can stolen laptops be traced?

How To Track A Stolen Laptop Without Tracking Software?

If you own a Windows laptop, you can track your device using the ‘Find my device’ feature, which has to be preactivated.  You also can track your laptop by using your Gmail, Dropbox, or Facebook. These options track your laptop’s IP address based on your device’s latest activity. However, if you own a Mac laptop, you can track your laptop using the ‘Find my Mac device’ feature or use iCloud to track your Mac laptop.


Can a stolen laptop be tracked with serial number

Answered By: Kyle Roberts Date: created: Apr 02 2021

No. You can not track your laptop using MAC address or Serial Number. You need a special software which will track it.

Asked By: Ronald Bryant Date: created: Mar 08 2021

How To Trace A Stolen Laptop (Mac)

You can trace your Apple device using two ways similar to those used by Windows users. If your Macbook has been stolen, you can track it down and retrieve it using the “Find My Mac Device” feature or iCloud. The steps for using these features are given below:

1. How to Track Laptop Using Find My Mac And iCloud

You can use the Find My Mac Device to trace your stolen Macbook. To do this, follow the steps given below:

  • Go to your dashboard and select “System Preferences.”
  • Enter your Apple account information and log in to iCloud.
  • To enable Find My Mac, select the option and then click on “Allow to Confirm.”
  • To track your device, log in on the iCloud website using your Apple ID.
  • Now, click on “Find my phone” and select “Missing MacBook.”
  • Now the location of your MacBook should be displayed to you.

You can track your Apple devices with precision as you create an iCloud account. Anti-theft measures are included in iCloud, allowing you to trace your stolen Macbook. You can lock your device or delete your device’s content if iCloud detects it has been traced. You can trigger the alarm sound using iCloud.

Your device isn’t connected to an active network if no device is displayed after these steps. Apple’s iCloud service will tell you of its position as soon as it connects to the internet in such a situation.

3. How to Track Laptop Using Mac Address

Six sets of two figures or characters held together by hyphens are your MAC address. You can go to utilities and launch the terminal software to get your address. “Command + Shift + U” is another option. MAC addresses for all network interfaces will be shown after using this.

You have a good chance of recovering your laptop if you contact your network administrator after losing your MacBook. Customers do not typically register their gadgets on a central network, though. A quick call to the administrator, however, is essential to marking your system for monitoring.

  • In general, each device’s MAC address is unique to that device. An administrator can use a method known as MAC address filtering to prohibit outsiders from entering a network or to limit their access to a network.
  • Because the device is no longer under your control, notifying the administrator allows them to track where the connection originated as the IP address changed. Therefore, keeping your MAC address hidden is so crucial.

Can a laptop be tracked if its off

Answered By: Hunter Jenkins Date: created: Dec 08 2021

You can install it remotely from the Google Play web interface, after which it will start tracking your phone. However, if your thief has turned off the device, turned off internet connectivity, or wiped your phone, you’re completely out of luck, and have no way of tracking it.

Asked By: Ryan Brown Date: created: Jul 20 2021

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can You Track A Stolen Laptop With Serial Number?

A laptop’s serial number is a primary form of identification even though they’re mostly figures. They are a form of identity for the device. Although they only go as far as immediate recognition, they can be useful for the police report, insurance, and pawnshop complaints when physical contact occurs.

It is difficult to track your stolen laptop with a serial number only. Usually, this information may be used alongside others to track the device if you decide to use tracking software.

2. How Can I Track My Lost Laptop Using IMEI Number?

Talking about numbers, does the laptop have IMEI number? Only cellular devices such as phones and cellular modems used with laptops and notepads have an IMEI number. Otherwise, a laptop cannot be categorically called an IMEI number carrier.

If your device has a functioning 3G/4G modem, then it’s possible to track the IP address as long as the thief keeps the data plan alive and didn’t change the IMEI carrier. On its own, an IP address does not mark a specific place, but you could get an area.

3. Can A Laptop Be Tracked After Factory Reset?

In the unfortunate scenario that you did a factory reset for your laptop before it was stolen, there is a way.

  • You should have tracking software installed on the device (ThinkPad, MacBook, or Apple).
  • You must have been paying its service fee until the incident took place.
  • As long as the tracing system can identify your information, including your trace code number (allocated to only active customers). Then, depending on your preferred software, events unfold. For instance, when the thief tries to use the Internet on your computer, the system transmits to a remote server. Or, a spy software takes pictures of the thief, sends them a warning message, and even by-pass several firewalls remotely, thus helping you pin a location to ongoing activities. All of these are possible with a factory reset.

What to do after you get the IP Address of your Stolen Laptop?

Once you have gotten the IP address of your stolen laptop, do not retrieve your laptop alone. You do not know the type of person who stole your laptop and what they are capable of doing to you. It would be best if you prioritize your safety by involving the police. They will get a warrant to retrieve the thief’s exact address from their ISP legally.

Can I Still Trace My Laptop Without Tracking Software?

Tracing a laptop requires having certain measures in place that make it possible. We enumerated ways to ensure that it is possible to retrieve your laptop through the presence of certain software. 

However, without them, tracing becomes close to impossible.Therefore, while you still have the chance, ensure you enable one of the abovementioned to be on the safe side.

How Can I Track My Lost Laptop?

Login to your device through your Microsoft account to get your Find my device working.

  • Go to the start button and select accounts. Click on the account to select settings and move to ‘update and security’. Select the section tagged ‘update and security’. If your information appears on top of the screen, then you’re on. If not, you have to log in.
  • When update and security pop up, look for the option ‘Find my Device’ on the sidebar menu. Click on it.
  • You will see ON or OFF
  • If OFF, click on the same button to turn it on. To be sure, you need a windows 10 to gain access to a Microsoft account. 
  • Log in to your Microsoft account provided that you have an existing account. When you’re logged on, now what? Go to devices that you have signed in with your account, select the stolen or missing device, and select find my device. Note that your device may not be powered on for this feature to work. Nevertheless, to get its specific location, you need an internet connection to look at its location with GPS.
  • So, do laptops have GPS tracking? Yes, however, not all laptops come with the feature. However, devices like ThinkPads are known to adapt to the feature. Here’s a guide to help you choose which works best for you.
  • Click on the lock button to remotely secure the laptop.

How to useFind My Device in Windows 10

Microsoft introduced the Find My Device feature back in 2015. As the name suggests, it’s a helpful way to track down the approximate location of your laptop.

It’s turned off by default, but if you enabled the feature before your laptop disappeared then you’ll be able to take a quick couple of steps to aid in its recovery.

For those unfamiliar with the service you can read our How to turn on Windows 10’s Find My Device feature guide.

To track your laptop go to the Microsoft website and log in with your account.

You’ll be presented with a list of your devices, so locate the one you’re after and click on the Find my device option under its name.

Now Microsoft will search for the laptop and let y

Now Microsoft will search for the laptop and let you know, roughly, where it is, so long as it’s online. There’s also the option to secure the machine remotely by clicking the Lock button.  

What to do if your stolen laptop is off?

Although some of the methods that we will share here are valid, if your laptop was stolen, then we recommend that you involve the police. This is critical because you cannot confront a thief by yourself, even if you are successful in tracing him.

Also, the locations that you will get from the tracker are approximate, which makes it hard to know which exact door to knock is. Moreover, a thief is not a law adherent, so he might want to harm you. For these reasons, make sure that you report to the police.

Here are some methods that you can use to track your laptop if it is off:

Use find my device to trace your laptop

In 2015, Microsoft introduced a feature known as finding my device. This feature, as the name suggests, helps to track the approximate location of the device that has this feature.

For you to use this feature, go to the Start menu on your laptop and type settings. On the bar that will appear, select the settings option.

Once you are in the settings, now go to the update and security section and click on it. It will direct you to another sidebar menu. On this menu, look for the Find my device and click on it. This will direct you to another window where you can see whether the feature is enabled or not.

If the feature is not enabled, then you need to click on the change button, which will direct you to another page where you can turn on the feature.

However, you need to have installed this feature, and it is, by default, turn off. Therefore, you need to activate or enable the feature before the laptop goes off. If the feature is enabled, then with a few quick steps, you can be able to track your computer.

For you to track your device using this feature, you need to go to the Microsoft website and then log in to your account. After logging in, you will get a list of numerous devices. Find your device from the list and then click on the Find my device button under the name of your device.

Microsoft will then search for your laptop and then give you an approximate location where it is found. However, this feature can only find the location when the laptop is online. But they also offer the option of securing your computer remotely by locking the laptop.

Using Find my Mac Feature

If you are using a Macbook or Macbook Air, they have a similar feature to find my device known to find my Mac.  However, just like the Find my device feature, it needs to be enabled prior to the laptop going off.

If the feature were activated, you would be able to track your laptop even if it’s off. Besides tracking the laptop, you can use this feature to lock up the device. Also, you can send a message to the miscreant.

Follow the following steps to find your Mac:

Go to the iCloud settings on your head menu and choose the system preference. Once there, click on the iCloud icon, which will direct you to log in.

Once you access your iCloud, navigate to the Find my Mac. Ensure that you select your checkbox so that you can able to use this feature.

After this, log in to using your Apple account. After logging in, go to find my Mac, and the process will start.

You will then be given a list of all the devices that have used your account in the recent past. From the list, click on your Macbook, and iCloud will show you a map showing the approximate location where the laptop is being used.

Once you have identified the location, you can activate the play sound on your device, which will make it easy to find the exact location.

Alternatively, you can display a custom message on the screen of the Macbook. If the location is too far across the world, you can lock your laptop remotely and set a password so that nobody can be able to access it.

Using Dropbox or Gmail to track the IP address of the laptop

If you had not installed the tracking features that we have mentioned above, there is yet another method. It is possible to track the IP address of your device if it is connected to the internet.

However, this method will not give you the exact location of the user. But you will be given an approximate place where it is being used.

If you are using a Gmail account, then you have a starting point. Login to your Gmail account and then scroll down, at the very end of the messages, you will find a details button.

Click on the Details button, and it will direct you to a new page. On the new page, you will find a list of all the devices that have had access to your Gmail account in the recent past.

After that, click on the show details button on any of the devices that you think is your laptop. It will give you the IP address where the device is being used. After you have gotten the IP address, it is advisable to give it to the police to trace the user.

Besides using the Gmail account, you can also use dropbox. Log in to your account on the internet, and on the right corner of your account, click on your account icon.

Once you have accessed your account, click on the settings. After that, go to the security button. Then scroll down on the browser section. Move the cursor of your mouse over the icon for information. Under the information section, go to the most recent activity section so that you can find your laptop.

We hope that these methods will help you to track your device sooner. If you are reading this post and you have not activated the features that we have highlighted above, then it is time to take action.

Do not wait for your laptop to be stolen and then start taking a proactive reaction. Prevention is better than waiting. You never know when your computer is going to go missing, so take action now and secure your laptop.


There are various ways in which you can track the location of your stolen laptop. The methods for both Windows and Mac are mentioned above. You can also take some precautionary steps, just in case your laptop gets stolen. This will help you to protect your data and privacy. You can also trace your laptop quickly.


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