How mobile phone tracking works

Localization may be effected by a number of technologies, such as using multilateration of radio signals between several cell towers of the network and the phone, or simply using GPS. To locate a mobile phone using multilateration of radio signals, it must emit at least the roaming signal to contact the next nearby antenna tower, but the process does not require an active call. Mobile positioning may include location-based services that disclose the actual coordinates of a mobile phone, which is a technology used by telecommunication companies to approximate the location of a mobile phone, and thereby also its user.

The location of a mobile phone can be determined using the service provider's network infrastructure. The advantage of network-based techniques, from a service provider's point of view, is that they can be implemented non-intrusively without affecting handsets. Network-based techniques were developed many years prior to the widespread availability of GPS on handsets. The technology of locating is based on measuring power levels and antenna patterns and uses the concept that a powered mobile phone always communicates wirelessly with one of the closest base stations , so knowledge of the location of the base station implies the cell phone is nearby.

Advanced systems determine the sector in which the mobile phone is located and roughly estimate also the distance to the base station. Further approximation can be done by interpolating signals between adjacent antenna towers. Qualified services may achieve a precision of down to 50 meters in urban areas where mobile traffic and density of antenna towers base stations is sufficiently high [4].

Rural and desolate areas may see miles between base stations and therefore determine locations less precisely. GSM localization uses multilateration to determine the location of GSM mobile phones, or dedicated trackers, usually with the intent to locate the user.

How to Tracking Any Phone Number Location 2019 Free Easy Guide

The accuracy of network-based techniques varies, with cell identification as the least accurate due to differential signals transposing between towers, otherwise known as "bouncing signals" and triangulation as moderately accurate, and newer "advanced forward link trilateration " timing methods as the most accurate. The accuracy of network-based techniques is both dependent on the concentration of cell base stations, with urban environments achieving the highest possible accuracy because of the higher number of cell towers , and the implementation of the most current timing methods.

One of the key challenges of network-based techniques is the requirement to work closely with the service provider, as it entails the installation of hardware and software within the operator's infrastructure.

Tracking With Third-Party Android Apps

Frequently the compulsion associated with a legislative framework, such as Enhanced , is required before a service provider will deploy a solution. The location of a mobile phone can be determined using client software installed on the handset. In addition, if the handset is also equipped with GPS then significantly more precise location information can be then sent from the handset to the carrier. Another approach is to use a fingerprinting-based technique, [6] [7] [8] where the "signature" of the home and neighboring cells signal strengths at different points in the area of interest is recorded by war-driving and matched in real-time to determine the handset location.

This is usually performed independent from the carrier. The key disadvantage of handset-based techniques, from service provider's point of view, is the necessity of installing software on the handset.

It requires the active cooperation of the mobile subscriber as well as software that must be able to handle the different operating systems of the handsets. Google Maps. One proposed work-around is the installation of embedded hardware or software on the handset by the manufacturers, e. This avenue has not made significant headway, due to the difficulty of convincing different manufacturers to cooperate on a common mechanism and to address the cost issue. Another difficulty would be to address the issue of foreign handsets that are roaming in the network.

The type of information obtained via the SIM can differ from that which is available from the handset. For example, it may not be possible to obtain any raw measurements from the handset directly, yet still obtain measurements via the SIM. Crowdsourced Wi-Fi data can also be used to identify a handset's location. Hybrid positioning systems use a combination of network-based and handset-based technologies for location determination. Both types of data are thus used by the telephone to make the location more accurate i.

Alternatively tracking with both systems can also occur by having the phone attain its GPS-location directly from the satellites , and then having the information sent via the network to the person that is trying to locate the telephone. In order to route calls to a phone, the cell towers listen for a signal sent from the phone and negotiate which tower is best able to communicate with the phone. As the phone changes location, the antenna towers monitor the signal, and the phone is "roamed" to an adjacent tower as appropriate.

By comparing the relative signal strength from multiple antenna towers, a general location of a phone can be roughly determined. Other means make use of the antenna pattern, which supports angular determination and phase discrimination. Newer phones may also allow the tracking of the phone even when turned on and not active in a telephone call. This results from the roaming procedures that perform hand-over of the phone from one base station to another.

A phone's location can be shared with friends and family, posted to a public web site, recorded locally, or shared with other users of a smartphone app. The inclusion of GPS receivers on smartphones has made geographical apps nearly ubiquitous on these devices. Specific applications include:. In January , the location of her iPhone as determined by her sister helped Boston police find kidnapping victim Olivia Ambrose. Locating or positioning touches upon delicate privacy issues, since it enables someone to check where a person is without the person's consent.

In Malte Spitz held a TED talk [16] on the issue of mobile phone privacy in which he showcased his own stored data that he received from Deutsche Telekom after suing the company. He described the data, which consists of 35, lines of data collected during the span of Germany 's data retention at the time, saying, "This is six months of my life [ Spitz concluded that technology consumers are the key to challenging privacy norms in today's society who "have to fight for self determination in the digital age.

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Chinese government has proposed using this technology to track commuting patterns of Beijing city residents. In Europe most countries have a constitutional guarantee on the secrecy of correspondence , and location data obtained from mobile phone networks is usually given the same protection as the communication itself.

As you can see, the Tail it mobile tracker APP is not just another mobile tracker, but it also connects to a lot of devices. In this way you can expand your location awareness to not just include your friends and family, but also your kids, parents, your pets, keys or even your car. We in tail it Technologies have made a GPS tracker for every need. The bigger the GPS tracker is, the longer the battery.

Can police and hackers really track you with your phone? | Digital Trends

Never worry about the things you care the most about, when you can Tail it! All communication protocols between server of our mobile location tracker app, and our GPS trackers are encrypted. This means that your data within the application is safe. This means that we do not store your location data or share any of your personal information. The app is built with privacy by design and privacy by default. Meaning that we will delete all your personal data if you stop using the APP.


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You can find it available on iOS and Android. There are many things to look for in a mobile tracker app. These types of applications are usually popular among families. For groups of friends however, location might not be that important.

Tail it mobile tracker

The ability to send messages would come in handy, and you might use the check in function on popular hangout spots. You might be going to a party with your friends, but you have no idea where it is. You friend simply shares the location with you, and you can see where the party is at by just checking your app. Some mobile location tracker applications also comes with the possibility of monitoring driving.

So if you have older children that has recently gotten their driving license or something similar, this feature might be useful to you. This feature helps you monitor how fast they were going, how many times they break too hard, and of course if there has been an accident. It can also show you what route that the car took. Deciding what mobile tracker application to use can be confusing. Luckily today, most of these applications are free to use, including the Tail it app.

We urge you to download and try it, and make your own decision about what you want to use.