How to Track a Phone – Explaining the Methods
As most of the mobile community are using smartphones nowadays, there is now many ways and method to track a phone using existing technology and infrastructure. Below are the three most common ways of tracking a phone.
1. Track phone using GPS
With almost all smartphones are embedded with GPS, this method is now the most common method in locating and tracking a smartphone with GPS. However you can also actually turn off your smartphone GPS. The GPS stands for Global Positioning System. The GPS is a “constellation” of 24 well-spaced satellites that orbit the Earth and make it possible for people with ground receivers to pinpoint their geographic location. The location accuracy is anywhere from 100 to 10 meters for most equipment. Accuracy can be pinpointed to within one (1) meter with special military-approved equipment. GPS equipment has now become sufficiently low-cost that now almost all smartphones has GPS receiver already embedded in the hardware.
2. Track phone using cell tower triangulation
Another common way is tracking your phone using IMEI. IMEI stands for International Mobile Equipment Identity. You cannot simply use the IMEI to track your phone using any app in the market but this proves useful for the cell phone network operator. This is because the IMEI stands as unique identifier for your phone. Therefore, the cell phone network operator can pinpoint your cell phone by identifying which of its cell tower manage to detect your phone or your IMEI in their cell tower network. By using triangulation tower method, it will know which nearest tower your mobile is communicating through its signal strength and therefore can pinpoint the location. The triangulation method is basically a method of determining the cell phones location by measuring the angles to it from identified known points or a fixed baseline. By referencing the speed of radio signals, the distance and location from the unknown point can be estimated by identifying three to four known points. The known points can be where the antennas for the cell phone operator is mounted. The first known point identifies the distance to the cell phone. The second known point then narrows down the location to two points. The third known point is then used to identify the exact location of the cell phone. Basically the concept is narrowing the exact location of the cell phone by eliminating the large area of a certain location to pinpoint location by using three filters or three known points. Two direction lines define a point area and the third line defines the exact location.
3. Track phone using internet
Gadgets and devices are now heavily interconnected with the internet than ever before. The need for this gadget to be readily connected to the internet has also allow some of this apps to have an auto-refresh function. Some of the apps that use auto-refresh function is the Gmail apps. If you have installed the Gmail app in your phone, this app will normally auto-refresh for several minutes as to check any incoming email. Therefore, if you linked your smartphones with the Gmail app, it is possible for you to track down your phone if it got stolen or lost. This is because when the smartphones are being accessed through the internet, you can track your phone using the internet through readily available apps such as Gmail app. The Gmail app will automatically detect the IP address and therefore you can use that information and roughly estimate where your devices are located.