How To Track A Cell Phone Location Without Them Knowing

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How To Track A Cell Phone Location Without Them Knowing

There are many legitimate reasons for wanting to know how to track a phone without them knowing. Maybe you have children you need to monitor or employees suspected of stealing.

Knowing how to track a cell phone location without them knowing could be critical for keeping kids safe and out of bad situations. Seeing their whereabouts with a GPS phone tracker and being able to locate them can provide great peace of mind.

In this article you'll learn how to track someones cell phone without them knowing.

How To Track A Cell Phone Location Without Them Knowing?

Of all of the ways to track someones phone without them knowing, spy apps are most reliable and provide more information about activity on the phone than any other option.

If you can access the target device for 10 minutes, you can download a phone tracker app without permission.

uMobix

uMobix logo

uMobix is my top choice because it's what I use to track my son's iPhone without him knowing.

uMobix has capabilities that far exceed any other spy app, with the exception of our next choice on this list.

The uMobix app provides access to more social media apps than any other software on the market, including Tinder, Facebook, Reddit, Instagram, WhatsApp, Skype, TikTok, Telegram, Snapchat, and Zoom, just to name a few.

The full feature list will be included in my upcoming uMobix review, but the short version is that it gives you full control over the target device. Not only for tracking and surveillance but also for changing device settings such as restricting what apps can open or disabling Wi-Fi.

It even has a spy app detection feature to alert you to other tracking apps that are already installed on the phone. At first glance, this seems like a hilarious feature for a spy app to have. But, if you are spying on your child for their safety, it would be a huge concern if you found that someone else was already tracking them.

Live tech support by phone is available, which can be a lifesaver when installing the app in a limited amount of time.

No complaints aside from intercepted data only remaining available for 30 days. But, this limit is higher on multi-month plans so I'm only taking away a half star for it.

Recommended Spy App
Ease of Use:
Features:
Privacy:
Price:
Pros
  • GPS tracking
  • Remote camera activation
  • Can stream live video
  • Remote microphone activation
  • Access to all social media apps
Cons
  • Data retention limited to 30 days on basic plan

FlexiSPY

FlexiSpy logo

The FlexiSPY spy app is not as user-friendly as other phone trackers apps, but it uses the most comprehensive security technology currently available. It too remains totally hidden from the user and has a long list of capabilities, with these being some of the highlights:

  • Map-based device tracking
  • Call Logs
  • Monitor Social Media Content, including Facebook
  • Search History
  • Keylogger
  • Compatible with all versions of Android and iOS

To me, the most alluring abilities of FlexiSPY are related to taking control over the hardware on your phone. Once this app is on the phone, it gives the spy full root control and allows them to silently activate the front and rear cameras or turn on the microphone and listen as the target device spies for you.

Read that last sentence again. It's worth having a slightly less modern interface to have safe and reliable ways of looking at more information.

Ease of Use:
Features:
Privacy:
Price:
Pros
  • Extremely powerful
  • Live camera streaming
  • Pre-loaded phones available
  • GPS tracking
  • Microphone access
  • Call recording
Cons
  • Older interface
  • Expensive

EyeZy

eyeZy

EyeZy is one of the newest and most powerful ways to track someone's iPhone without their knowledge. Exploiting iCloud syncing gives access to the person's current GPS location, contacts, e-mail, photos, and videos. Even more information is available when tracking Android smartphones using Wi-Fi sync.

If it is possible to get physical access to the phone, eyeZy offers a wide range of advanced capabilities including:

  • Keystroke Capture
  • Website Browsing History
  • Alerts for specific conversations
  • Call logs

Perhaps most impressive is that you can spy on Facebook, Tinder, Snapchat, Skype, WhatsApp, KiK, and Instagram text messages to see what the person does online.

Ease of Use:
Features:
Privacy:
Price:
Pros
  • Easy online dashboard
  • Totally hidden
  • Fast installation
  • GPS tracking
  • Access to all social media apps
  • Great tech support
Cons
  • Not quite as powerful as mSpy

mSpy

mSpy logo

Although not as user-friendly as the first option, the mSpy app has a lot of features that are unavailable with other tracking apps. Perhaps most importantly, the mSpy app is totally hidden from the user and anyone using the device will never know it is there.

There is a long list of available spy capabilities but these are just the highlights:

  • Call Logs
  • All Text Messages
  • Monitor Social Media Content, including Facebook
  • Search History
  • Keylogger
  • Compatible with all versions of Android and iOS

Deleted text messages in the target cell phone can be recovered with this app and it can also block calls.

mSpy is best for tech-savvy users that require the greatest access to the device.

Ease of Use:
Features:
Privacy:
Price:
Pros
  • Online dashboard
  • Proven track record
  • Totally hidden
  • Easy installation
  • Location monitoring
  • Great tech support
Cons
  • Not as user-friendly as eyeZy

XNSPY

XNSPY logo

Xnspy is another professional cell phone monitoring app that helps you keep an eye on your kids and keep them safe. Additionally, it provides accurate monitoring at high refresh rates.

You can receive alerts if the phone is outside an allowed perimeter or if it is near off-limits places like an ex-girlfriend's house, bar, or bad part of town. If all you need is location tracking and geofencing XNSPY can be a good choice, though it lacks the power of the other tracking apps we have mentioned above.

Alternative Methods To Track A Cell Phone's Location Without Them Knowing

Android Device Manager

Android Device Manager

Few Android users have explored their settings deeply enough to find that Android Device Manager is pre-installed, but this service is always active by default. The great thing is that you can use it for tracking where Android devices have been with accuracy to within 60 feet. Conveniently, you don't need to download any app on the target device.

This control panel can be used from any computer, or any other device, by following these steps:

  • Visit Find My Device
  • Enter the number and Google Account information
  • See where they are going or ring, lock, or remotely erase the device

One problematic step is getting the password. Figuring out how you will get the password may be harder then just borrowing someone's phone and loading a monitoring application.

Google Timeline

Google Timeline

Although it still requires that you know their password, Google Timeline is another interesting option.

To use this method, the step-by-step instructions are:

  • Step 1: Open Google Maps
  • Step 2: Log in with the user's Account
  • Step 3: Click on “Menu”
  • Step 4: Select “Your Timeline”

Your screen should now show a timeline with the physical movements of the Android user. Alternatively, you can click on Menu -> Your Places -> Visited to view location history overlayed on Google Maps.

You can find out the current location by following the instructions above. Interestingly, you can view the data remotely at any time and the user of the target device will not be aware of being tracked.

Directly Accessing iCloud

iCloud control panel

Most people don't know that you can connect to iCloud accounts directly to track mobile devices. This method is not as easy to perform and data is more difficult to locate than simply using an app for tracking your children. But, with no free options for iOS available now, this is a method of last resort.

This method can access the following:

  • Current Location
  • Contacts
  • iCloud Drive
  • E-Mail
  • Erase Target Cell Phone
  • Photos

Track an iPhone Without the Target Phone

Find My iPhone is a built-in app that allows owners to track down their phone if it gets misplaced or stolen. While it doesn't have advanced abilities like seeing files, it is still a good solution if you can work with just having basic location information about the person.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it illegal to track a cell phone location without their knowledge?

The legality of using an app to track a cell phone depends on your location, the location of the person you track, who owns the target device, the target's age and relationship to you, and the consent of the user.

In most locations, tracking your child is perfectly legal. In many places, tracking a cell phone you own is legal even if the user does not know about it. It is generally illegal to install a tracker on someone else's phone without them knowing.

Because the legal situation can vary so much, I strongly consulting a lawyer before attempting to track someone's location.

Can I track my spouse's phone without them knowing?

In some cases, it may be tempting to track a spouse you suspect of cheating. Maybe your husband always comes home from work late, or your wife is dressing a little too nice for her girl's night out.

From a technical perspective, you can absolutely track your husband without him knowing. But, this is not something I would encourage or recommend doing due to the penalties and risks involved.

Do I need to jailbreak or root the phone to install a tracker?

If you intend to track anything more than the phone's location, you may need to jailbreak or root the target phone depending on the features you require. If you do not require advanced features, this step should not be necessary.

If you have the user's iCloud or Google credentials, you do not need to do this to track someone's location.

How to prevent a phone from being tracked

Always lock your screen when you're not using it

Installing a app while your cell phone is unattended is the best way to track your phone without you knowing. This is why, when you put your cell phone down, you should lock the screen. If someone gains access to your cell phone and notices that it is locked, they will not be able to attempt to install a app to find your cell phone location.

Use secure iCloud credentials

Apple iCloud logo

Hackers are focusing their efforts on the iCloud database, which stores all of your personal information. To protect your information and keep your password private, it's critical to use a secure password.

Turn off your phone's Bluetooth when it's not in use

You can also disable Bluetooth if you're concerned about being secretly tracked.

Run a good anti-spyware scanner

Spyware is notoriously difficult to spot. Because some spyware apps only turn on location tracking intermittently, it's critical to scan for spyware on a regular basis. Antivirus and antispyware software can protect you from being tracked.

How to know if someone is tracking you

Using a good malware scanner and looking for changes to the way the phone operates is the best way to tell if someone is tracking you without you knowing. Look for obvious signs, such as the camera turning on at odd times or things happening on your mobile phone that you did not select.

Watch for bugs on your cell phone

Some apps record everything you do on your cell phone and then upload it to the Internet. Some trackers also include spyware that records you using your smartphone's camera. If you suspect you're being tracked, pay attention to any strange behavior or bugs you may notice. If your phone used to work fine but now locks up, runs slowly, or crashes, it could be a sign that someone is tracking you. If this happens, make sure to change all of your passwords and reset to factory default settings.

Unusually high data usage

Any cell phone tracking software will have to send the information it collects to the person watching you. Unusually high data usage indicates that someone may have installed software and is tracking where you are and what you're doing.

Notice abnormally short battery life

If the battery is draining at an unusually fast rate, spyware may be to blame. Some spyware keeps the GPS, camera, and microphone active, which quickly drains your battery. Suddenly shorter smartphone battery life is a strong indicator that spyware has been installed maliciously.

Outgoing calls or texts you didn't send

The same spyware that is used to track you can be used to make calls and send texts, so unrecognized outgoing call or text should be considered suspicious.

Unusual activity on any social media accounts

The majority of spy apps give a hacker access to all of your installed apps. If there is anything unusual on any of your social media accounts, someone could get your account information and find your location without your knowledge.

Who would be likely to track your phone?

It is fairly common these days for a suspicious spouse or girlfriend to download a app to find their partner's cell phone location. If you're in a relationship with a more jealous person, or are having an affair yourself, there is a good chance that a tracking app was installed by them.

Parents will also download apps on their kids' phones to keep track of them, make sure they are OK, and monitor what they are doing.

If the phone in question belongs to your employer then it is also possible that your employer is monitoring you on the job.

Although these are the most likely people that would want to track you without you knowing, there is always the possibility that your phone was breached through a malicious app or game that you installed yourself.

Conclusion

There are numerous methods for tracking someone's phone without them knowing, but using software is by far the simplest. They include a slew of features in addition to the ability to remotely track a cell phone surreptitiously.

GPS location tracking, Internet browsing history, and even call recording have become commonplace. These apps have grown in popularity over the years due to their ability to empower users to take control of their lives and monitor their loved ones without restriction.

Author Katya Seryabkina
About The Author
Katya Seryabkina
Ukrainian born, and a self-taught geek. I started hacking when I was 14 and can write code in 5 languages, but have no formal technical education. The edge of technology is what keeps me interested. I cover cell phone tracking, spy apps, cybersecurity, the dark web, and certain gadgets for The High Tech Society.