Will an old, deactivated iphone without a cell or data plan still be trackable using the Find My iPhone app?

I want to purchase an old, 'junker' iphone and stash it in my car to use as a tracking device in case my car is ever stolen. However, I do not want to purchase a cell or data plan for this junker iphone.

Would this be doable?

I know my question is similar to this post, but I don't know if there are other considerations I should account for with this plan. Thanks for your feedback!

  • at bare minimum the Phone will need WiFi on so to be able to report its position. – Ruskes Jun 3 '15 at 0:26
  • Get a pay as you go sim... will last months if the only thing it's doing is location tracking. – Tetsujin Jun 3 '15 at 9:43

Wifi will not work as iPhone do not automatically connect to new wifi networks. Like Mark said you will need a data plan and Ting is a good one. On top of that you will need to make sure the phone has a constant power source and best to have it hidden. You may want to find a 12v wire that is on when your car is one and use an adapter to connect your phone to that and keep it under the seat or something.

One thing that will also do is when the car is off and the phone's battery dies the phone will turn off. Turning on the car will recharge and turn on phone again so you can leave it be.

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Likely not, as you need some sort of data connection to pass back the location to Apple. It would only check in if in range of a WiFi network it had connected to in the past.

You could look at a cheap phone plan through Ting (https://ting.com/). If you didn't use minutes and less than 100mb of data a month for the location, it would be about $9 per month.

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Cell phones are required to allow 911 calls in emergencies. If someone steals your car, and the hidden cell phone inside, this seems to warrent an emergency or at least a police request to the cell phone service provider to help locate the phone in a police investigation. Wire up your phone and charger, all hidden of course, to keep the battery charged. Remove all old apps and dim the screen brighteness to lowest setting to preserve power.

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