By Andrea Romano
December 23, 2018

Tracking your flight is easier than you think. If you have an iPhone, that is.

For Apple users, you might be happy to find out that you actually have a built-in flight tracker already on your phone without having to download an app. All you have to do is open your Messages app.

According to the Cult of Mac, Mac and iOS systems have a tool called “data detectors,” which are features that recognize numbers like dates, addresses and yes, even flight numbers, and turns them into searchable links. So all you have to do is tap or click and voila: dates and times are suddenly in your iCal. Addresses are added to your contacts or opened in Maps. Tracking numbers go directly to USPS, FedEx or UPS. And simple flight numbers are easily tracked and updated, which is probably the best of all.

So, how do you get this magical tool to give you yours or your loved one’s flight details? Well, all you need to do is send (or have them send) the flight number in the Messages app.

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Then, you’ll notice that the flight number will be underlined, like a link. Tap it, or click it if you’re using the app on your Mac, and you’ll be shown two options: either copy the number or track flight.

Obviously, track flight.

Once you tap this option, your phone or computer will open your flight details. If it’s already in the air, you’ll see how far along the flight is in its journey. If not, you can see if it’s still on time. Or, knock on wood, if it’s canceled.

And it’s just as accurate as going to an airline website or downloading a flight tracker, according to Cult of Mac.

Cult of Mac also added that if this trick doesn’t work (if the flight number is written somewhere else, like in an email or in the Notes app), you can also highlight and click the number, then select “Look Up” from the pop-up menu.

Easy-peasy. Now you can delete those useless flight tracker apps and use that precious phone space for even more beautiful vacation photos.

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