Cell phones are handy tools that enable users to be a click away from performing tasks and processing transactions. Unfortunately, as the phone becomes a commonly used electronic device by people, it also becomes a hot target for cybercriminals. As technology has advanced, methods and tricks have emerged that enable someone to access or track your phone without your knowledge. Below, we discuss various aspects of phone tracking you should know including how to block your phone from being tracked.
Signs Your Phone Is Being Tracked
When hackers succeed in compromising your device, it’s not only your data privacy that’s at risk, but your personal security as well. Though these criminals are great at masking their digital footprints, there are certain ways of figuring out if your phone is being tracked.
Battery Draining; Phone Overheating
When someone installs an app to track your phone, they need to activate and run these in the background. To constantly feed data to the cloud, the apps will significantly consume the phone’s battery and resources, eventually leading to it overheating.
Odd Buzzing Sounds
Thoroughly check your phone if it’s not in use but produces a continuous buzzing noise. This often can be heard during calls in the form of a clicking or beeping noise, or static interference.
Running Activities On Its Own
Someone is possibly accessing your device if it navigates on its own. For instance, the phone reboots, triggers an app activity, or open files without you initiating. If it happens too often, it’s more serious than a hardware or operating system glitch.
Strange Data Usage
Tracking apps are programmed to feed location data to the owner’s cloud. The apps will need to use your cell phone data to upload it; never overlook a sudden spike in your data usage.
Unusual Text Messages
Some spyware and other tracking software programs exploit irregularities or flaws through text messages. Frequently receiving unusual texts with odd symbols and characters is an indicator of tracking.
Steps You Can Take to Block Phone Tracking
It could really be uncomfortable and scary knowing that your phone, and basically you, are being tracked. To put your mind at ease, here are some effective ways to block your phone from being tracked.
Turn Off Your ‘Location’
In most cases, location tracking can be stopped by disabling certain settings on your device. For iPhone devices, you can start by turning off your “Location Services” and GPS settings. Within “Location Services”, you can also alter what apps can access your location and when.
For Android phones, you simply have to turn off your phone’s “Location”. You can do this by swiping down from the top of your screen and taping the “Location” icon once to disable. Also, within the “Location” settings when enabled, you can turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning, and controls app permissions. You may also delete your location history from your Google account.
Switch to Airplane Mode
The easiest way to temporarily prevent anyone, even your network provider, from seeing your current location is by switching to Airplane mode. This feature disables your Wi-Fi, cellular service, NFC, and Bluetooth.
Opt-Out of Ads
Aside from geographical data, marketers also collect and use demographics, website behavior, or purchase history for targeted advertising. You can opt-out of personalized ad tracking anytime. Check out the consumer choice page of the Digital Advertising Alliance should you wish to know which of its partners is using customized ads on your device.
Read App Control Permissions
Whether you’re using an iPhone or an Android device, make it a habit to thoroughly check the app permissions. Sometimes, apps ask for more information than they actually need, and sell it to companies who could use it for advertising.
Look Through Your Apps
Thoroughly look through your phone applications. If there are any you don’t recognize or use anymore, delete them. Doing this may help you uncover the tracker app as they sometimes appear as normal applications.
Block Apps & Software From Unknown Sources
On Android phones, users are able to block downloads from unknown sources automatically. People can also see what apps have been downloaded from unknown sources already as well.
Update Your Phone’s Operating System
Most apps heavily rely on operating system (OS) compatibility. So, by updating your phone’s OS, it’s more likely that the installed spyware or tracking app will no longer function as effectively.
Reset Your Phone
Use this as a last resort. By performing a factory reset, you’re not only removing the installed tracking app but any other malware that may be on it. Be sure to back up your files though; offline back-up is advisable as you won’t know for sure if the perpetrators have already gained access to your cloud or online storage.
Other Phone Safety Precautions
To stop phone tracking before it even happens, observe these safety protocols.
- Don’t root or jailbreak your device.
- Enable lock screen passcode.
- Activate two-factor authentication on installed apps.
- Install security or antivirus app.
- Be meticulous with the apps you download.
- Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi.
- Avoid using public charging stations such as those at restaurants, gas stations, or airports.
Monitoring software is not always bad, it has its own benefits if not used with malice. However, like how we shouldn’t underestimate the power of electronic devices, we shouldn’t underrate the skills of cybercriminals. They will certainly go through any lengths just to exploit the information they need.
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