How to Prevent Cell Phones From Being Tracked

by Shawn Farner

Location technology in cell phones could be helpful when looking for the nearest gas station, but it can also enable others to retrieve information about your whereabouts, legally or illegally. One method of location tracking involves the use of wireless signals to triangulate your position between cell towers. Another method uses the GPS radio on your phone to pinpoint your location. A third method uses the Wi-Fi hot spot to which you're connected to approximate your current position. If you suspect you're being tracked using your cell phone, disabling any of these features can help prevent tracking.

Step 1

Turn off the cellular and Wi-Fi radios on your phone. The easiest way to accomplish this task is to turn on the "Airplane Mode" feature. This shuts down both your cell radios as well as the Wi-Fi radio installed inside your phone so that neither of them can connect to their respective networks.

Step 2

Disable your GPS radio. Some phones have this as a stand-alone setting, while others bundle it into menus like Privacy or Location Settings. Turning off location-based features on your phone can prevent your GPS from being activated, which in turn keeps it from providing your phone's location. On some phones, activating "Airplane Mode" will also disable the GPS. Check your phone's user manual for exact instructions.

Step 3

Shut the phone down completely and remove the battery. This is the easiest way to ensure that you can't be tracked via your cell phone, but it comes at the price of not being able to use your phone at all. If you need access to any data on your phone, back it up to a PC before you power down your device.

Warning

  • If you believe that someone is maliciously or illegally tracking your cell phone, contact the authorities and report your suspicions.

About the Author

Shawn Farner is a graduate of Indiana University of Pennsylvania, receiving his Bachelor of Arts in English in 2008. His writing has appeared on CrunchGear.com, SlashGear.com and gizHQ.com. He currently resides in Harrisburg, Pa.