2023, October 16
·
Security
·
7 min read
·
Matt S.

Can You Make Your Phone Untraceable?

Generally, untraceable phones do not exist. All mobile phones carry some traceability due to their very design and the nature of wireless communication.

In the earliest days of telecommunication, Alexander Graham Bell's telephone invention in 1876 revolutionized the way humans connected. Early telephones, rather remarkably different from what we have today, were paired together, allowing communication between two fixed points. As these devices developed and morphed over time, the technology became more sophisticated, and with it, new risks emerged.
There are countless stories from the 20th century involving wiretaps, where secret surveillance was conducted via standalone telephone lines. The infamous Watergate scandal in the 70s highlighted rampant wiretapping, spurring discussions about privacy rights and freedoms.
Fast forward to the 21st century, the landscape of telecommunication underwent seismic shifts with the advent of mobile phones. They have become powerful computers that we carry around in our pockets, which grants us incredible convenience at the cost of privacy. The development of technology has led to an increase in digital footprints, thanks to GPS, Wi-Fi spots, applications, and even the devices themselves. Every interaction with our phones gives out a plethora of signals, making these devices traceable. That's why it has become critically important for us to understand measures to make our phones untraceable in the age where privacy is a pressing concern.

What Is Phone Tracing?

The smart gadget in your pocket - your smartphone - is a treasure of data, waiting to be discovered. Phone tracing or tracking is the collection and processing of this information by various entities, ranging from device manufacturers and application developers to advertising firms and, in some instances, special agents.
Every smartphone tracks its user to some extent. With features like GPS, Wi-Fi, and mobile data, smartphones can grant access to your real-time location. Some apps may require access to your camera, microphone, or contact list, depending on their functions. All this information, your preferences, interactions, locations, and even web searches, are meticulously compiled to create comprehensive profiles about you.
Advertisers are especially keen on this data, using it for targeted advertising, tailored to the individual's personal likes and dislikes. Furthermore, manufacturers and developers often use the collected data to enhance features and develop new ones that meet the consumer's needs. While these aspects of data collection can yield convenience and personalization, the associated privacy concerns cannot be underestimated.
For example, almost every app on the Apple App Store tracks something from your personal details.
Futhermore, phone tracing can have more insidious implications. Cybercriminals or hackers can use these tracking technologies for illicit purposes, like identity theft, blackmail, or even personal harassment. Confidential data stored on a phone - photographs, emails, financial details, and more - can fall into the wrong hands with dire consequences. Also, surveillance by government authorities is another top-tier concern that has been brought to light by whistleblowers in the past decade. Although this may be intended for security reasons, it can potentially infringe upon individual privacy rights.
The act of phone tracing, though inherently neutral, is quite a double-edged sword, offering benefits of convenience and personalization but also opening the door for serious privacy concerns. If not adequately checked and controlled, it can lead to a substantial infringement of personal privacy and security. Hence the importance of learning ways to make your phone untraceable and armoring your digital life cannot be stressed enough.

6 Tips for Making Your Phone Untraceable

1. Turn Your Device Off:
The most effective method to make your phone untraceable is by turning it off completely. This action effectively disconnects you from the network, essentially leaving no breadcrumbs for your device to be tracked. It's a relatively extreme method, and it does mean you won't be reachable, but it is effective.
2. Turn on Airplane Mode:
If turning off your phone entirely isn't an option, activating Airplane Mode can be a suitable alternative. This feature, standard on nearly all mobile devices, pauses the phone's ability to communicate with cellular, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth networks. While in this mode, your phone is essentially invisible to these networks.
3. Disable GPS Location Data:
Global Positioning System (GPS) is one of the most precise ways your device can be tracked, given that it provides your exact geolocation coordinates. You can disable the GPS on your smartphone to make your phone less traceable, but be aware that this will limit certain features and functions, for example, mapping or ride-sharing apps.
4. Avoid Public Wi-Fi:
Public Wi-Fi hotspots can often be exploited by hackers and other nefarious agents to track your device. They can even illicitly infiltrate your device to steal your personal data. Hence, it's recommended to use your cellular data or trusted private Wi-Fi networks whenever possible.
5. Get a VPN app:
Virtual Private Network (VPN) applications are indispensable tools for any privacy seeker. By encrypting the data that flows to and from your phone, VPNs not only keep your information secure but also mask your online activity and physical location from ISPs, making your phone less traceable. In some cases, even messaging apps like Skyda has a built-in VPN inside the app, so you don't need to get additional software (Learn more).
6. Use a Faraday Cage:
Another method is using a Faraday Cage, a special enclosure invented by scientist Michael Faraday as early as 1836. A modern-day Faraday bag, specially made for smartphones, will block electromagnetic fields from entering (or exiting) your device, making it untraceable. While it renders your phone virtually unusable when inside, it's an effective way of preserving your privacy when needed. You can find these in security shops or online, or even make one. There's even a "do it yourself" or DIY guide on WikiHow (Click here).
An illustration of a Faraday Cage for mobile devices.

Conclusion

It is pretty obvious that the smartphone tracing or tracking is a valid concern for most users. With these devices acting as an open journal to our daily lives, security, and privacy become paramount. The myriad of ways smartphones can be traced – from GPS location data, public Wi-Fi vulnerabilities, cell tower connections, application data collection, to more manipulative tactics like stingray tracking or stalkerware – is alarming.
However, it's critical to note the fundamental truth that untraceable phones, by the strictest definition, do not inherently exist.
All mobile phones carry some degree of traceability due to their very design and the nature of wireless communication. The goal, then, is not to create an 'untraceable' phone, but rather to take steps that can drastically minimize the ease with which your device can be tracked.
The tips listed above offer proactive measures that every smartphone user can apply. From the basics of completely turning your device off or activating airplane mode, through disabling GPS location services and evading public Wi-Fi, to more advanced measures like employing a VPN application or utilizing a Faraday Cage, you have a robust toolkit at your disposal.
These precautions don't just offer a one-time fix. Instead, they nurture an attitude of awareness and vigilance that can help protect from any potential privacy breaches. It's crucial to remember that our phones, as convenient as they are, can also be gateways to our personal lives.
Staying informed about privacy issues and using tools to safeguard our data should be part and parcel of our daily routines. Nobody wants their personal information misused or their lives secretly monitored. Making your phone untraceable isn't an expert-only feat; it's about making the correct privacy choices regularly and being informed about how your technology works. By taking these steps, you place your privacy and security firmly in your own trusted hands.
More blog posts
How To Check If Your Phone Is eSIM Compatible?
Learn if your mobile phone is eSIM compatible. From iOS to Android, Skyda eSIM walks you through easy steps to ensure your device is compatible.
2024, January 12
·
eSIM
·
3 min read
·
Matt S.
Web Filtering: A Comprehensive Guide
Explore the essential aspects of web filtering, including its types, benefits, drawbacks, and how to choose the right web filtering solution for your needs.
2024, January 08
·
Security
·
6 min read
·
Matt S.
© 2024 Dragon Secure GmbH. All Rights Reserved · [email protected]