Have you ever lost your phone and did not know where to look for it? Or have you ever forgotten your phone in your public commute and had no idea how to get it back? Are you a worried parent of a rebellious teenager and feel the need to keep track of their location?
If you have, at least once, in your life faced a situation like this, then you will be happy to know that there is a way to get your device back or keep track of your child’s location for safety purposes. This method is called ‘Pinging a phone’.
What Does ‘Pinging A Phone’ Mean And Why Is It Needed?
To start from the basics, pinging a device means sending it a message or signal via the signal towers. This signal is then returned with the device’s exact location information. It also assists in finding out the device’s last location where it was active. You must be wondering how exactly pinging a device works. Let us explain.
The ‘pinging’ technology works with your device’s GPS location systems installed and activated in it. The GPS location systems work in collaboration with tracking software and other tools to help locate the device’s position with accuracy.
Having said that, one might think who exactly needs this technology anyway? Why would anyone want their devices or their locations to be tracked? The answer is explained below.
Why Ping A Phone?
The reason why this technology is used is to help locate lost devices. In addition to it, this technique can also be very helpful in case of tracking live locations of people with criminal records.
Other than that, parents of young kids can keep a check on their kids’ last location for safety purposes. Last but not least, pinging a device also helps find the location out of unknown callers or harassers who make prank calls.
Under normal circumstances, tracking someone else phone is illegal. However, if you have been vested exclusive rights by the person to do so, you may proceed with your acts.
Methods of Pinging a Phone
1. Location Tracking Software
The first method of finding a lost device or keeping track of someone’s location is by pinging them via location tracking software. Though there are plenty of them in the market, Google Maps is one of the best location tracking software by far. Other than this, Life 360 is also a good option. However, in case you have not enabled GPS on your device or are using a fake GPS location on it, then it would be difficult for the software to trace your phone. You can also use Google’s location history to track your device.
2. Default Phone Mechanisms
In case your device does not have GPS activated or location trackers installed, you can use the ‘Find My Device’ feature which is built in your device to locate it. For iPhone users, there is a ‘Find My iPhone’ feature built in the smartphones which the users can use to track their device.
3. Tracing the Phone Number Details
The third method is about tracing the SIM number inserted in the device rather than the device itself. Apps like truecaller help people find out the last number called, owner of the phone number and where the number is registered location wise, etc. This method will specifically help people deal with unknown number calls.
4. Using the Phone’s Carrier’s help
If all of the aforementioned options fail, use the help of the carrier of your device. Mobile phone carrier companies such as Verizon, AT&T, and T-Mobile help their customers locate their lost devices or find out the location of their loved one’s device.
They do so by a method different than pinging, which is called Triangulation. While pining is a digital process, triangulation is an analog process and works by forming triangles to the multiple signals generated by the device.
In simple words, triangulation covers more than one signal given out by the device and tries to approximate the device’s location by forming triangles and closing in on the gaps. This method is totally legal and cheaper as well.
How Can I Ping My Cell Phone Which Has Been Powered Off?
The answer to this question is- you cannot. Once your device has been switched off, it’s technically impossible to track it down since its signals stop interacting with the nearby GPS towers. Consequently, it stops giving out its location. In such a case, the only location that can be traced is the one where they were last active.
There are some exceptions though. In war zones, the signals of powered off phones can also be traced with the help of NASA’s technologies. Though the details of such operations are not known, according to a report, NASA did help in tracing locations of people in the past. Other than that, there are no methods of tracking a powered off mobile device.
How Can I Prevent My Location From Being Tracked?
After mentioning all the details about pinging a device and tracing its location, let’s get down to the fact that there are still a number of people out there who might not want to have either their device’s location traced. The query they might have in their mind is: how can I avoid being tracked? Well, the simplest answer is, you can do so in three ways.
1. Turn Off Your GPS Location
Turn off your mobile’s live location and you have successfully vanished from live tracing software’s reach.
2. Turn On The Airplane Mood
The second trick to avoid being tracked is turning on the Airplane mood. This will prevent the device from giving out signals to the closest GPS towers.
3. Turn Off Your Phone Completely
The third tip is to switch off your phone and take out its battery. In this way, no software or tracking device will be able to track its location.
4. Turn Off Location Services In Phone Settings
Go to your phone’s location settings and turn them off, whether iOS powered or Android.