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9 Ways To Know Your Phone Is Being Tracked (And How To Protect It)

phone being tracked

Is your smartphone silently betraying you?

Every tap, every swipe, every time you input your bank credentials or share a photo, you trust your phone to be doing its job.

It's our personal assistant, our finance manager, and our educator. Yet, if you're wondering how to know if your phone is being tracked, consider this: every intimate message, every transaction, and every place you navigated to could have been silently observed by prying eyes.

By the end of this guide, you'll gain insights into detecting if your phone is under surveillance and the steps to address it.

On this page, you’ll find:

9 Signs Your Phone Is Being Tracked

1. Unusual Battery Drain

Notice your phone's battery draining faster than usual? A hacked phone often consumes more power because of the hidden processes running in the background, feeding data back to the hacker.

How to check data usage for Android

  1. Go to Settings

  2. Depending on your device type, search for either Connections → Data usage → Mobile data or Network & Internet → Mobile network

  3. Scroll down to locate App data usage

  4. Click to get information for each app

If you have an Android phone, turn on Data Saver to reduce the amount of data background apps can use.

1. Go to Go to Settings

2. Tap Network & Internet and then toggle on Data Saver.

How to check data usage for iPhone

  1. Go to Settings → Cellular or Settings → Mobile Data

  2. Scroll down to see the apps that are using cellular data.

2. You Notice Spikes in Data Usage

Notice your data consumption skyrocketing? Some tracking apps might be sending your data to external servers.

3. Location & Camera Indicators Randomly Turn On

If you notice your location icon activating without opening related apps, or if the camera light turns on without prompting, someone might be tracking you.

These can be indicators of malicious apps accessing your camera or GPS to monitor your activities.

4. Odd Background Noises

Hearing strange sounds during phone calls? It's possible that someone is tapping your calls.

5. Sluggish Performance

A sudden drop in phone performance can be attributed to many factors, tracking software being one of them.

6. Annoying Pop-Ups and Ads

Excessive ads can be a sign of adware, a type of software that tracks your browsing habits to display targeted advertisements.

7. Hot Phone Temperature

If your phone is hot without intensive usage, it could be working overtime due to tracking apps.

8. Unfamiliar Apps

Spot an app you don’t remember downloading? Investigate it and possibly delete it. If an app unnecessarily asks for extensive permissions, such as modifying files, be wary.

And while you're at it, ensure you're downloading apps only from the real source like the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Also a quick search about the developer can often reveal if the app's trustworthy or sketchy.

9. Weird Text Messages

Receiving cryptic texts can indicate a tracking app trying to communicate with your device.

gps on mobile phone

Who Would Want To Track My Phone?

You may be less shocked than you think to learn that these three major entities could be prying on your digital life.

1. Cybercriminals

What fuels their interest in your data? Money. Cybercriminals want to:

  • Deploy malware into your devices.

  • Access and misuse financial credentials.

  • Create and traffic counterfeit passports.

  • Impersonate your digital identity.

  • Use manipulative adware.

2. The Sales-Driven Snoops: Advertisers

You may have heard: brands crave your data. Ever found uncannily specific ads populating your social feeds after a casual chat about a need?

That's tracking in action, pinpointing your niche interests and local engagements.

Your personal spending habits, interests and online behavior is a goldmine of information for advertises.

It forms the bedrock of online ads. To ascertain consumer triggers, advertisers leverage extensive, sometimes intrusive, data collection methods.

3. Government Agencies

The fear of state surveillance looms large, particularly in regions with notable governmental overreach. It's never been easier to monitor and store a population's data.

While these agencies tout the importance of data for national security, transparency remains a concern. Tech giants, including Google and Facebook, frequently share user data with these bodies.

But the exact utilization of this data remains unclear.

8 Ways To Improve Your Phone Security

Here's a checklist to bolster your phone's security:

1. Adopt Tricky Passwords

Avoid simplistic passwords (forget movies, tv shows, your family names or 12345!) Craft distinctive passwords or phrases with capital letters, symbols and numbers. Also refrain from recycling passwords across multiple platforms.

2. Use Two-Factor Authentication & Biometrics

Even though you find it irritating, turn on two-factor authentication (2FA) and biometric measures like facial recognition or fingerprinting for an added layer of protection.

3. Install Updates

Developers release updates to rectify glitches and seal security gaps - make it a habit to promptly install these updates, ensuring your applications remain at their safest.

4. Implement Antivirus Software

Despite being cautious, some cyber threats might breach your defenses. Using reputable antivirus software provides a dual advantage: it scans for and eliminates any lurking threats and offers real-time defense against threats.

5. Consider a VPN

Fortify your phone or any device by installing a VPNs to encrypt your online activities, making tracking almost impossible.

While a VPN can help cloak your online activities, ensuring your software is up-to-date is equally crucial. Those updates often come with important security patches.

6. Regularly Audit Your Apps

Familiarize yourself with all the apps on your phone and regularly check for any unfamiliar ones.

7. Do A Factory Reset

When in doubt, a factory reset can cleanse your phone of any potential trackers - remember to back up your data first!

8. Avoid Connecting To Public Wi-Fi

Yes, this goes for all your favorite malls, Starbucks and McDonalds Wi-Fi - these networks can be a haven for hackers. If you have to connect to Wi-Fi, definitely don't check your banking or email apps.

3 Most Common Queries About Phone Tracking

If I disable location sharing, is my phone still trackable?

Yes. Advanced tools, like devices mimicking cell towers, can still pinpoint your phone's location using Wi-Fi or cell tower signals.

Can someone locate my phone even when it's off?

It's challenging, but not impossible. Upon turning your phone on, its last known location might be visible. Moreover, certain phones offer a low-power mode that can track your device, even when powered down.

Is my phone traceable in airplane mode?

Activating airplane mode does successfully disconnect Wi-Fi and mobile data, but GPS functions differently and can still be active. To enhance privacy, consider disabling GPS and then activating airplane mode.

I hope you found this guide useful in knowing how to detect and prevent unwanted surveillance.

Arm yourself with the knowledge to stay secure, and never underestimate the importance of digital safety.



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