Over the years, Android has taken significant measures to limit the access that apps have to your phone’s location services. You will rarely find any apps that require location permission if it isn’t necessary for their functioning. You can also decide when the app is allowed to access your location. With so many different privacy options onboard, one would think that it must be impossible for apps to gain access to your location without your knowledge. Well, that may not be true. Certain apps can find a way to track your phone even when location services are turned off. Let’s take a quick look at how this happens.
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Is it possible my phone is being tracked even when the location services are turned off?
While apps rely on your phone’s location services to determine where you are at any given time, it isn’t the only way that you can be tracked. You may be aware of how your live location can be triangulated with the help of cell towers by using your phone’s IMEI number. Certain spyware can be manipulated to record your phone’s location every time it establishes contact with a nearby cell tower. This may not yield accurate results but it can still give a general idea of your location to any malicious entities.
Malware apps are notorious for tracking your device’s location inconspicuously. These apps have access to your phone’s location services and can gather data from them even when the interface shows they are ‘turned off’. It is recommended that you do not download any apps from unverified sources as that can increase the risk of malware infecting your device. You should also run frequent malware checks on your phone to ensure there aren’t any malicious apps running in the background.
According to Princeton University researches, it is theoretically possible for an app to determine your phone’s location by using its internal sensors and correlating the data with the time zone you’re in. This technique is called ‘PinMe’. This process is extremely hard to detect since it doesn’t require location services and the actual data collected is minimal. To avoid the risk of being tracked without your consent, make sure that your phone’s sensors are turned off when they aren’t in use.
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Some people may argue that as long as you have a smartphone on you, it is always possible to be tracked. Under ordinary circumstances, your privacy is relatively secure if you turn off the location access for all apps on the system. While you can still be tracked using your IMEI number, it is not something that a layman has the tools to do. But in the case of a malware infection, your privacy is put at a massive risk. Read this article to know how you can remove malware from Android and iOS smartphones.
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