Why disabling your phone’s GPS won’t prevent it from revealing your location

gps-logo2Most people assume that turning off a mobile phone’s GPS feature will prevent others from being able to track their location via their phone, but it really doesn’t.

Your cellular provider also tracks your location using a method called triangulation, and it works even if your phone isn’t a smart phone.

In a nutshell, they log which cell towers are currently within range of your phone, then they plug that data into a special algorithm that “triangulates” your approximate location based upon the signals your phone is transmitting to the closest towers. 

Of course if you happen to be in a remote area where there’s no cellular signal available at all, your location cannot be tracked by triangulation.

However, most places that are anywhere near a city, town or major highway will have at least some cellular service, and it doesn’t take much of a signal for your cellular company to be able to triangulate your location.

And now I’m going to dispel another myth about cell phones…

The police aren’t the only folks who can legally get your location data from your cellular provider. In fact, if your phone is turned on, virtually anyone can use a service such as Location Smart to find out where you are at this very moment.

Bottom line: Simply disabling your phone’s GPS feature will not hide your current location. If you truly want to prevent others from tracking your whereabouts, you’ll have to either leave your phone at home or keep it powered off.

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