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Cell Phone Tracker Apps Make GPS Tracking Easy

Updated on September 20, 2014

Personal tracking devices have been in the movies for years and years. I remember watching Star Trek and seeing Scotty locate the "away team" with their long range sensors just before he beamed them up. This isn't the only place that we've seen cell phone tracking in the media. I believe James Bond has used similar technology on many occasions. Let's not forget to mention all of the movies and television programs that have a genius computer tech who can punch a couple of buttons and find any one's location at will.

There are devices that actually make tracking people very easy. One of those devices is a cell phone with the use of a cell phone tracker company that provides the service of tracking cell cell phones.

Although this might seems like science fiction, it's actually real technology that we have access to right now. There are three ways that a cell phone tracker works.

  1. Triangulation
  2. GPS (Global Positioning Satellite)
  3. Wi-Fi


Triangulation To Track Cell Phones

Triangulation is a method of tracking cell phones. Specialized cell phone tracking software is used to calculate a cell phones location based upon it's proximity to cell phone towers. Triangulation requires three cell phone towers to work.

When a cell phone is turned on, it immediately begins to search for the signal from the nearest cell phone tower. When it finds the nearest tower, it begins to search for other towers that are nearby. This is so it knows which tower to hand off the signal to while you are traveling. If done correctly, this eliminates dropped calls.

The cell phone tracking software can calculate the location of the phone within about 100 meters with the data from these three cell phone towers.

In the past, this was the best accuracy that was possible when tracking cell phones. Cell phone tracking was possible but it wasn't very accurate.



GPS For Tracking Cell Phones

Most modern cell phones are equipped with GPS chips. Even most inexpensive prepaid phones come with them. There are two options to choose from in the set up menu of most cell phones.

  1. E911 only: This means that emergency services can use the signal of your GPS enabled phone to find your location within a few feet.
  2. Location on: With this option enabled, anyone with access to cell phone tracking software can use the GPS capabilities to track your phone.

GPS technology is very accurate theses days. With GPS tracking cell phones, a series of satellites are called upon to find the location of the GPS chip in the phone. At a minimum, 12 satellites are used to pin down the location. This is one of the reasons that GPS cell phone tracking is much more accurate than triangulation with cell phone towers.

Thanks to cell phone gps tracking, a phone can be tracked very accurately. There are many applications for this technology.

Tracking With Wi-Fi

Another less accurate method of tracking a cell phone is via Wi-Fi. When this method is used, the software attempts to determine if the phone is connected to a Wi-Fi router. If it is, the software then detects the IP address of the router and uses that information to determine the location of the phone.

It should be pointed out that the location provided via Wi-Fi can be several miles off which often results in very inaccurate location detection.

AccuTracking Service

There are several cell phone tracker services available to the public. AccuTracking is a major player so we'll use them as an example of how this technology works. The service has two components.

  1. The client software that must be installed on the phone.
  2. A website that provides monitoring the location of the phone.

You must have a supported phone which is basically any of the new smart phones like the iphone, Blackberry, etc. The phone must also be in a coverage area. I'm not sure if this is true for all cell phone tracker services but it is for this company.

The phone must be able to get a signal from the gps satellite system so if you are in a building, chances are that the service won't work. It's possible that it will work when you are near a window but there is no guarantee. The company website says that it will work in the trunk of some cars but again they can't guarantee it.

If for some reason, the GPS chip can't get a signal, they system will attempt to locate your phone with the nearest cell phone tower. Keep in mind that the location that the software reports in this mode may be miles away from where the phone actually is.

Photo courtesy of www.freeimages.com
Photo courtesy of www.freeimages.com

Cell Phone Tracking Software Cost

The cost to use the service varies based on the plan that you choose. The service fee from AccuTracking starts at $5.99 a month and goes up to $10.99 a month.

You also have to pay your cell phone carrier a monthly fee of about $10 per month. I guess that's not too unreasonable.

One thing that has me wondering about is what this service offers that a free cell phone tracker service doesn't offer.

Cell Phone Tracker Poll

Do you think it's ethical to use cell phone tracking technology?

See results

Cell Phone Locator Video

Here is a short video that talks about cell phone tracking and it's practical uses.

Disclaimer

Be sure and check the laws in your area pertaining to cell phone tracking before you use this technology. Make sure that you get permission before you track anyone's cell phone so that you aren't invading anyone's privacy.

This information on this page is intended to be for your entertainment only.

How you choose to use the information that is contained herein is your responsibility. If you do something that is against the law, don't come crying to me if you get caught. You should always abide by the laws and you are responsible for knowing what they are.

Cell Phone Tracker Comments

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    • Patty Hahne profile imageAUTHOR

      Patty Hahne 

      4 years ago from Oregon

      Adam, I couldn't seem to find this tracking service on Google Play. You can, however, find it on their website which is www.accutracking.com.

      If you want' to try a free app, just type "cell phone tracker" into the Google Play search bar and lots of them will show up.

    • profile image

      Adam 

      4 years ago

      Nice app with great utility but I am just wondering whether its available on Google Play or not? Also, I found a similar app which finds a misplaced phone with a whistle i.e. Whistle Phone Finder. It does not support GPS feature but help us to find our phone being hidden or placed under the pillow in our house.

      Ref: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org....

    • profile image

      Frans 

      7 years ago

      I want to start my own campany offering cellphone tracking.can you please help me with this

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