The modern mobile phone is really a marvel of engineering and cutting edge technology. In addition to providing us with the convenience to call family and friends, these handheld supercomputers have built-in GPS tracking functionality which enables us to stay safe, avoid getting lost and navigate our way to whichever place we want to go.
However, when it comes to tracking, GPS isn’t the only trick that a modern smartphone has up its sleeve. Over the course of this blog, we’ll explore the different ways through which modern cellular phones can keep track of you.
A Plethora of Sensors
In addition to GPS and other communication interfaces, modern smartphones are jam-packed with a range of different sensors. These include accelerometers, gyroscopes, magnetometers, barometers, microphones, multiple cameras, light sensors, humidity sensors – we could go on forever. All these sensors are controlled and synchronized through complex algorithms. By combining the readings from all these sensors, a smartphone can not only determine where you are, but it can also predict where you are going! Furthermore, smartphones can use the readings from its sensors to analyze whether you are sitting still, walking or sitting in a car.
Google & Apple
Google and Apple, the makers of the two most popular mobile operating systems have different policies when it comes to the user’s privacy. When you use an android device, Google is constantly gathering data which includes the location of your phone. This data is constantly being beamed back to the company. Apple’s iOS logs data in a similar manner, but the data isn’t relayed back to Apple, instead, it remains in the user’s phone. So while your iPhone is traceable, Apple itself doesn’t know where you are. However, the data collected by an iPhone can be accessed by apps once they have been granted permission by the user.
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