Smartphones eliminate the need to carry a separate calculator, camera, flashlight, compass, newspaper, GPS, cell phone and so much more. However, they also pose potential privacy risks. A smartphone holds everything from financial information, personal data, location data, contact details and so much more. This sensitive information can turn your life upside down if leaked to fraudsters. Discover how to make your phone almost impossible to track and seal it off from privacy predators.
How to make your iPhone or Android phone untraceable
Both Android and iPhones offer similar features to manage your privacy settings. Here are a few ways to make your phone almost impossible to track:
Disable Location Services
Every smartphone comes with an in-built global positioning system, or GPS, to access any location-based services. This comes in handy when ordering a pizza or searching for a nearby ATM. But the tech may also be a privacy risk as these apps track your location in real time. If you’ve wondered how to try and keep your cell phone from being tracked, turning off Location Services is the easiest way to make your phone almost untraceable.
Here’s how to turn off Location Services:
- Go to your iPhone’s Settings.
- Proceed to the Privacy section in the Settings menu.
- Next, go to Location Services.
- You will see a toggle against Location Services. Turn it off to disable Location Services for every app on your device.
Android smartphones may have a different User Interface (UI) depending on the manufacturer. The steps to turn off device location, however, are broadly similar for all Android phones.
- Go to your Android smartphone’s Settings.
- Proceed to the Location section in the Settings menu.
- Turn off the Location toggle to disable your smartphone’s location.
Control location permission on your apps
Many useful apps—including Google Maps, Uber and Seamless—need location service to function correctly. Other apps, not so much—unless you’re playing a geolocation game like Pokemon Go, why allow companies to collect this data? You can disable the location privileges to individual apps that do not need it for normal functioning. Both Android and iPhone provide options to partially or wholly restrict apps from using the location services.
Here’s how to make your phone almost untrackable by limiting location privileges to specific apps:
- Go to the Settings section on your iPhone.
- Proceed to the Privacy menu.
- Go to the Location Services menu.
- The Location Services section contains the list of all apps that use your device’s locations.
The list also shows the type of location permission associated with each of these apps. iPhone gives you the option to toggle between options like “Never,” “Ask Next Time,” “While Using the App” or “Always.” As a general rule, you can use the ‘While Using the App’ option for most apps on your smartphone.
- Go to the Settings menu.
- Proceed to the Location section under the Settings menu.
- You should see an option similar to “App Access to Location,” which shows the list of apps and their location privileges.
Android gives you the option to toggle through options like “Allow only while using the app”, “Ask every time,” “Don’t allow” and “Allow all the time.” Again, enabling the “Allow only while using the app” is the best option for most.
Use a private browser
Popular browsers such as Google Chrome and Safari use extensive tracking to follow you around the web. While Chrome and Safari also provide incognito modes for safer browsing, it does nothing more than delete your history after the browsing session.
Web browsers can also track your location using IP address data. If you constantly wonder how you can stop someone from tracking your phone, some promising privacy-centric alternatives to pre-installed browsers like Safari and Google Chrome provide great functionality, such as Brave and DuckDuckGo, which include built-in ad and tracker blocking to prevent company advertisers from stalking you.
Use Airplane Mode
Despite your phone’s location being off, it is still possible to track someone using mobile numbers and their cellular network data. Your smartphone is constantly connected to a cell tower, and that information could be used to triangulate your location. Turning on Airplane Mode cuts you from the cellular network and adds another wall to your smartphone’s privacy.
Here’s how to turn on Airplane Mode to make your phone nearly impossible to track:
- Swipe down from the top right corner of the display to access the Control Center.
- Tap on the airplane icon to turn on Airplane Mode.
- Open the Settings menu on your iPhone.
- Airplane Mode is the first option in the Settings Menu.
- Tap the Airplane Mode toggle to turn it on.
- Go to the Settings menu on your Android smartphone.
- Proceed to the Wi-Fi and Network option.
- Tap the Airplane Mode toggle to turn it on.
Check your phone for spyware
Hackers design spyware to hide it in your phone’s user interface so it can do its job discreetly. Some spyware can even access your iCloud account and monitor every activity on your smartphone. Some clues that you may have spyware:
- Your phone’s battery is draining quickly without heavy usage.
- Your phone overheats while doing simple tasks.
- You receive unusual messages with gibberish text in them.
- You have the Cydia app on your iPhone but you do not remember installing it.
The spyware scanner from Avast provides a quick and easy way to check for any smartphone spyware. Other than the scan, you can try to avoid spyware by not downloading apps—especially paid ones being offered for free—from unknown or shady websites and by installing regular updates and security patches.
Turn off your phone
As extreme as it may sound, turning off your smartphone and leaving it at home is the only perfect measure to ensure that no one tracks you.
Here’s how you can turn off your smartphone and make it impossible to track:
- Hold the volume and power buttons for about three seconds, then swipe the slider to turn off your iPhone.
- Hold the power key for about three seconds and select the Power Off option from the menu.
While it’s not a perfect solution, these methods on how to make your phone nearly impossible to track can help secure your privacy. You can choose what best suits your situation to prevent yourself from falling prey to big corporations or hackers tracking your moves.