Conspiracy theories aside, the police do track your phone. Looking at the heavy fines that the government imposes on the big tech companies, it’s hard to imagine that they’re the worst offenders.
Tracking your phone is easy, and the police don’t need your cooperation. Depending on the reason why you’re under surveillance, the police may give up if they unsuccessfully try some tricks.
While it may be difficult to totally repulse the police’s attempts to track your phone if they’re determined, you shouldn’t let them have easy access.
Here is how to prevent the police from tracking your phone by following simple privacy tips.
How to prevent the police from tracking your phone
Turning off your device location
While the location settings on your phone help the geolocation apps to know your exact location, that isn’t its only function.
On the darker side, your device’s GPS can give away your location to the police, helping them to track you using your phone.
You won’t understand how dangerous that could be until you attend a protest that was later outlawed.
Here are the steps required to turn off your device’s location settings on an Android smartphone.
- Unlock your device (if necessary) and swipe down from the top to reveal the control icons atop the notifications area. You may have to swipe down again to reveal the full list.
- Find the icon labeled ‘Location’ and tap once to turn it off.
- Alternatively, you may launch the Settings and scroll down until you see the Security & Location option. The steps required to turn off your device’s location from this juncture are pretty self-explanatory.
If you use an iPhone, here is how to turn off your device location to hide it from the police.
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone. Scroll down, and select Privacy.
- On the Privacy tab, select ‘Location Services.’ This will bring up a list of apps that have used or are currently using your device’s location.
- You may choose to turn off the location for specific apps or the entire device as a whole.
However, we recommend turning it off as a whole, as specific apps can provide your location information to the police on request, defeating the entire purpose in the first place.
And that’s how to turn off your location to prevent the police from tracking your phone. However, this isn’t the only step required to repel the police’s efforts to track your phone. Continue reading see more tips.
Protect your SIM with a PIN lock
Your SIM card holds a truckload of data about you. It is where you store most of your contacts and messages by default.
While you may not see the problem on the surface, this poses a very serious privacy risk. SIM cards are removable, and all a police officer needs to compromise the information on your SIM card is to pop it into another phone.
Here, the privacy problem becomes apparent. If you have passwords or private messages that you’d rather not share with the police, you can encrypt them using a SIM PIN.
With a PIN, if a random person inserts your SIM into another phone, they would have to enter the unique PIN to access your contacts or messages.
Here is how to protect your SIM with a PIN on Android, adding an extra layer of security to your SIM without even trying.
- Launch the Settings app on your device and select Security & Location from the available options. Depending on the make and model of your phone, this option might have a different name.
- Select ‘SIM card lock’ from the resulting options. You will get to an interface where you can activate a PIN for each of your SIMs (if you have more than one).
- You may need to enter the default SIM PIN to set it up for the first time. After the first setup, you can change the SIM PIN from this screen for increased security.
- If you forget your PIN, you can unlock your SIM using a PUK. You can always get your PUK from your network provider if you have any proof of ownership of your SIM.
If you use an iPhone, you can follow the steps below to set and use a PIN for your SIM.
- Launch the Settings app on your iPhone and select ‘Cellular.’
- From here, you can select the SIM PIN option and turn the toggle on or off to activate or deactivate it. You may have to enter your default PIN to set it up for the first time.
When locking your SIM with a PIN, note that it doesn’t activate automatically on any device. You’ll have to enter the PIN every time you restart your phone, which is not necessarily a bad thing.
If you forget or incorrectly enter your PIN a couple of times, don’t try guessing your PUK. Entering your PUK incorrectly can disable your SIM permanently, which isn’t something you would want.
Limit your social media activity
While you may set a PIN to your SIM and turn off your location, these may not be what’s giving you off to the authorities.
A good number of people that land in police trouble do so as a result of a revealing social media post that gives away information about what they’ve did and where they are.
You will never know the erring post until the deed is done. So, the best option here is to scrutinize everything you post to your social media before hitting send.
In addition, try removing the EXIF data on images before uploading them onto social media platforms. Images contain too much revealing information, and you can’t afford to release them to the police for free.
And that concludes most of the steps you should take to prevent the police from tracking you on social media.
Limiting your social media activity ensures that you don’t give away your information yourself, turning off your location settings hides you from the police, and setting up a SIM PIN ensures that you don’t compromise your privacy even when you lose your phone.
A combination of all these makes a police-proof privacy and security combo that sums up how to prevent the police from tracking your phone!