How does location tracking work on cell phones

A cell phone’s position was only traceable using triangulation techniques available to law enforcement and other governmental agencies before GPS began to be incorporated into the majority of mobile devices sold on the market. Currently,   location tracking apps work by accessing GPS and providing users with feedback in an app or software. To understand how tracking works for mobile phones, it is necessary to examine each major model and the options available for tracking the desired device.

What is GPS?

GPS (Global Positioning System) is the US satellite navigation system that provides three-dimensional location data to receivers on Earth through a network of 24 satellites. In the past, the satellites were originally deployed for military purposes by the United States Department of Defense (DoD). After allowing civilians to use GPS in the 1980s, the US government previously lifted restrictions on civilian GPS accuracy. In today’s world, GPS is readily available and works regardless of the weather. It’s important to note that GPS services don’t require any setup fees or subscription fees.

Read: How Does a GPS Work and Which Industries Benefit From It

How does GPS track a cell phone?

Today’s cell phones have GPS receivers built into them. The receiver works similarly to commercial-grade GPS receivers in that it measures the distance to a satellite-based on the difference between the times it transmits and receives a GPP signal from the satellite. It is possible to calculate the position of two satellites if they are visible to the phone, and a position is more accurate if the phone can see a greater number of satellites. Therefore, if a phone has location services activated, the device will calculate its position in almost real-time or real-time, depending on the device.

A cell phone’s location at any time of day is almost always known, so half of the task of tracking a cell phone is completed. In GPS tracking applications, this location will be communicated to a remote software application. Depending on the phone model, this task is accomplished via transmission over WiFi, SMS texts, or a traditional wireless connection. GPS-enabled phones are thus able to be tracked if they are on.

Read: Can Call Tracking Be a Marketing Tool for Companies Using a Virtual Phone System

Tracking applications for cell phones

Tracking a cell phone can be accomplished in several ways, depending on the model of the phone. There are a variety of smartphones on the market today, including the iPhone, Android, and Windows phones, which can all perform this function.

How to track an iPhone

Due to the popularity of the iPhone, it has become increasingly common for consumers to lose their devices. A lost iPhone can be tracked if the owner has an Apple ID, and location tracking is enabled on their device through any Internet Browser. When an Apple ID is associated with an iDevice, this feature is enabled by default.


  • Use one of your alternative Apple devices to access the “Find My iPhone” app. Users can install the app directly through the Apple App Store or from the Apple iCloud website.
  • Users will need their Apple ID and password to access the app. You must have an Apple ID and password to access this service.
  • Run the “Find My iPhone” app.
  • You can see all of the devices associated with an Apple ID by selecting the “Devices” menu button.
  • You’ll need to select an iPhone or other Apple device that’s been missing.
  • After doing so, you’ll be able to see where the missing iPhone is located. The map will show the last known location of the iPhone if the device has been turned off or when the battery has been discharged.

Read: Keep your Android Phone Safe and Secure

How to track an Android cell phone

Android also supports tracking cell phones using GPS technology, much like the iPhone. The Android Device Manager allows you to track Android phones with Google accounts attached.


  • Any computer connected to the Internet can launch a Web browser and log into a Google account.
  • A map displaying the location of the Android Phone will appear when you open the Android Device Manager.
  • You’ll see the phone’s location last time it was located and other relevant information in the upper left of the screen.

How to track a Windows phone

Using the web interface displayed on the Windows Phone website, you can track a Windows phone associated with a Microsoft Account, as you can with other major cell phone providers.


  • Using a computer connected to the Internet, go to the Windows Phone website and sign in with your Microsoft account.
  • On the following screen, tap “Find My Phone.”.
  • The location of the Windows Phone will be displayed on the map.

How to track a cell phone with third-party apps

The use of a third-party application is another option for tracking a cell phone. The installed GPS technology on the targeted phone works similarly to major service provider applications.

One of the most popular commercial applications on the market today for parents is MobileSpy, which enables them to track GPS-enabled smartphones and other cell phone-related activities by the target phone user. You can install this software on any Android phone or iPhone, and it has advanced capabilities, including monitoring Skype and SMS text conversations and recording the user’s surroundings. Even deploying the MobileSpy app on a child’s phone could be deemed illegal in many locales, so users must know local rules and laws before purchasing and deploying the program.

Read: IP addresses: can you change your location


So, there you have a brief overview of how a cell phone tracker app works. Therefore, it would be best to use MobileSpy when it is time to monitor a smartphone. Monitoring detailed data coming from the target device is made possible by its advanced tracking features. In addition, the software supports both Android and iOS devices.


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