How a GPS Cell Phone Tracker Works and What It Can Do

Person holding a phone with GPS displayed.

Does your child’s phone have a GPS cell phone tracker? How much do you know about how GPS cell phone tracking works and what the benefits can be for you? There are many reasons why you may want to have GPS cell phone tracking on your child’s phone, from having the ability to locate a lost phone to having the ability to locate your child in an emergency. Take a look at our guide to how GPS tracking works and how a GPS cell phone tracker can benefit you as a parent. 

What is GPS Tracking?

You may be aware that GPS stands for Global Positioning System. But what is the Global Positioning System? How does it work? 

The Global Positioning System is a radio-navigation system formed from a group of satellites and ground stations. It was initially designed for military use and is still primarily funded and controlled by the US Department of Defense, but today it has many civil uses as well as military uses, and civilian users are able to use the system without any restrictions. 

GPS trackers use the Global Navigation Satellite System network to give location information and track movements. GPS devices receive satellite and microwave signals and use calculations to determine a location and to track speed and movement. This means that you can not only find out where an object with a GPS tracker is currently, you can also find out where it’s been and how fast it’s moving, which can be useful information. 

GPS Tracking in Cell Phones

Today, most cell phones come with their own GPS tracking system. While the standard GPS that comes in an iPhone or Android phone may not be sensitive enough to give an exact address where the phone is located, it can narrow the location to within a small area. This can help emergency responders find you if you call 911 from your cell phone, and it can also help you narrow down the place where your phone can be found if you lose it. 

However, the GPS tracking system located in your phone does have some drawbacks. If you need an exact location, you may not be able to get it from using the built-in GPS cell phone tracker. What’s more, these trackers can be turned on and off. If your phone is stolen, for instance, one of the first things that the thief is likely to do is turn the GPS off so that you’re not able to see the phone’s location from another device. 

If you’re looking to keep tabs on your child or teen’s whereabouts, it’s worth noting that they also might turn off the ability to find the phone using GPS if they want to keep their movements a secret. 

There are things that you can do to prevent others from disabling your ability to track a phone through GPS. For example, on an iPhone, you can activate an option in your settings that asks for a password before the phone’s GPS tracking can be disabled. This won’t necessarily prevent a thief – or a teenager – from finding a way around this security feature, but it does make things more difficult for them. 

However, if you want to be more certain that you’ll be able to locate your phone in an emergency, installing a third-party GPS tracking app could be a better choice. Such an app gives you more control over your GPS cell phone tracker.

GPS Tracking Applications

Teenager talking on a phone while walking in a cross walk.

The paid GPS tracking apps that you can install on your cell phone can provide another layer of protection for your phone. These apps are often more sensitive than the ones that come with the phone itself and can give you an exact location. 

A discreet tracking app that doesn’t show up on the phone’s home screen can also be more difficult to disable. A thief might not know that the app is there in the first place, which means they won’t be looking for it to disable it. This can help ensure that you find your phone in the event that it is stolen or lost. 

Why GPS Tracking Apps Are Useful to Parents

There are multiple ways that a tracking app can come in handy for a parent to place on their teen’s phone. A GPS tracker app can give you peace of mind because you’ll be able to know that your teen is where they’re supposed to be, even if you can’t talk to them. For example, although your teen won’t be able to answer their phone while they’re in class, you can check the GPS tracker to confirm that they are at the school. 

Children and teens are often prone to losing things, and smartphones are expensive, so a GPS tracker can also help you protect your investment into your child’s phone. Being able to pinpoint the phone’s exact location when it’s lost means that you’re more likely to be able to recover the phone instead of having to replace it or go without it. 

And while you may not want to think about worst-case scenarios, the reality is that a GPS tracker installed on your child or teenager’s phone can help you find your child or teenager in the event that they run away, are kidnapped, or are in some other type of emergency situation.  

If your teen is driving, you probably worry about the possibility of car accidents. A GPS tracker could help you locate your teen if they’ve been in an accident and are trapped in the car and unable to call for help. 

GPS tracking can also help if you and your child are ever separated in an emergency situation, such as a severe weather event or a fire. In such situations, every minute counts, and the sooner you can reunite with your family members, the better. GPS tracking apps can enable faster reunification and help you make sure that your children are safe. 

By installing a GPS phone tracking and parental monitoring app like Webwatcher on your child’s smartphone, you’re protecting both the phone and your child. To find out more about how GPS tracking can benefit your family, get our risk free trial.