wife-beater husband and gets the crap beaten out of her for lying!

      Family Locator is also a tool for abusive spouses!


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      Truth 5 years ago

      I have the answer. If you are being tracked like I was by my soon to be ex.....

      To make your location unknown go to (for HTC ) menu



      Location setting


      Now you are no longer tracked and only the police (if necessary) know where you are.

      Helpful information should be passed on. Good luck!

    • profile image

      Jen 5 years ago

      Sorry, hit submit by mistake.

      The way around the located phones receiving the once a month text is to bock the short code (9489) Sprint uses to notify said phones. You can do this from your My Sprint account.

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      Jen 5 years ago

      First of all, if you suspect someone is cheating on you, they probably are. With that said, there is a way around the once a month text that is sent to the phones that can be located

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      Just_me 5 years ago

      Is a great option but the thing that i DON'T like about

      this service is that the very phone that is being tracked receives a once a month text message that reads " you are being located by such a number " so now what ???? where is the secrecy part at ?

    • profile image

      5 years ago

      How about just being honest, toni and bc, or get out of those wonderful relationships that you both seem to be in

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      bc 5 years ago

      how can u tell if your phone is still on the locator service, he says it was done in error, don't know how it was activated, said he removed service, how can i tell if it was done, phone is in his name

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      KM 5 years ago

      Loved it to monitor a teenager who drives and thinks school is an option! She had no idea how I knew.....but then the sprint small print states that sprint sends a monthly text to the phone to let them know they can be tracked. That defeats the purpose!!!! I canceled service before she got that text. Looking for a new tracker.

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      Shirly Matthews 5 years ago

      I used Sprint Locator for a year to monitor my daughter who is 12. However it would never update quickly enough to be useful. There are lots of better options out there now like Family Siren www.familysiren.com. These have tons of additional features like free SMS as well.

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      Howard 5 years ago

      I love it. Since my kids feel they "must" have phones... I've made it a requirement that they have their phones with them, ON and charged at all times when they, or I am out. They happily comply, and I get the added peace of mind knowing that I can locate them pretty much whenever I feel the need to. I feel it promotes honesty...and trust. They trust me to not stalk them - I trust that they will not lie to me about their whereabouts. Parents SHOULD have the upper hand. I like being able to verify that my young teens are NOT lying to me - and I can reward them for their honesty - which promotes more honesty from them. Cool technology.

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      gloria 5 years ago

      For children is one thing but when u f on someone's acount and they use it to stalk you and if were about a not cool.

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      Shirley 5 years ago

      This works great for many reasond BUT if the gps is NOT yurned on it will not give u exact points! Ive had many arguments over this. I usually dint think too much about it unless its right on point, even a fee yards off I wont pay mind to it. Even tho it means they are in that vicinity..

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      shannon 5 years ago

      They can find out because Sprint sends their phone every so often that they have been located

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      lisac7775 5 years ago

      I have been using a great new Family Locator called Family Siren. I have it installed on my 4 kids phones and so far it works the best out of all the locators I have tried. Family Siren.

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      Bobbi 5 years ago

      I had this when I had Sprint, I thought I hated it, it wasn't always right, but I miss it now, I need to find another locator that works like this one.

      Sprint Family Locator has one issue though. That is you have to put up with Sprint bad customer service every month. Cancel while you can, we will find other better apps, there out there somewhere.

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      loberevek 5 years ago

      There is an error that if you have the possession of the phone when you activate the service that you can delete the message telling that person that you are following his/her moves. Periodically, that person will receive a text message reminding them that you are following them, that you have recently done a search...so that person will know whether or not you delete the first correspondence or not.

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      maranda 5 years ago

      I think its bs that anyone can just track you without ur permission If I wanted anyone to know where I was I would answer my phone and tell them. I mean I get tracking ur children to check on them or tracking ur spouse if ur suspicious of foul play, but to be able to track anyone u know should be labeled stalking. I think it should be against the law unless ur able to validate proof of being that persons immediate family. Its a violation of my privacy.

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      Kansas home 6 years ago

      My phone was stolen last weekend, within 4 hours my husband and police were in front of the mans house recovering my phone due to the tracking. It is a great option for many reasons.

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      Andrea 6 years ago

      I have this on my account also helps if you lose a phone easily to locate! Just wished history doesn't vanish after a few days! it's kewl looking @ the map w/an actual image of the location!Wish the mobile view was the same as the PC view! But having the hTc evo I love being able to zoom in on the map!

    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 6 years ago from Oregon

      @Toni - Just set your phone to "GPS location only for 911"

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      tonie 6 years ago

      How do i find out if I'm being tracked. Phone is in his name

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      amah 6 years ago

      Great service. Wish it would tell u the exact location and adress..but its still good. I don't like spying. But when u know your kid is lying about where they will be, and were told not to be there, its a good thing to check. Besides, now I can see where my mother is if she goes into the ditch. :)

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      brian mill 6 years ago

      The service is no good if the phone is not turned on

    • Patty Hahne profile image

      Patty Hahne 6 years ago from Oregon

      @quiethorse - On December 15, 2004 the two companies merged and become one.

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      quiethorse 6 years ago

      I understand that this will work on both Sprint and Nextel cell phones. Does Sprint own Nextel or does Nextel own Sprint?

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      Joe Jamus 6 years ago

      I can't wait to get signed up for this. I was going to buy new phones so we could use cell phone tracking but now I don't have to. Thanks for telling me about this!

    • John B Badd profile image

      John B Badd 6 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      I think this is a good way to keep track of children but it rings of big brother watching and that always makes me a little uneasy.

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