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

I love giving advice and tips on the various services that phone carriers provide.

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 cell phone 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 the 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 smartphones 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 smartphone, Sprint has a free app that enables you to track others in your cell phone tracking network directly from your smartphone. If you don't have a programmable phone, you will need a computer with the 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.


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

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 workarounds 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

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2010 Patty Hahne

What are your thoughts about the Sprint Family Locator?

Brianna on January 12, 2020:

For all of you actually tracking your children, this is horrible and incredibly toxic. You're asking for them to lose all respect and trust for you, thus creating a hostile environment where you're keeping them in a cage as a rat and you as pet owner, only to control them. If any of you knew about trust maybe you should reconsider how you're acting before you actually go through with this.

Gail on December 11, 2019:

I use to have it and had to change to Safe and Found and It was easier tracking people with the locator then Safe and Found. I would love to get it back.

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Handymanmd on December 22, 2018:

I keep getting messages indicating the Sprint Family Locator app is shutting down but I haven't found anything on Sprints website about it. Are others getting this message or know anything about this.

david79 on May 14, 2018:

I'd used SpyToApp Software. it's a good app. i like that how i can control the features and toggle them on/off at my choice. my favorite monitoring feature is geofencing. now my kid doesnt sneak out like before at night

mislead on December 27, 2017:

For years we used Sprint Family Locator. It's awful. The Radius is to wide. Meanwhile there are free apps out there that can lead to the "EXACT" location. For real.

Now, having said that. If an unruly teenager/other turns off their Location, the free app is out, and somehow the Sprint Locator still manages to show something. However, still that crazy wide radius.

Baker on December 18, 2017:

Not good it don’t show exactly where my child only shows the area not the street

Shealer on October 23, 2017:

I love it

Terry Mulverhill on September 10, 2017:

It gives me a 3 to 5 mile radius of where the phone is which is no help.

brittny on July 18, 2017:

so my locator told my significant other that i left my house last night in the middle of the night and went over 10 miles away from my house when i was for sure in my bed asleep at the time that it says i left. wth is wrong with this thing

Ben on May 08, 2017:

If I turn off my location in my phones settings will the tracker still work?

Lori on March 16, 2017:

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

Al on February 21, 2017:

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.


Tommyboy on December 26, 2016:

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

Anonymous Wife on October 27, 2016:

I can see using this maybe on your Children up to a certain age, but it sends messages to the person being tracked. So if you just even try it for like an hour, you then can't turn it off!! I tried it for 1 hour on my husband. It isn't very accurate of where they are. I tried to uninstalled it, an hour later. Thought it was uninstalled, but it is STILL tracking him or me & a 3Rd spare phone we have, sending me text messages all the time!! The "FORCESTOP" icon button DOES NOT work, as suggested online!! I want this App to STOP!! Do I have to wait for the 15 day trial to pass, before it stops sending me updates?? I agree with the above opinions, that it shouldn't be used on a spouse. People need to trust each other. It would be handy, if youremember phone was lost or stolen, though. Myself, cant wait for it to stop sending me updates.

ipayitrack on October 15, 2016:

Here's the way I look at it. I have 5 phones in our family (2 iphones and 3 android). We are all losing them from time to time so tracking is a necessity. iphones have find my iphone function for free and can make it ring loudly so you can find it or locate it on a sat map. Android you have to download and install 3rd party app which doesn't always work and is easily disabled. We tell our kids, you don't want your phones tracked then pay for your own phones and monthly phone bills! Enough said sheesh!

jgraff on August 21, 2015:


I am a child (13 years old) and I love to study politics especially cases with rights. My father forced to install this app on my phone, which has limited space left, and then sign up for it. I fiercely opposed and he said now he can check on me whenever he wants. I realized this was wrong on turned off location for this app because I felt uneasy knowing I was being watched every possible second. I feel like this is a violation of my rights. If people can respond to this, realizing this is from a child's perspective, I would love to hear it. Thank You.

Johng385 on September 09, 2014:

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

amy on November 03, 2013:

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

ANONYMOUS on October 20, 2012:

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.

Maria on October 06, 2012:

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

Carol on August 27, 2012:

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!

Sandra on May 24, 2012:

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!

Gina on May 13, 2012:

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

Laura on April 28, 2012:

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 (author) from Oregon on April 06, 2012:

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

Annette on April 05, 2012:

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

Sara on March 31, 2012:

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


pldro on March 29, 2012:

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.

TrustisKey on March 10, 2012:

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!!

thinkb4uact on March 02, 2012:

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.

Mike8395 on February 24, 2012:

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??

Lg on February 10, 2012:

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?

tryingtoforgive on February 03, 2012:

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...

Zannah Wyatt on February 01, 2012:

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.

lil me on January 31, 2012:


Patty Hahne (author) from Oregon on January 27, 2012:

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

Brandy on January 26, 2012:

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.


Debi on January 24, 2012:

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 already there. My son is 16...enough said.

lva on January 03, 2012:

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

Rhoda on December 28, 2011:

@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".

tom on December 14, 2011:

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.

mike on December 09, 2011:

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

none on December 03, 2011:

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?

playonplaya on December 02, 2011:

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! it but it is beware...ur being watched

NotAFool on November 26, 2011:

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 law they have to notify. can get around this....Added another line for 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.

Epc on November 25, 2011:

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.

Kathy on November 12, 2011:

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

Tim on November 07, 2011:

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! 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!


Truth on October 30, 2011:

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!

Jen on October 30, 2011:

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.

Jen on October 30, 2011:

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

Just_me on October 21, 2011:

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 ?

a on October 18, 2011:

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

bc on October 13, 2011:

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

KM on October 11, 2011:

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.

Shirly Matthews on September 21, 2011:

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 These have tons of additional features like free SMS as well.

Howard on September 02, 2011:

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.

gloria on August 31, 2011:

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.

Shirley on August 30, 2011:

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..

shannon on August 30, 2011:

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

lisac7775 on August 29, 2011:

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.

Bobbi on August 29, 2011:

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.

loberevek on August 21, 2011:

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 that person will know whether or not you delete the first correspondence or not.

maranda on July 20, 2011:

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.

Kansas home on February 02, 2011:

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.

Andrea on January 29, 2011:

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 (author) from Oregon on January 08, 2011:

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

tonie on January 07, 2011:

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

amah on December 29, 2010:

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. :)

brian mill on December 28, 2010:

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

Patty Hahne (author) from Oregon on November 12, 2010:

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

quiethorse on November 12, 2010:

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

Joe Jamus on November 12, 2010:

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 from Saint Louis, MO on August 14, 2010:

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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