Reckon your phone is being tracked? It’s definitely possible. Millions of people use tracking software to spy on their family and friends. And let’s not forget all those pesky hackers who’re always after your juicy personal info.
All you have currently is suspicions, though. How can you tell if someone is tracking your iPhone location for sure? There are various ways. We talk about them later in this article. First, you need to know how tracking works.
Part 1: How Can your iOS Device Be Tracked?
How can someone track your iOS device? Here are the three major ways:
1. Network Carrier Level Tracking
Someone could track your device at the network level. This could be your carrier or a hacker who has managed to infiltrate the network. Network-level tracking is impossible to detect, unfortunately. All you can do is get a new carrier.
2. Tracking via GPS with Spyware
Someone could be tracking your movements via your phone’s inbuilt GPS. Many spyware apps log your phone’s latitudinal and longitudinal coordinates. These apps then send out the data to a server, which forward it to the hacker.
3. Tracking via WiFi
Your phone can also be tracked via WiFi, especially if you’re prone to using public WiFi networks. There are also hacking devices like the IMSI catcher. They can intercept all the data being sent from or received on your phone.
There are other ways to track your iPhone, like Bluetooth GPS tracking, but they’re not as reliable.
Part 2: How Do I know if someone is Tracking My iPhone?
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Now you know how the methods hackers use to trace your iPhone. But how do you know if your phone is being targeted? Here are 6 common signs to look out for:
1. Erratic Behavior from your Phone
If your phone has been infiltrated, it may begin to behave strangely. There could be constant slowdowns, for example. The phone could crash intermittently. It may light up and make strange noises even when not in use.
2. Your Battery Keeps Draining Too Quickly
Spyware apps are very resource-intensive. They constantly run in the background and require a ton of juice to operate. If your battery drains too quickly or heats up uncharacteristically, it could be a spyware app draining it dry.
3. High Data Usage
Constantly tracking and uploading your location coordinates requires data. If you notice strange spikes in data usage, a tracking app could be the cause. Check your phone bill or your device’s inbuilt data monitor for clues.
4. Strange Noises During Calls
Tracking apps are usually a part of a larger spyware suite. They are capable of not just tracking your location, but also monitoring your calls. If you hear strange noises and beeps during calls, it’s likely your phone is being monitored.
5. You Have Apps You Don’t Remember Installing
Do you have mysterious apps on your phone you don’t remember downloading? It could be a tracking app you were tricked into installing. Tracking apps often disguise themselves as harmless games or entertainment apps.
6. Presence of Strange Files
Finally, if you’re technically-minded, you could search your phone for the presence of unknown hidden files and folders. If you spot suspicious ones, chances are a tracking app has been installed on your phone.
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Part 3: Who is Tracking Your Phone?
From the symptoms above, you should be able to tell if someone is tracking your iPhone. But who could it be? Who has a vested interest in tracking you? Here are some possible suspects:
Part 4: Remove Tracking Apps and Spyware
We’ve established how someone could track your iOS device. We also gave you symptoms your device is being tracked – and who could be doing it.
Now that you know for sure if someone is tracking your iPhone, it’s time for the most important step: Getting rid of the trace!
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How do you stop someone from tracking you? There are multiple methods you could try:
1. Stop location sharing
Apple offers an option to quickly share your live location with family and friends. It’s dubbed “Share My Location” and can be found in the settings app. It comes in handy sometimes, like when you’re meeting up with friends.
However, this same feature can be used to track your current location. It’s a good idea to disable it if it’s turned on. How do you do so? Follow these simple steps:
2. Change passwords periodically
It’s smart to change passwords often. Many spyware apps have keylogger functionality. They will record all your keystrokes – including when you type in your password. With this info, the hacker could easily track your phone.
Also, many spyware apps work with your iCloud backup data as opposed to your phone. By changing your iCloud password often, you can prevent these apps from accessing your personal information, including your location.
3. Update your OS
Updating your OS can permanently disable tracking apps. When your OS is updated, the developers may patch security vulnerabilities. If the tracking app was targeting a vulnerability that’s now patched, it can’t work anymore.
Also, firmware updates cause massive changes to the OS. A tracking app that was designed to work with the old version of an OS may not be compatible with the new one. It may become unstable or stop working altogether.
4. Delete strange apps and files
Next, we recommended a thorough spring cleaning operation. Go through all the hidden files in your phone and delete the ones you don’t recognize. This is easy to do with a file managing app. Pay special attention to the Downloads folder.
Also, make sure you delete apps you don’t recognize. You might also want to delete apps you aren’t using. By getting rid of the apps and files, you are removing any tracking app or spyware installed on your phone.
5. Don’t jailbreak your iPhone
This is more of a precaution than a spyware removal method. Hackers have an easier time installing spyware on jailbroken iPhones. When you jailbreak an iPhone, you remove many of Apple’s security protections.
Also, note that there are some apps on the Cydia store that are malicious. By downloading these apps, you could be putting your phone and personal data at risk. Consider upgrading to a newer, non-jailbroken version of iOS.
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6. Last resort: Factory reset
As a last resort, you could factory reset your phone. Wiping your phone blank is the only surefire way of getting rid of any tracking apps. Factory resets also roll back jailbreaks. If your phone was jailbroken, you might need to do this anyway.
After you factory reset your phone, make sure you don’t restore the old backup. That will likely restore the tracking app. Instead, load trusted apps onto your phone individually.
To sum it up, you can tell if someone is tracking your phone if it behaves erratically and runs out of battery too fast. High data usage is another indicator.
You can prevent most tracking methods by being careful with how you use your phone. Don’t log on to public WiFi networks or share your password details. And, finally, don’t download strange apps on your iPhone.