It has never been easier to track a phone than it is nowadays. Anyone could easily gain access to your location if you have your phone on you – and we all do. Now, we don’t want to get into whether that’s good or not, because quite frankly, it’s a bit of both. Nothing’s black and white, and neither is this.
However, people still don’t know enough about phone tracking. As a matter of fact, most people still think of phone tracking as spying, which is essentially the last thing these apps are made for. So, today, we want to clear up some things and teach you all you need to know about smartphone tracking. Let’s begin!
Is It Legal?
Let’s start with the basics – is this legal? The answer to this question isn’t quite straightforward because it both is and it isn’t. Most apps that provide these services are completely legal and can be found on Play Store and AppStore. So, as far as that goes – phone tracking is perfectly legal. You won’t have to jailbreak or root your phone to use these apps.
As a matter of fact – you don’t even need these apps. Both Android and iOS users have phone tracking features built right into their phones. Find My Device is present in both ecosystems, it takes only a couple of minutes to set up and is incredibly easy to use.
However, where it gets tricky is when we talk about tracking other people, like your children or a spouse. In that case, you either need consent, or you need to be the legal owner of the device you’re trying to locate. Without it, you could get into legal trouble if you try and ping the phone’s location.
Can You Track A Phone With Just A Phone Number?
This is one of the most commonly asked questions about phone tracing, and the answer is – not quite. You can, but the person on the other side would have to allow you to do it. Most of the apps that trace devices through numbers work in the same way. You open up the app or visit the website, you enter the number of a phone you wish to trace, and then the company or the app sends a link to that particular phone number, and if the person on the receiving end clicks on it – you can see their location.
Without permission – you wouldn’t be able to do this. Which, if you think about it, is kind of good, considering how many weird people walk among us. Now, it’s inconvenient that you can’t rely on this if someone’s harassing you via messages or phone calls. Or, even in the event if someone steals your phone and you want to call and trace them in order to find out their whereabouts. But, it is what it is.
Can You Track A Phone When It’s Turned Off?
We’ve all seen the scenes in TV shows where a fugitive on the run turns off or destroys their phone so no one can trace them, and if you’re anything like us, you’ve probably always wondered – does that even work? Is turning off the phone enough to make it untraceable? Also, if someone steals and shuts down your phone – can you locate it?
Well, the answer to the first two questions is – affirmative. Turning off the phone does work, and it is enough to make the phone untraceable. However, that means that the answer to the third question is no. It is not possible for you to locate your stolen phone if it’s stolen. Even the powerful tracking websites like find-my-phone.org state on their home page that their services are useless if the phone’s turned off.
Is Connection To The Internet Required For Tracing?
This is another very common question, and once again – the answer is neither here nor there.
Essentially, if you just want to access the approximate location of a smartphone, then no, you don’t need an internet connection. This kind of tracing is done by accessing the phone’s last known location by its last recorded connection to the nearest cell tower. So, you won’t be able to ping the exact street and house number, but you’ll have a rough idea of where the device might be.
And, of course, if the device is connected to the internet, you’ll be able to access the precise location via GPS. Some apps will also allow you to live-trace the device, although this is not that common of a feature.
Can You Track A Phone With Location Turned Off?
Once again, we have a simple question and not so simple answer. Generally speaking, having your GPS location turned on is required for precise tracing and locating, but as we’ve seen from the previous example – there is a way to kind of get past that by using the cell towers.
Can You Track A Phone On Airplane Mode?
Airplane mode is a great way to get some peace and quiet and get away from the world. It is essentially the same as turning off your phone, with the exception of the display working in Airplane mode.
Airplane mode severs all your connections, including cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. And, if we’ve learned anything by now, this means that the precise tracing and locating is not possible if the connections are severed – which is the case with Airplane mode. So, to answer your question, no, you can’t track a smartphone while it’s in Airplane mode.
You could, once again, access its last known location by pinging the cell tower, but as we’ve said, that will only give you an approximate location, not a precise one.
Final Thoughts – Is Tracking A Phone Even Worth It?
One might argue that tracking is completely useless and pointless, seeing how you can easily make your phone untraceable by turning it off or turning on the Airplane mode. But, hear us out. Who uses a phone that way? What is the purpose of a shut-down device?
Phone tracing and tacking are very useful, and yes – it is absolutely worth it. Just keep your phone on, and you’ll see.