Device tracking

Tracking your devices is as simple as logging into your Prey Control Panel and finding the device in the list. As soon as you click on the device, you’ll find yourself in the Device View.


Device view

There are a few elements that are important to take into account. First is the device card, where you can find detailed information on the device, such as its operating system, the version of the Prey client, the wi-fi network the device is connected to and the last user to log-in to the device. You can also set up loans, with our powerful device loan management system.

On the right-hand side of the screen you can find all the security actions you can execute on your device. 

And in the center of the screen, the star of the show: your devices’ current location, which you can update manually by clicking on Update location. You can also review the device’s location history by clicking on Show previous locations

Prey tracks your laptop devices with the Wi-Fi triangulation method; this means that, to get an accurate location, the device needs to be able to detect enough Wi-Fi networks with sufficient signal strength in its own neighborhood. If not enough networks can be detected, the devices’ location will be shown with a lower accuracy. 

While this may be a hindrance in using Prey for tracking in remote locations, Wi-Fi triangulation works fantastically in densely populated areas, like cities and some towns, due to the widespread proliferation of Wi-Fi networks.

Aware Tracking

This is what you're here for, right? Knowing exactly where your device is, and when was it located there. By default, Prey will gather periodic location data when instructed to do so by marking a device as Missing. However Prey will, also by default, make movement and time-based checks to make sure that your device's latest location as seen in your panel is the most accurate, even if the device is not set as Missing. We call this feature Aware Location Tracking.

Setting Up Aware Location Tracking

This feature is turned on by default, and will make sure your device's location is up to date in your panel map. However, since privacy concerns vary from organization to organization, we've allowed for the customization of this feature in your panel. In order to turn it off, just go to your panel's Settings tab > Tracking Settings. There, you will see the following two options:


  • When Off makes Prey actively track your device only when in Missing mode. With this setting, if you wish to update your device's location in the map, you will need to manually update its location directly on the device card. 
  • When On allows Prey to track your device actively, with timed checks and movement-based triggers.

You can change the Aware Tracking settings by clicking on the option you wish to have enabled, then clicking on the Change Tracking button, and voilà! Your settings have been updated!

Location data in your Missing reports will arrive all the same, regardless of Aware tracking settings: These will only affect your device's location update in your panel map and location history.


Prey for Computers

My location is wrong or inaccurate

Select your operating system and follow the below instructions.

  • In a command prompt with administrator privileges, execute
    netsh wlan show networks mode=Bssid
  • Open a terminal window and execute
    sudo /System/Library/PrivateFrameworks/Apple80211.framework/Versions/Current/Resources/airport -s
  • Execute nmcli device wifi rescan in a Terminal window. This will scan all the available Wi-fi networks.
    Afterwards, execute nmcli device wifi list in the same window to print the list of networks in the terminal.

These commands will show you all the Wi-Fi networks your device can detect. An optimal environment would be of at least 3 Wi-Fi networks, with a signal strength of at least 80%. If that’s not the case, please move to a different location with more wi-fi locations and try again.

I can see more than 3 Wi-Fi networks with strong signal but my location is still wrong

Please follow this guide to kill the process associated with the Prey client:

  1. Execute taskkill /F /IM node.exe in a command prompt with administrator privileges. Wait a few minutes for the client to re-start and try again. You can check whether the process is running or not in the Task Manager (the process is called node.exe).
  2. Execute sudo pkill -f prx from a Terminal window and enter your administrator password. Wait a few minutes for the client to re-start and try again. You can check whether the process is running or not in the Activity Monitor (the process is called prx).
  3. Execute sudo -u prey /usr/lib/prey/current/bin/prey -D from a Terminal window and enter your administrator password. Wait a few minutes for the client to re-start and try again.

Nothing here seems to work! What can I do?

There are certain situations where the client may be having issues connecting with our servers. For these cases, please try reinstalling the Prey client. You can do so by following the uninstallation process. For Windows and MacOS devices, we’ve prepared a file that can help you with this. For this solution, you will need your Setup Key, which you can find in your Prey panel, under Settings > Setups. Folllow the directions depending on your operating system.

  1. Download the installation repair file and execute it with administrator privileges. This can take several minutes, so please don’t close any command prompt window that may open. If the reinstallation failed, please execute the file from a command prompt with administrator privileges, appending your Setup Key the end (eg: preyreinstaller.exe setup_key)
  2. Download the installation repair file. From a terminal window, navigate to the folder where the file was downloaded and execute sudo sh API_key. Enter your administrator password, required for sudo commands, and wait for the installation process to complete.

I’ve reinstalled and I still can’t locate my device

Please contact our Support team with the following information:

  • The device_key for the device you’re trying to locate (you can find this is in the address bar of your browser when in the Device view).
  • The list of Wi-Fi networks detectable by your device (see above)
  • If you have access to the device, please include the prey.log and prey.conf files from the device you’re attempting to locate. To extract these files, please follow these steps:
    • You can locate the prey.log and prey.conf files in the installation folder for the Prey client (by default C:\Windows\Prey)
    • Execute the following strings in a Terminal window:
      cat /var/log/prey.log
      cat /etc/prey/prey.conf
      Afterwards, copy and paste the information on a text file.

Our team will get in touch with you within 24 working hours.

Prey for Mobile Devices

The Prey client for Mobile Devices relies on the device’s native GPS capabilities. Please make sure all location tracking permissions for Prey are active (this will depend on your device). 

For iOS devices, make sure the app is Allowed to track your location at any time in the Settings app. In order for the Prey for iOS client to work correctly, the app must be running in the background at all times. 

If your device has all required permissions active, please contact our Support team with as much information as you can (including the device’s Device key, which you can find in the address bar of your browser when in the Device view), so we can troubleshoot the issue further.

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