(ModernSurvival.org) – Not too long ago, the idea of a cellphone tracking your location was something reserved for the realm of conspiracy theories. This isn’t the case anymore. It’s common knowledge that many people walk around daily with a tracking device voluntarily stuffed in a pocket. From alphabet agencies in the government to advertisers and social media, every move you make is potentially recorded thanks to your cellphone.
This gross invasion of privacy is precisely why smartphone security is a hot issue. While it may not be possible to completely stop your phone from tracking you, there are some ways to limit your accessibility.
How Your Phone Tracks Your Every Move
Smartphone tracking comes in two varieties: passive and active. Passive monitoring uses Wi-Fi, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Bluetooth beacons to keep tabs on the general location of your phone. For some applications, this is quite useful. The GPS can help you navigate unfamiliar territory, find a nearby gas station, or even locate your phone should it become lost. Unfortunately, businesses can also get their hands on this data and use it for marketing or even sell it off.
Active tracking, on the other hand, is illegal in many countries, with the exception of law enforcement and government agencies, which can use it during investigations. This method uses 3G, 4G, or Global System for Mobile communication (GSM) to get precise location information.
How to Stop Your Phone From Tracking You
Law enforcement and government agencies will likely always be able to track your location data unless you choose to forgo owning a mobile device. There are still ways to protect yourself from spyware and mobile security threats. Here are some to consider.
Disable Location Data
The first step in keeping your data private is to disable the location data on your mobile device. By disabling location-based features, the GPS tracking system will stop functioning. One way to do this is to activate airplane mode on your device. Airplane mode shuts off the cellular components in your phone. The downside is that you cannot use the phone until you reactivate it.
If you still want to receive phone calls and instant messages, shutting off location data is one way to disable your device’s GPS tracking. Apple and Android devices both have settings to accomplish this.
- Go to ‘Settings’ on your device.
- Select the ‘Privacy’ option.
- From there, click on ‘Location Services.’
- Turn ‘Location Services’ off.
- Open the app screen.
- Select ‘Settings.’
- Click on ‘Location.’
- Select ‘Google Location Settings.’
- Turn off ‘Location History’ and ‘Location Reporting.’
You can also choose to delete your location history data on Android devices.
It’s worth noting that disabling your location tracking will affect some apps and online services that require GPS data, such as Google Maps.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
A Virtual Private Network app, such as Cyber Ghost or NordVPN, changes your Internet Protocol (IP) address, preventing your browsing and location data from being accurately obtained by third parties. Unfortunately, this method only works when your device is online, and the most reputable apps require paid subscriptions.
Turn Off Bluetooth
Bluetooth allows different devices to communicate with each other. For example, wireless headphones use Bluetooth to connect with a paired device. When Bluetooth is enabled but not in use, it’s constantly searching for a new connection. If your device pairs with someone else’s, it could give them the option to track your movement. To avoid this, disable Bluetooth on your device whenever you aren’t using it.
Putting these tips into practice can help make it harder for a third party to track your device, but it’s impossible to stop it altogether. Even if the phone is shut off, a mobile operator, some apps, and law enforcement agencies can still track it using the device’s International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). Removing the battery from the cellphone (or not owning one) is the only way to ensure complete privacy.
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