A satellite locator is available for download as an application for Android and iOS phones and tablets. To use the app, launch the program, and aim the device's camera at the sky. The app consults an internal almanac and shows on-screen details for which publicly known geostationary satellites are within the field of vision. This also determines if there are any obstructions between the satellite and the device's position.

Satellite locator apps are particularly useful for setting up satellite TV systems such as Dish Network and DirecTV. Using the app, a home installer can determine the general direction in which the satellite dish needs to be pointed and avoid any possible obstructions in the line of sight. A satellite locator app can be used as a replacement for an inclinometer, which is typically used in dish installation. Locator apps are most commonly used by customers that don't have permanent dish installations or use mobile dishes.

These apps can also be used in conjunction with a satellite signal strength meter. The meter determines how precisely the dish is zeroed in on the satellite. This increases the reliability of the dish system and decreases the likelihood of losing service in inclement weather.