What is Geo-Tracking?

Geo-Tracking is a feature provided by mobile device management (MDM) solutions, that enables IT admins to track the real-time location of roaming-users' devices (iOS, Android, Windows, Macs). To obtain the geographical location of the managed mobile device, you need to have the ME MDM app installed in it. Mobile Device Manager Plus uses a combination of GPS, Wifi, and GSM to obtain the most accurate location of the device. MDM does not maintain any history of records about the physical location of the devices, unless Location History is enabled. You can use this feature only to locate the recent location of the managed mobile device.

Info Message

Click here to know how to permanently enable Location Services for location tracing and ensure users cannot disable it, on Android and iOS devices.

This document explains the following:

Info Message Location History and Lost Mode are available in Professional, Free, and Trial editions of MDM.

Enabling Location Services in the managed devices for GPS geotracker

To locate the device using MDM, Location Services must be enabled in the device and the Location Services must be set to Always On for ME MDM app. Follow the steps below to enable Location Services:

Geotracker for iPhones: Enabling Location Services in iOS devices

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable Geo-tracking on the end users' mobile devices:

Info Message

Once ME MDM app is installed, open the app and provide the app with permission for Location Services to enable location tracing.

You have successfully enabled Location Services on iOS devices for the geo tracking system. In a few days after setting the Location Services to Always On, Apple might prompt the user to check if the location needs to be enabled at all times for ME MDM app. This notification will appear only once and can be ignored.

On iOS devices, users can allow in-use authorization for ME MDM app to access device's location. This option ensures that ME MDM app or the geo tracking system will access location only when the app is being actively used or is running in the background. In devices runing iOS 13 or above, Apple also provides Allow Once option to allow ME MDM app or a geotracker to temporarily access device's location.

Enabling Location Services as Allow Once for Geotracking

If Allow Once is chosen, the user will be prompted every time the user opens the app. When the user clicks on Allow Once or Allow While in Use, the user will be indicated that MDM is actively using location whenever location services is being accessed by ME MDM in the status bar.

Successfully enabled Location Services for Geotracking

Note:It is recommended to choose Always On for location tracking to receive constant and precise location data of devices.

Info Message

ME MDM or the Geotracker app fetch the location details only when there is a significant change (at least 500m) in the location of the mobile device. Due to this, the location shown on the MDM server might be the last location rather than the current location in case of iOS devices for certain scenarios.

Android Geotracker: Enabling Location Services in Android devices

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable to Geo-tracking on the users' mobile devices:

  1. Expand the Status Bar in the the managed device and click on the Location icon

    Location icon on Status Bar for Android Geotracking

  2. Click Agree to enable Location Services for ME MDM

    Enabling Location Services on Android devices for Geotracking

  3. Check Location Settings and ensure ME MDM is listed under Recent location requests.

    Grant Permission to ME MDM app for Android Geotracking

You have successfully enabled location services on Android devices.

Info Message

For Android devices running OS 6.0 or above, the user has to enable location tracking, under runtime permissions for ME MDM app. To ensure location tracking is always on and is set on high accuracy mode without any user intervention, enroll the device as Device Owner and enable GPS to be Always On, using Restrictions policy.

Enabling Location Services on Windows devices

The navigation is same for Windows phones, laptops/desktops and Surface Pro tablets. Follow the steps mentioned below to enable to Geo-tracking on Windows 10 devices:

1. Select Settings icon on the managed device.

Settings to enable Location Services on Windows 10 devices for Geotracking

2. Select Privacy from the list provided in Settings.

3. Select Location from the list provided in Privacy under App permissions.

Enabling Location Services on Windows 10 devices for Geotracking

4. Now, select the Location toggle and turn it On.

Turn on Location Services for Geotracking Windows 10 devices

You have successfully enabled location services on your Windows device and can now find the location of the device.

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable to Geo-tracking on Windows 8/8.1 devices:

1. Select Settings icon on the managed device.

Settings to enable Geotracking on Windows phone

2. Select location.

Selecting Location services for Geotracking Windows phone

3. Select the location services to turn on location services on the device in case it is turned off.

Enabling Location Services for Geotracking Windows phone

4. Now, the Location services settings is turned On.

Turn on Location Services for Geotracking Windows phone

You have successfully enabled location services on your Windows phone and can now locate the device.

Enabling Location Services on Mac devices

NOTE:

Location Services is successfully enabled on the Mac device. MDM will fetch location information for Macs once every 4 hours or when the device moves a distance of 100 m. This distance can be configured from Inventory -> Geo-Tracking -> Save location history on moving. Choose between 100 m, 500 m or 1 km and Save.

Geo-Tracking for all devices

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable Geo-Tracking services for all enrolled devices:

  1. # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. On the web console, click on Inventory tab and select Geo-Tracking from Inventory Settings.

  2. Enable Geo-Tracking under Configure Geo-Tracking Settings

  3. Select All Devices to track the location details on all the managed devices.

  4. On choosing All Devices, you are given the option to browse and select Group(s) which you want to exclude from Geo-Tracking. The devices for which you do not require location tracking can be grouped and excluded.

  5. Click Save Changes to save the settings.

Info Message

If you enable Geo-Tracking for a device which is present in any excluded group(s), you can remove the device from the excluded group(s) to enable Geo-Tracking. Alternatively, you can also choose to create a new group to add the device and enable Geo-Tracking.

Follow the steps mentioned below to view the location of all managed mobile devices:

  1. # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. On the web console, under Inventory,

  2. Click Location Data to view the device locations.

Geo-Tracking for specific devices

Follow the steps mentioned below to enable Geo-Tracking services for selective devices:

  1. # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. On the web console, click on Inventory tab and select Geo-Tracking from Inventory Settings.

  2. Enable Geo-Tracking under Configure Geo-Tracking Settings

  3. Choose Selected Groups to track the location details on the managed devices present in the group(s) selected.

  4. You can include selective devices into specific Groups, browse and select those group(s) to which you wish to apply Geo-Tracking settings.

  5. Click Save Changes to save the settings.

Info Message

  1. When a newly enrolled device is added to a Group which is already selected for Geo-Tracking, then the settings are automatically applied to the device and the location of the device can be tracked.
  2. When any newly enrolled device is assigned to a Group which is excluded from Geo-Tracking, then the location details of the device cannot be accessed.

ME MDM app is automatically distributed to all the managed iOS devices if ME MDM app is not installed on the managed device. For MDM to track the location, the devices should meet the following criteria:

  1. ME MDM App should be installed on the managed mobile device

  2. The managed device should have connection to the internet, it can be either Wi-Fi or mobile data connectivity .

  3. Location Services should be enabled on the managed device and ME MDM App should have permissions to use it. Refer this for enabling Geo-Tracking for iOS devices, Android devices and Windows devices.

Info Message

Enabling Geo-tracking for a long period of time might drain the battery.

Follow the steps mentioned below to view the location of the managed mobile device:

  1. # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. On the web console, under Inventory, click Devices

  2. Select the Device and view the Device Details.

  3. Click on Location tab. You can see the location of the mobile device by latitude and longitude.

Info Message

Location of the device is updated only when the device switches tower and when the end user opens the App Catalog on their mobile device.

Geo-Tracking for lost devices

In countries where usage of device location data is prohibited. However, there rises a predicament when you want to locate missing devices. To overcome this, MDM provides you Lost Mode, whereby you can track missing devices. Lost Mode is similar to FindMyiPhone and Find My Device/Find My Phone as it lets you track managed devices only when they're lost. Lost Mode lets you mark the lost devices, get their location, lock the devices and even wipe the data. Location data can be used to retrieve the device if it has been misplaced, while the other commands such as device lock and data wipe can be used if the device is stolen.

You can locate devices and enable Lost Mode, only by marking devices as lost. For marking the device as lost, # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. you need to select the device in the Inventory tab, go to Geo-Tracking tab in device details and click on Enable Lost Mode, and follow the instructions to enable Lost Mode. Lost Mode is supported for iOS and Android.

Info Message

To configure Geo-Tracking settings to locate devices only when lost, # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. click on Inventory tab, select Geo-Tracking and for the Track devices option, select When Lost. However, Lost Mode can work in both cases - track device location at all times or track device location only when lost.

Lost Mode for iOS

When Lost Mode is enabled in Supervised devices running iOS 9.3 or later, ME MDM app need not be installed. Even if Location Services is fully disabled in the device, MDM can still locate the device. Another important feature in Lost Mode for iOS devices is that a message and contact number can be displayed in the lock screen. This can be beneficial in returning the misplaced device to its rightful owner. If the device has been misplaced, you can use Remote Alarm command by which the device raises a sound alarm.

iOS Lost Mode

The above screenshot shows a sample message and contact number displayed in the lock screen. Clicking on call button allows a call to be made to the contact number specified. Further, the device is locked on enabling Lost Mode and can be unlocked only through MDM, ensuring unauthorized access is completely restricted.

For other iOS devices including unsupervised iOS devices, not all capabilities of Lost Mode are supported.ME MDM app must be installed in the device and Location Services must be enabled for ME MDM app, to obtain the location details. However, the other location-indepent functionalities of Lost Mode can be still used - you can lock the device, display message and contact details in the lock screen and wipe the device if need be.

Info Message

Security commands - Remote Lock, Restart and Shutdown cannot be executed when the device is in Lost Mode.

Lost Mode for Android

As in iOS devices, Lost Mode in Android lets you

Lost Mode on Android devices

You can also wipe the device to ensure there is no unauthorized access of corporate data present in the device. Also, an additional option available for Lost Mode in Android, is resetting the passcode. You can reset the passcode in the device and have the new passcode mailed to the user. This ensures unauthorized access is restricted, even if the existing device passcode is known.

The biggest problem when it comes to locating lost devices is that the functionalities required to locate the device, such as Wi-Fi, Location Services etc., can be disabled in the device, rendering Lost Mode impractical. However, MDM by default ensures some of the required capabilities are enabled by default once the device is marked as lost . The advantage of using Lost Mode is that it can enable functionalities, if they have been disabled by the user. For example, if a device doesn't have Location Services switched on, MDM can still locate the device using Lost Mode. Lost Mode ensures Location Services gets enabled automatically in the background with zero admin action/user intervention.

The following table specifies the list of all features which are enabled by Lost Mode silently, irrespective of whether it has been enabled/disabled in the device.

Functionality/Device Type Samsung devices Non-Samsung devices
Device Owner Profile Owner
Enabling Wi-Fi
Enabling Location Services
Restricting switching off the device
Restricting safe booting
Restriting Factory Reset
Restricting USB debugging
Restricting USB data transfer
Restrict killing background processes

Device Owner and Profile Owner are only supported for devices running Android 5.0 or later versions.

Info Message

In Non-Samsung devices provisioned neither as Profile Owner and Device Owner, only Wi-Fi gets enabled automatically through Lost Mode, irrespective of whether it is enabled or not

Lost Mode on Chrome OS devices

Mobile Device Manager Plus enables IT admins to remotely enable Lost Mode on Chromebooks when they're lost or stolen.

Pre-requisites

To enable Lost Mode on Chrome OS devices, ensure the following pre-requisites are met:

Enabling Lost Mode on Chrome OS devices

Follow the steps given below to enable Lost Mode:

Once Lost Mode is enabled, the following actions are performed on the device.

NOTE: Locating Chromebooks is currently not supported.

Track devices instantly

Administrators can locate the enrolled devices instantly. Follow the steps mentioned below to track the geographic location of the devices on demand:

  1. # If you're using MDM integrated with Desktop Central, click on the Mobile Device Mgmt tab and follow these steps. On the web console, under Inventory, click Devices

  2. Select the Device which needs to be located

  3. Under Actions, click Locate the Device, you can view the location of the device.

You can now locate the geographical location of the enrolled devices instantly.

Location History

Location History as the name suggests, tabulates the list of locations traversed by the device. Location History stores data up to 30 days, which is ideal if the locations are to be viewed at a later time. The biggest advantage with Location History, is that the tracking can be customized to suit the needs of the organization. MDM provides 3 different options for storing the list of location(s) based on distance traversed. For storing locations when device movement is miniscule, choosing the option of tracking the device on moving 100m is ideal. In such a case, the location update frequency is more, ensuring even the smallest of movements are covered. The other two options cater to relatively larger distances, with one option tracking devices on moving 500m and the other for tracking devices on moving 1km. The first option of tracking devices on moving 100m, consumes more battery and cellular data due to frequent location updates, while the other two options consume relatively lesser cellular data and battery. Another advantage is that the Location History data can be exported as a CSV file. This is ideal if the Location History data is to be shared.

Location History can be configured as explained below:

Info Message

Location History cannot be obtained in the following cases:
  1. If the device is not connected to the Internet.
  2. If the device has been powered off.
  3. If Location Services is not enabled in the devices. Click here to know more about enabling Location Services in devices.

Choosing a Map for enabling Geo tracker on Google Maps

MDM allows you to view the devices using Zoho Maps directly on the console but if you prefer Google Maps it provides you with an option to export the device locations and view them on your Google Maps. Follow the steps given below to use Google Maps to view device locations-

  1. Click on View in Google Maps to view the devices on Google Maps.
  2. Follow the steps that are displayed on the window, to download the CSV file of device locations.
  3. Open My Google Maps and click on Create a new map.
  4. Provide a name and description to help identify the map for later use.
  5. Click on Import to upload the CSV file downloaded from the MDM console.
  6. Check if Latitude and Longitude has been selected, then click on Continue.
  7. Choose the appropriate option to be displayed as the title of the markers, preferably the device name.
  8. Click on Finish to display the device locations.

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