A recent study has shown that smartphones may be able to track your location even when the GPS is turned off. Other sensors in the device can help reveal a person’s location.
GPS (Global Positioning System) is a satellite-based navigation system that can be used to track the location of a device. On a smartphone, it can be used with navigation apps, helping you find shops, restaurants etc. around you, or it can suggest better ads and search results depending on your location.
About The Research
A team of researchers from Northeastern University in Boston, US has recently found a way to track people with smartphones that have their GPS turned off. The tests were conducted in Boston, Waltham, Massachusetts, and London.
Android smartphones were used, but researches say that the hack applies to iPhones as well because they have the same set of components.
Any App Can be Used
Pretty much any app can be used, the researchers used a simple app like “Flashlight” to locate where the test subject was. This simply shows that an app, which has nothing to do with tracking or location services, can be used to trace someone.
How Can Phones Track us Without GPS?
Smartphones have a lot of other sensors that can collect location data. These sensors include a magnetometer which basically works as a compass, an accelerometer that tells you how fast you’re moving and a Gyroscope which can tell the orientation of your device.
The chances of getting traced are higher if the person holding the device chooses a route with a lot of turns as compared to someone who chooses a straight path. Plus, if you take the same route every day you are easier to trace.