Can Someone Track Your Location from a Text Message? How to Detect and Prevent It
You might reveal your location from a text message. We are living in modern times when both iOS and Android devices require a cellular connection to chat via text messages, access the internet, or call anyone.
That’s something to keep in mind when communicating with your partner, family member, or any other person via text. The good news is that the extent of tracking depends on many factors, and that’s where our guide comes in!
We’ll tell you about different ways to acquire location from text messages, which should help you protect yourself better. You’ll also learn about signs that reveal someone is monitoring your current location. Keep reading to learn more about detecting and preventing this issue!
- Ways to Track Someone’s Location Via Text
- How to Identify If Someone Is Tracking Your Phone (Main Signs)
- When Can Location Tracking Be Warranted?
Ways to Track Someone’s Location Via Text
The term “text message” can refer to many things these days. If we consider you are sending it from a cell phone, the first thing that comes to mind is the SMS. It’s an abbreviation for Short Message Service, and it’s what we’ve been using ever since the first mobile phones.
However, a text message can also refer to the one you send via a messaging app. That might or might not contain multimedia, which means you can now send videos, photos, and audio to other Android and iOS devices.
Although text messages are excellent ways to talk to family members, coworkers, friends, and others, they can leave you vulnerable in terms of revealing your exact location or other sensitive data. Here’s what you should know about ways to get a location from a text!
Sharing Links with Location Information
The first thing to be careful about includes sending a link to another person via a text message. You’ll likely share a link to an app or a website that you use. Can that somehow serve someone to discover your precise location? The answer is yes, as long as the information about your whereabouts could be on that app or website.
Also, don’t forget to be careful about the links you click on when receiving text messages. The link could be malware and lead you to software that will be installed on your phone. That software could be used to acquire your location details, so it’s best to avoid installing any apps from unknown sources.
MMS stands for a multimedia messaging system. That indicates you can share photos, videos, and audio with the target phone. But is it possible that some details in your message could contain location data?
Let’s say you took a photo in the town’s square or sent an audio message to inform the other party you’ll be at a specific place in a few hours. It’s even more dangerous if there’s any indication of where you live since that’s likely to be your most frequent location. A person might recognize the place, and there won’t be any need to track your location with tech tools because they are familiar with the environment.
Facebook Messenger, Viber, and WhatsApp are only some of the most popular apps for exchanging text messages. Remember how often you sent a picture of yourself to a friend or another person, and that photo was in an environment that can help someone track your location?
Furthermore, let’s say that you allowed location sharing via social media apps. That means any text message via the chosen software can transmit details that a skillful person could use to discover the sender’s whereabouts.
There are situations when people are in danger or need help, and they dial 911. It’s possible to send an SMS to contact emergency services. If you do this, they can track the phone’s location to know your whereabouts.
However, it’s worth noting that they don’t do any text message location miracles. Instead, they work with a phone company and analyze the signal from multiple cellular towers to find the phone’s location. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an exact science. The searched distance might be up to 100 feet or more from the person’s real-time location, but even that can be helpful during emergencies.
Checking a text message from location tracker tools and obtaining information about another person’s whereabouts is also possible. These special software solutions are usually all-around monitoring tools that can be used for parental control.
Here are some examples of monitoring software with location services:
- TheSpyBubble. Just like other spy app solutions, this one requires installing the software on the target phone. It’s capable of monitoring text messages and using geolocation features to find someone’s location.
- Spyzie. This tool also belongs to the top location tracking apps. You can monitor any text message from the location tracker, use geolocation services, and keep track of other activities.
- Eyezy. As the name suggests, it’s like you’ll have an eye on someone else’s phone. Not only can you monitor any text message from the location tracker menu, but you also receive alerts if something suspicious is going on.
Parents who want to keep track of their child’s location can use the Findmykids app. It’s a specialized software solution that offers instant updates about the locations that your child visits. Findmykids can track the current whereabouts but also the location history of the target device. Extra features include receiving an emergency signal from your kid, listening to their audio environment, and only allowing calls from trusted contacts.
If you are looking for an app to track your child’s location for their safety, try Findmykids! But before installation, be sure to discuss this with your child. We do not recommend downloading any applications onto another person’s phone without their consent. This is a violation of personal boundaries.
Our psychologist gave tips on how to talk to your child correctly about this topic!
Triangulation is the most advanced method of revealing a text message location. It will require using the actual equipment and software of the phone company, so it takes advanced technical skills to pursue this option.
The process requires sending silent text messages. These are so-called Type 0 messages because your device might reject the contents, but it needs to acknowledge the receipt. That acknowledgment transmits signals to cellular towers nearby.
The perpetrator uses specialized software to analyze how long your phone signal takes to reach each tower. Triangulation requires analyzing the signal from three towers to get a more accurate location. It’s also possible to triangulate a person’s location from a phone call, but a text message is a better approach since there’s no risk of the receiver hanging up or the connectivity being poor.
How to Identify If Someone Is Tracking Your Phone (Main Signs)
Is there a way to know if someone is monitoring your phone or getting your location from a text or any other method? While a harmful tracking app might be tricky to identify, some signs that it exists are hard to miss.
Here’s a list of top things to pay attention to on your phone!
Quick Battery Discharge
Phones lose battery strength over time, and that’s normal. But if you notice that suddenly your battery is draining rapidly, that could be suspicious.
Apps that track the location of the phone owner run in the background and use GPS services on your device. That leads to your battery draining quicker than usual. So if your battery lasted for 1.5 days but suddenly can’t get through the day, perhaps someone is using text messages to track your location.
Your Phone Gets Overheated
It doesn’t take a lot of memory or effort from your device’s capacity to send a text message. But running apps like those for tracking someone’s location in the background indicates that your phone is constantly pushed to its performance limits. That leads to overheating, even when you aren’t using the device.
If there’s no reasonable explanation for why your device is overheating, it could be a sign that someone is monitoring you.
Unknown Applications (Search and Delete)
Did you find an application that you weren’t aware of on your phone? Many apps are pre-set, such as Google Maps, Safari, or Chrome browsers, but what if you discover unknown software? It could be that someone installed it as a spy tool to follow you.
You can use the search bar to browse for an app with a specific name to remove. Make sure to grab a moment or two to browse all applications and identify if you are familiar with them all.
Increased Data Consumption
Let’s say that you must use only text message functions on your phone. You might be browsing the internet occasionally and use streaming platforms rarely. That doesn’t lead to significant data usage, at least it wasn’t the case until some time ago.
You noticed that data consumption has increased without a valid reason. It could be because a spy app is wasting your data. If you suspect that, check the complete application list and erase anything you don’t find familiar.
Sudden Performance Deterioration
A messaging app won’t need much memory and shouldn’t affect phone performance. Furthermore, modern phones can juggle running multiple apps, especially in the background. For example, you could listen to a podcast on Spotify while browsing the web while virtual private network software is running on the phone.
Your device juggled all those apps without any problems until recently. However, you suddenly noticed performance deterioration. It could be a hardware issue, but we still recommend checking if there could be some hidden apps that are causing the phone performance issues.
Unusual and Peculiar Permission Requests
You might receive an unusual request in a random text message, such as to visit the website in the link and install the software. Even if it looks like it’s from a friend, avoid clicking the link in that message.
Also, beware of the permissions that text message apps want you to allow. Why would a simple app used for messaging want to make or manage phone calls or access your location? If you agree to reveal your location, that might lead to someone you don’t want to know discovering your whereabouts.
Unusual Noise During Calls
Are you noticing some unusual noise during calls? If there’s some static or another noise, it’s a sign someone is monitoring one or both of the devices used. The same is true if you are having problems hearing the other party or any other disturbances during calls.
Dial USSD Codes
For Android and iOS users, dialing USSD codes is a great way to see if someone is tapping your phone. Here are the crucial codes to dial:
- *#21#. It’s the code that shows if any diverting occurs. If it does, the information about diversion types will appear on the screen.
- *#62#. Does it seem like no one can call you or send you a text message? Use this USSD code to learn if there are any redirections applied.
- ##002#. You can use this code to disable all types of redirection immediately. If you are suspicious, it could be smart to call it. Also, this is convenient if you are going to another country, as you will avoid roaming charges for calls going to your voicemail.
- *#06#. Each device has an IMEI or the International Mobile Equipment Identifier. The number is unique for each phone and isn’t dependent on SIM cards. It’s convenient to know your IMEI in case of a phone theft.
When Can Location Tracking Be Warranted?
Some situations warrant location tracking, and there are cases when it’s legal. For example, parents can use location tracking tools like Findmykids to learn about their children’s whereabouts.
The app provides peace of mind because parents know their kid’s location at all times, and they can also access data for previous days to learn where they went. Thanks to extra features like listening to the audio environment and the kid having the option of sending an SOS signal, the Findmykids app significantly increases child safety levels!
Is Silent SMS Location Tracking Possible?
It’s not only possible, but advanced trackers use silent text messages to triangulate a phone’s location. After sending the message, they analyze the signal from multiple cell towers to narrow down the device’s whereabouts. Apart from silent SMS location tracking, phone calls can be traced, too.
How to Prevent Tracing a Text Message Location?
It’s better to be safe than sorry, so be careful when sending messages and try not to include any sensitive location information. You can also turn off the location services on your phone to prevent anyone from tracing your whereabouts by using GPS technology.
Can You Get the IP Address from a Text Message?
It’s not possible for anyone to obtain your IP address directly from an SMS text message unless you include it in the message directly. That’s because SMS uses the mobile network, and revealing an IP address would require using the TCP/IP network.
Can Someone Track Your Location from WhatsApp?
WhatsApp has a live location feature where you share your whereabouts with the intended person. While everything is encrypted and no one else should access that data, there is still a small risk someone could find a way to acquire the info. So yes, it’s technically possible to use WhatsApp for location tracking, but this option isn’t likely.
How to Track Someone Through Text Message for Free?
While some free tools exist, they aren’t very reliable in revealing the person’s current location. Phone monitoring tools are what parents use to track a kid’s location, and they use GPS technology for tracking.
The picture on the front page: McLittle Stock/Shutterstock.com
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