Does GPS cell phone tracking really work


Every day, people write to me, asking to help recover or track their lost or stolen cell phones after reading my blog. They usually give me a phone number, or their IMEI number and email. Well I usually do not reply to these types of inquiries as it serves no purpose.

So does GPS mobile tracking really works or is it just a joke?

Well mobile tracing is not a joke, but the answer to above question is both yes and no.

You can track a mobile device only:

  • Your handset is GPS enabled, that is, your handset has built-in GPS chip.
  • You have installed some kind of mobile tracking software and activated before your mobile device get lost or stolen, and is not being removed after.
  • Your handset is on, that is, it’s not being turned off by someone. This is very important as the thieves usually turn it off after getting the mobile device.
  • Your handset can access the internet at the time, this usually means a data plan as WiFi connection is not reliable when your mobile device get stolen.

So of course you can always locate your mobile device and someone wrote to me saying that they used the location software introduced in my blog and they worked. But if you do not meet the above-said requirements and the answer is no, you can not recover your handset, there is actually a story out there that a man called happy waffle get his iPhone back using Find My iPhone.

However you can turn to your service provider and they can get the approximate location based on repeater triangulation. Mobile phone sends out signal from time to time to the towers, so your service provider can use this feature to determine the location of your handset with a precision of 150 meters, but if someone changed the SIM card, your carrier could do nothing except that they can still block that mobile, and they usually decline any such request as well.

Update, there is another story that a US soldier dropped his iPhone from an airplane traveling at an altitude of 1000 feet. Later when he was on the ground, he and his friend used Find My iPhone to track the location of his iOS device and finally got it back in working condition.


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Posted by Alex Zaah |Date: 10-03-06 |Category: Others |Tags: , ,

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