Table of contents
- How to stop someone from tracking your iPhone
- How to stop your Android phone from being tracked
- How to prevent someone from tracking your phone
- How to stop someone from remotely accessing your phone
- How to prevent police from tracking your phone
- Strong security is important
How to stop someone from tracking your iPhone
Apple's iOS operating system comes with a range of built-in features that help protect your iPhone from tracking and other unwanted actions. While some apps need to track certain activities and know your location to function correctly, you should always question any requests to access additional information. Types of tracking on an iPhone include:
- Cross-website tracking
- Location tracking
- In-app activity tracking
Cross-website tracking allows companies to monitor your activity across third-party sites and applications in order to profile you. Businesses can then use the data for targeted advertising, developing marketing strategies, or to sell to another entity.
If your device is running iOS 14.5 or later, a pop-up will request permission whenever an app wants to cross-site track you. An alert displaying Allow "App" to track your activity across other companies' apps and websites will appear, giving you the option to tap Ask App Not to Track or Allow. Cross-site tracking shouldn't be necessary for an application to function correctly, and denying the request is often the safest option.
Within your iOS settings, you can see which apps have permission to track you. You can also alter any preferences if needed. Here's how you stop an application from cross-site tracking you on your iPhone:
1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Tracking
2. Switch off any apps you don't want tracking you
From here, you can also switch off Allow Apps to Request to Track to automatically deny any tracking requests. Disabling this feature means the permission prompt will no longer appear.
Safari also has a cross-site tracking prevention tool that you can access in Settings > Safari.
Location tracking is a crucial part of many apps, such as Google Maps, Find My, and Uber. However, any application or individual could abuse the feature. For example, if someone wanted to track your location, they could install a tracking app on your phone and use it to monitor your movements.
Apple's own Find My application allows you to share your location with friends and family members. Technically, an unauthorized user with physical access to your phone could configure the app to track you without your knowledge. You can use these steps to stop someone from tracking you with the Find My application:
- Launch Find My on your iOS device
- Tap People
- Select the person with whom you want to stop location sharing
- Tap Stop Sharing My Location
Within the Me menu, you also have the option to stop sharing your location completely. Tapping Turn off Share My Location will achieve this.
To see which apps are using your location, you'll need to check your iOS settings. Settings > Privacy > Location Services provides you with a list of applications that are tracking your movements with your iPhone. From here, you can alter permissions and identify any software that shouldn't have access to your location data. If a suspicious app appears in the list, you should investigate further and consider removing it from your device.
In serious situations, you may want to disable Location Services completely by switching the feature off in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
In-app activity tracking is much more difficult to avoid. While Apple can take some measures to block unwanted tracking on your phone, developers still have a lot of power within their own applications.
For example, Facebook monitors how long you spend looking at a post in your feed, with the stated intention of improving user experience. When it comes to preventing in-app activity tracking on your iPhone, the best approach is to educate yourself about what data a developer is collecting and switch off any unwanted settings within the application if possible.
How to stop your Android phone from being tracked
If you use an Android phone, cross-website, location, and in-app activity tracking are all possible. You can't, however, rely on built-in security settings as much as you can with an iOS device. When using Android, preventing someone from tracking your phone takes a little extra effort.
While Google is supposedly working on a cross-site tracking prevention tool, the feature isn't available yet, so you'll need to examine individual apps to see if they offer similar settings.
Android also utilizes location services. While many applications have good reasons to track your whereabouts, you may not want certain apps to have that information. Fortunately, you can easily view permissions and prevent location tracking on your Android phone by following these steps:
1. Go to Settings > Location
2. Tap App permissions
3. Tap the app you want to view and change the setting under Location access for this app
If any application listed doesn't have a genuine reason to know your location, you should deny it access to that information. You can also use the list to help identify any rogue apps that shouldn't be on your device in the first place.
If your location settings look good but you still think an app or individual is snooping on your phone, you may need to take measures to prevent your device from listening in on your private conversations.
How to prevent someone from tracking your phone
Using a virtual private network (VPN) is a great way to conceal your actions online and prevent anyone from tracking your activity. VPNs provide anonymity when you use the internet and even stop your service provider from monitoring your browsing habits.
Ideally, everyone should consider using a VPN at all times, as the extra protection provided is well worth the effort. Clario's comprehensive security app for Android and iOS includes a built-in VPN that you can swiftly switch on whenever you want to prevent someone from tracking your movements online. Here's how it works:
1. Install the Clario mobile app
2. Launch the application and sign in
3. Switch Browsing protection on
That's it. You can now browse the internet anonymously and prevent businesses, governments, and other entities from monitoring your movements online.
How to stop someone from remotely accessing your phone
For someone to remotely access your phone, they'd need to install spy software on your device. Apple only allows you to download applications from the App Store, which makes installing malicious software difficult.
If, however, you're an Android user, you should check your phone for spyware if you believe someone is remotely accessing your device. But the process can be a little tedious. If you'd prefer a simple solution, Clario's Spyware detector can perform a thorough scan and remove any threats.
How to prevent police from tracking your phone
In some cases, law enforcement may have a reason to track your phone, and police could seek to install spying software on your device to monitor your activity.
If you believe that someone has hacked your phone, you should immediately take steps to protect your private data and prevent further unauthorized access. If police are working with your wireless carrier to track your movements and online activity, using a VPN will help conceal your browsing habits. You can't, however, easily prevent law enforcement from learning your location based on the cell tower you're connected to.
Additionally, using a good security app to remove any spyware from your device will quickly put a stop to any unauthorized tracking.
Strong security is important
Various individuals, businesses, and entities could have reasons for wanting to track your phone. But you don't need to let them.
Once you know how to utilize iOS and Android's built-in tools, you can prevent a lot of unwanted tracking on your phone. Combine this knowledge with a solid security app, and you'll be a difficult target to track.