How to detect if your smartphone is being tracked, monitored or spied on
Any phone can be tracked – even yours! You may think that this topic does not apply to you, but ask the following question of people who have discovered that they were being monitored: “Did you think this could ever happen?” Most of them never suspected that they could be spied on. Do not make the same mistake. Learn how to detect if you and your cell phone are being tracked or monitored. We have collected methods to detect tracking, as well as methods to stop tracking if you find that someone is spying on you.
Who is at risk?
There are no statistics describing how many people have been tracked, but based on our experience, we know that spying is much more common than many people think. Even if you’re not a businessman or politician, you are at risk.
Usually people from the following categories are at risk:
Your employer can monitor your smartphone to learn what you did during working hours. Your parents can track you to make sure you’re safe. Your spouse can spy on you to see if you’re doing anything indecent. These are just examples; in reality, there can be more reasons, and more people who want to track your smartphone.
Sometimes devices are monitored by people whom you do not even know and whom you have never met. Scammers are one example. They want to steal your credit card and payment data, spy on your documents, and so on.
You need to know how to detect whether your phone is being spied on, and what you can do if it is. We have compiled 6 methods to check if your iOS or Android smartphone is being spied on.
1. Look at how your mobile phone behaves
Do not expect a clear list of what happens to a phone when it is being monitored. However, the most important sign is that your phone behaves differently.
Do you notice any changes in your device’s behavior? For example, your phone might:
- Make random signals;
- Turn on the screen randomly;
- Shut down even when the battery is charged;
- Show strange icons in the bar.
Your device might do other things, too; these were just examples. Keep an eye out for any strange things your phone might be doing.
2. Battery life
If you use a battery-consuming application, such as a GPS tracker, your phone works two or three times as hard as when it is in standby mode. Spying activities also “eat” battery life. If your battery runs out quickly for no reason, someone might be tracking your phone.
Note that, after a while, all devices become less efficient in terms of their battery use. This is normal. Modern batteries have a limited capacity; after a couple months of usage, their capacity declines.
Here we’re talking about abnormal battery rundown. Do not just trust your feelings; download an application that evaluates your battery use. For Android and iOS, you can find apps to determine which applications or activities are consuming the charge. Be aware of any of the following:
- Your GPS is always switched on, even if you switched it off previously;
- Your phone is sending and receiving information without your involvement;
- Your phone is using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi networks even when you’re not touching the phone.
These are signals that someone might be tracking your phone. However, do not panic, as there might be other reasons for these issues. For example, some legal applications that you installed yourself use GPS, Wi-Fi and other features. Even the official Facebook app does this. Therefore, your next step should be to determine why these things are happening.
3. Increased data usage
If someone is monitoring you, your data usage might increase. When information is collected, it must be sent to the person who is spying, usually through the Internet.
Smart spy apps do not use mobile data; they send information only when your device is connected to Wi-Fi. However, you can detect spying in both cases.
Some modern smartphones have pre-installed tools to see data usage. If your phone does not have this feature, use the App Store or Google Play to find the appropriate tool. Install software to monitor yourself, and look at how your phone is using its Internet connection.
4. Jailbreak and rooting
Jailbreaking and rooting – both are the same process for getting full control of a device. Jailbreaking is done for iOS devices, which means all iPhones. Rooting is a term related to Android phones, such as Samsung, LG, Sony and other brands.
To install a spy app on an iPhone, in most cases one must jailbreak the device. Therefore, if you discover that your phone is jailbroken, and you did not do it yourself, the chance is high that someone is tracking your device. To check, you can use apps like Cydia or Icy.
For Android phones, the situation is more complicated, as some apps can spy without rooting. To check if your device has been rooted, see whether there are any strange changes.
5. Advanced checking
What we have written so far are the simplest steps one can take. However, if you are not afraid of technology, you can use several professional methods of verification.
Your first step is to check the files. You can use any application for this except for pre-installed ones. It is better to connect your phone to your Windows or MacOS computer, and look at all the directories.
Look for strange files. These files may have recently been created or updated. Do not expect that the file will be called “spy-app”, but you may notice some strange things in the name.
Your second step is to check on whether your operating system is the same as the official version. Only professional programmers can complete this step. To compare the systems, you need the official software development kit (SDK).
We have found that most people who did not discover spy software using the first four steps also will not find it using advanced checking. However, you may want to be 100% sure that your device is not being monitored. If so, advanced checking is the way to go. Just do not forget that some tracking methods do not require any special applications and do not cause visible changes.
6. Check invisible changes
The last step on our list is to check for invisible changes. These can be made by pre-installed or standard applications. For example, did you know that you can be monitored with Google Maps?
Check the application’s settings. Somebody else could have switched on the ability to share information.
Moreover, make sure your iCloud or Google account is well-secured. It is better to change your password once per month, or at least when you believe that someone is spying on you.
For example, a person with access to your Google account may see your browser history if you use Google Chrome. A person with your iCloud account may see where you are right now via Find My iPhone.
What to do if you are being tracked
Do not panic. Learning that your smartphone is being monitored is a good thing. Now you can continue the game with your own rules.
Firstly, try to delete the spy app or change the settings of the pre-installed application. This may not work, especially with spy apps, as some of them are well-protected from uninstallation.
Next, try to revert to the factory settings. Almost all modern cell phones maintain this ability. Find this feature in the settings and give new life to your device.
After you have solved the problem, check everything again. Do not get caught off guard, as sometimes problems return. Monitor your own activities to make sure the spy app does not come back. Maybe you are visiting websites with viruses, or maybe your employer has secretly installed it. To prevent the next installation, you must learn how it was installed before.
Is my mobile phone being monitored?
We hope that after reading our advice about how to detect if a phone is being tracked, you have learned that everything is well. However, stay on guard. Even if you are a “regular” person, many people want to spy on you. An example is scammers who want to steal your bank card information.
We highly recommend that you repeat these steps regularly. Moreover, we recommend that you install an antivirus and set a password to lock your phone. This will prevent problems.