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How to Track a Vehicle with a Cell Phone

How to Track a Vehicle with a Cell Phone

Tracking a vehicle with your cell phone can be a pretty handy capability to have, and there are several reasons why you might want to do this. If you own a small business, for instance, you might want to keep track of your company vehicles that are out delivering pizzas or groceries to a customer. This can provide you with valuable information about how long it’s taking for each delivery, perhaps the speed the vehicle is being operated at, and a whole host of other useful information.

If you’re a concerned parent, you might want to keep track of what your teen-aged driver is up to, and where he/she is going for long chunks of time in the evening. All that kind of information can now be readily available to you, simply by installing a tracking device on the vehicle(s) in question. Tracking devices are often small in size and can easily be concealed somewhere in the vehicle, without the driver being aware at all. This is the perfect scenario for obtaining the kind of data you want, without alerting or alarming the driver of the vehicle in question. Below you’ll find some information about how a GPS tracking service and smartphone tracking work, so you can make optimal usage of your devices.

Dedicated GPS Tracking vs. Smartphone Tracking

Smartphones have steadily replaced one device after another in our daily usage, as they have been designed with more and more capabilities. For instance, you don’t have to bother with an alarm clock anymore, because you can set an alarm on your phone, and leave it right next to the bed at night. Many people have also discarded their digital cameras in favor of using their smartphones, now that videos and photos have reached a high-resolution quality that rivals many of the most affordable cameras.

Until very recently, if you wanted to track someone or some vehicle, it was necessary to purchase a dedicated GPS tracking device to handle the job. But this too can now be accomplished by using your smartphone, provided that you’ve downloaded a tracking app onto it. There is, of course, a small difference in the precision level between a smartphone and a GPS device, because the dedicated device is tuned into satellites that are orbiting the earth, and they can pinpoint a location within one meter. Your phone, on the other hand, uses nearby cell phone towers to accomplish its positioning, and can only be accurate to within 10 meters.

Here are some of the important differences between smartphone tracking and dedicated GPS tracking:

  • Precision – as mentioned above, dedicated GPS tracking can be much more accurate because it uses satellite positioning rather than cell phone towers
  • More robust functionality – GPS devices will have much more functionality built into them, and many of these are used in business applications, for instance, monitoring starts and stops, speed, and hours-of-operation for truck drivers
  • Moving objects difficulties – smartphone tracking is always at a disadvantage when tracking a moving target, because it may have to acquire a new signal at a different cell tower, whereas GPS devices will not be driving out of range of satellite signals
  • Signal blockage – while both GPS and smartphones can experience signal blockage, smartphones will generally have greater difficulty with blockage than satellite signals
  • Accuracy and reliability – smartphone apps simply cannot achieve the same level of accuracy and reliability in tracking and monitoring various vehicles or persons, when compared to dedicated GPS tracking systems
  • Mapping – there can be an issue with having all the Google Maps downloaded on your phone for offline use because it’s very possible you’ll run out of storage doing this. There are no such problems with a dedicated GPS tracking device since they can provide virtually unlimited mapping.

How Cell Phone Tracking Works

You will probably get a lot more out of your smartphone services if you understand how mobile tracking works on your cell phone. As an example, most cell phones are capable of doing GPS tracking, photo/video extraction, tax monitoring, and providing social media alerts. Many of these capabilities are directly attributable to mobile tracking, which works in the following way.

First of all, a GPS tracking system gets activated and that pinpoints the precise location of any device you’re interested in. GPS positioning is extremely precise because it uses multiple satellites to triangulate any given position, and then it sends that information to your receiving device. When you’re using an Android smartphone, you can activate mobile tracking by using the Android Device Manager. If you have an iPhone, you can do it by using the Find My iPhone feature located on your device.

There are also a number of third-party apps available that provide the same functionality, and these have built-in functions that go beyond simply locating your position. Software apps like these are generally known as cell phone spy apps and there is a whole slew of them available on the market. While the included features and the quality vary greatly from one brand to another, many of them include very useful features such as keylogging, retrieving calls which have been deleted, and real-time GPS tracking.

Some third-party apps are more capable than the apps that are included on your smartphones. With the most sophisticated of these, you can also track calls, text messages, social media interactions, browser history, emails, and even your phone media library. Of course, they will need to be installed on your smartphone before you can begin any monitoring, and that means you’ll have to personally own the device, or at least have permission from the owner.

Best Cell Phone Vehicle Tracker

If you’re a person who is usually interested in having the very best available product on the market, especially when you’re talking about GPS tracking, that would be a portable, battery-powered GPS tracker, that is made available by GPS Technologies. Known as the Battery Track 60 (or its smaller cousin, the Track Key), this device has the power to track all types of company assets, as well as individual deliveries that are made to distribution points and retail outlets.

This kind of battery-operated device can be as small as a car key, which means it can literally be installed anywhere in the vehicle with discretion. It provides the capability for tracking a number of important attributes such as start and stop times, precise location addresses, and the duration of all stops, as well as a great many more sophisticated mapping functions.

This product will also allow you to develop and retrieve reports on all information it has collected, so if you’re a business owner, you will have verifiable backup information. It can store history for as long as six months, and it provides speed alerts either by cell phone or via email. It includes Geo-fencing capabilities as well as landmarking, and it can provide arrival and departure alerts, so you’re always aware of when a trip is starting or ending.

It has superior GPS sensitivity due to its built-in antennas, and it’s water-resistant so that it won’t become damaged by miscellaneous moisture. To a business owner, all this can have a tremendous impact on greater productivity because it can reduce overtime and improve turnaround times. You’ll be able to manage fuel costs much better, and you’ll have proof of hours that can be billed to a client.

Your customers will be much more satisfied because you can provide them with more precise delivery times rather than ballpark figures. There will be no more unauthorized vehicle use once you have these devices installed, and your drivers will be much more accountable than they were before.

As a business owner, you will get a return on your investment and have the device paid for within the first three months of operation. After that, you can simply enjoy all the benefits just described above at a very low monthly cost.

Final Thoughts on Mobile Device Tracking

Mobile tracking can contribute a great deal to our daily lives, primarily in the area of locating a friend or loved one, and in determining your own position, so you won’t be lost. Having that kind of power at your fingertips is a wonderful thing and it can contribute greatly to your peace of mind. If you have young members of your family that you worry about, you’ll always know where they are, and how long they’ve stopped at a certain destination.

Recognizing the value of this kind of information, a great many app providers have offered products that are capable of tracking location and other functions. Many of these are worthwhile apps, but can only go so far in providing functionality because they simply aren’t designed for more sophisticated operation. To really get the most out of a tracking application, you’ll have to purchase a dedicated GPS tracking device and that will provide you with the keys to the kingdom for tracking and monitoring.