Can A Phone Be Tracked In Airplane Mode?

Can a phone be tracked in airplane mode? Read on to find out whether it’s possible or not. Nowadays, just about everyone carries a smartphone around with them in modern times. Smartphones have made life significantly more convenient for people and most couldn’t imagine life without them now.

However, there are also many people that are concerned about privacy due to how much data smartphones gather on users. It’s possible for companies and governments to track smartphones due to GPS data that the phone sends out. This has led many to wonder if there are ways around this tracking for when more privacy is desired.

Can a phone be tracked in airplane mode? There are a few different things that you need to understand to answer this question completely. You’ll need to look at things from the perspective of what is being done on the phone side. It’s also necessary to consider things from the side of the cellphone service provider to understand exactly what is possible.

Can A Phone Be Tracked In Airplane Mode?

On the Phone Side

When you turn the GPS off and your phone isn’t in airplane mode, your phone isn’t going to be able to tell where it is. This doesn’t mean that your phone can’t transmit data at all, though. It’s still possible that your phone could give people an estimate of your location that wouldn’t be as completely accurate as it would be if the GPS was on. This means that a phone can be tracked fairly effectively when the GPS is off, but airplane mode has not been activated.

Activating airplane mode changes things up a bit. Your phone is going to act like it is turned off when you place it in airplane mode. This means that it cannot communicate with the cellular network in any way and it isn’t going to be able to transmit your location any longer. This is true whether your phone knows where it is or not.

On the Cellular Network

Looking at things from the perspective of the cellular network is also necessary. Now, if your GPS is off, but you didn’t activate airplane mode, the cellphone network is going to see your phone as registered. It’s going to be able to triangulate your location by using nearby towers to determine where you’re at. It won’t be as accurate as it would be with the GPS turned on, but it can still be used to track an individual.

If airplane mode is turned on, then it isn’t going to be able to be seen by the cellular system. This is because the phone is essentially acting like it’s turned off when it’s in this mode. The phone won’t be able to communicate with the cellular network and functionality will be limited. Airplane mode makes a phone substantially less trackable than it would otherwise be.

Cellular networks will have a lot less information about your phone when it’s in airplane mode. Modern smartphones work a bit differently than older smartphones as far as airplane mode is concerned, too. There is a lot to consider, but using airplane mode is definitely a way to make your phone less detectable.

What About Government Tracking?

The truth is that individuals outside of government agencies and law enforcement agencies won’t be able to understand the full tracking capabilities of these institutions. It’s possible that a phone might be able to be tracked in some way even if it has engaged airplane mode.

If the phone is powered on, then there might be things that the government could do to get some location data. The answer to whether airplane mode can prevent the government or law enforcement agencies from tracking you is hard to determine.

If you’re the type of person who values privacy, then carrying a smartphone with you everywhere is not likely wise. However, it’s almost impossible to live normally without a smartphone in the modern era with how things are set up.

These smartphones do make it easier to have your location tracked and it’s unclear whether airplane mode can keep intelligence agencies from knowing where you are. You should take this information and make your own decisions while also considering that an average citizen should have nothing to fear from sending out location data.

Keep in mind that many of the theories out there about government tracking are just speculation. There are a large number of conspiracy theories about the government keeping tabs on citizens or monitoring audio from smartphones.

There isn’t any concrete information about this and most of it is just people being paranoid about the government without having any real reason to do so. If you’re concerned about government tracking and what intelligence agencies can do, then you should try to understand that their capabilities are likely just used to catch dangerous individuals and to gather information that is critical to national security.

Why Would Someone Want to Avoid Tracking?

There are many reasons why someone might want to avoid having their phone tracked. Some people are just uneasy about the idea of having everything that they do monitored.

Generally, this location data isn’t used for any negative purposes, but it’s just unsettling for some people to think about being tracked. Most people who look for information like this don’t necessarily have anything to hide, but they just value their privacy.

If you really value your privacy and you don’t like the idea of being tracked through your smartphone, then you might be out of luck. It isn’t necessarily completely possible to avoid detection when you carry a smartphone.

Putting your phone in airplane mode does seem to make a difference, but this also limits what you can do with your phone. Essentially, it isn’t going to be very practical to put your phone in airplane mode very often.

Those who dislike the idea of having their location monitored might want to try to consider living without a smartphone. As difficult as that is in the modern era, it’s still going to be possible for you to live without these conveniences. There is a trade-off between convenience and privacy that you have to make when carrying around a smartphone. It’s up to you to decide whether or not it’s worth it.

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About David

Hey there, I'm David. I recently joined the Spacehop team from Tech Devised, and love writing about all things TECH! When I'm not writing, you can find me enjoying the great outdoors with my golden retriever Lucy or enjoying a pint at my local Irish pub.

2 thoughts on “Can A Phone Be Tracked In Airplane Mode?”

  1. I engage airplane mode right before leaving the house, then disengage it as soon as I get back home (or to anywhere I need to be contactable). Why? Because I don’t like the idea of all that radiation being emitted from my phone right next to my body for hours a day. It takes all of two seconds to disengage airplane mode if I need to use my phone while out. However, despite doing this I have still found that Google Maps can tell me everywhere I’ve been; so, so much for my theory about stopping radiation. But I hope it at least reduces it…

    • Very interesting. Was Wifi still on? I believe Airplane mode leaves on Bluetooth and possibly Wifi on iPhones these days (because you can use those technologies in flight). I would guess Google Maps was picking up stray Wifi networks and using that to geolocate you…


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