This question has come up on several occasions due to the privacy concerns associated with GPS tracking apps. As you probably already know, it is important that anyone with a tracking application running on their mobile device be properly notified.
While there are plenty of legitimate reasons for wanting to track a friend or family member, it can be illegal in some places to install such an application without consent.
How do you know if your smartphone is being tracked without your permission?
The answer to this question is not black and white but there are some pretty reliable ways to detect unusual activity on your mobile device. Start by looking for these telltale signs:
1. Abnormal Battery Drain - Some mobile devices have better battery life than others but once you have owned your phone for a few months, you should have a good idea of how long a single charge should last based on your normal usage. Location tracking software will consume extra power by periodically sending location data back and forth from the device. If you notice that the life span of your battery is unusually low, you may want to do a little digging to find out why.
2. Data Usage - Most wireless data plan service providers offer some form of online statistics on how much data transfer is being used each month. If you log in to your account with your service provider, you can see how much information is being transferred is each billing cycle. Look for any suspicious spikes is data usage that sustain themselves over an extended period. A one day spike is probably nothing to be concerned about but if you see a sudden increase of 25% or more and it does not fit with your online browsing habits, that might be a warning sign.
3. Install a System Monitoring App - These apps are available for Android, Blackberry, and the iPhone and will give you an instant overview of every application and process running on your device, even if it is running in the background. They will allow you to end any process that is using system resources and shut it down by simply clicking the "end task" key.
Watch out for stealth tracking applications that might have a name that does not provide a proper description of what the app actually does. The best way to guard against this is to know what applications normally run on your phone. If you see anything that you did not intentionally install, stop it right away and run a Google search for the name of the program to find out what it is.
These are all good warning signs that might alert you to a problem with your cell phone (or tablet) but the best way to prevent a tracking application from being installed is to keep your device with you at all times. Always make sure that your device is within sight and be sure to password protect your user interface. Change your password at least every thirty days for extra security and be sure to avoid sharing your access information with anyone.
Locate Your Mobile Device Using GPS Technology
To some people, the idea of having your smartphone monitoring your location may seem a little intrusive at first. Once you fully understand the technology and set your concerns aside, you will quickly discover that these programs are an excellent tool to help keep track of your children or teenagers and can also be extremely useful in locating your own mobile device if it is ever lost or stolen.
For those of you who have ever gone through the ordeal of replacing all of your contact information or downloaded applications after losing your smartphone, you will immediately see the value in being able to find your device in a hurry.
A cell phone tracker application is also a valuable tool for companies and business owners who need to monitor employees to make sure they are staying on schedule or properly using company time. This can quickly add to productivity and result in an improved profitability picture by eliminating wasted time and inappropriate company vehicle or equipment use. They are available for all major mobile platforms for both phones and tablets including the iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, and Android powered devices.
How Do Cell Phone Trackers Work?
If you want to track a particular phone or mobile device (this also works for tablets), it must have GPS capability. Once you download the software and install the app, the phone sends a signal to a satellite which then records the location coordinates on a map. Now, you will need to complete a few more simple steps before you can actively monitor its location.
First, you must make sure that the device is on and has a charged battery. Next, be sure to enable the tracking program so that it can emit the proper signal necessary for the satellite to find the device. The best phone tracker apps have the ability to run in the background while your device is on so if anyone were to steal it, they wouldn't know that it was being actively tracked. As a final requirement, you must also be in an area covered by your network provider to work properly. Considering the massive coverage areas of most major service providers, this is rarely an issue unless you live in a remote area.
Additional Features to Consider
Depending on how much information you need, there are some tracking services that will also give you remote access to call logs, the ability to listen to specific calls, and read text messages. These more detailed trackers are sometimes called cell phone spy apps. There are usually monthly subscription costs or added fees involved after the first purchase or download of the app to get access to these extended services.
For more personal uses such as tracking your own trips, exercise routes, bike rides, and the like, there are several free applications that you can download from either the App Store for iPhone users or on Google Play for Android users. As with many free apps, you can usually eliminate advertising and gain access to more detailed functionality by upgrading to the paid version of the program. The choice should ultimately come down to which version best matches up with your personal needs. There are several good packages out there ranging from the most basic of services to highly detailed interfaces which can track and plot multiple devices at the same time.