Have you ever suspected that someone might track your phone?
While iPhones allow friends and family to track users, if access is allowed, there are also a range of spy apps available for download from the App Store, some of which assume no permission has been granted.
Some apps can secretly track your location, view your conversations, access your banking information, and send copies of your messages or media to another device.
MailOnline has created a 10 point guide on recognizing the telltale signs that someone may be following your every move.
Spy apps are readily available in your phone’s application store, but how do you find out if someone is using them on you? File image
Do you see unknown applications on your phone?
Be suspicious if applications appear on your device that you have never seen before.
Search your phone’s storage to find out if there are any apps you don’t remember downloading that could be disguised as something else.
Some to watch out for are Kaspersky Safe Kids, Norton Family, Net Nanny, and Qustodio.
Does your phone need to be charged more often than usual?
If applications are running continuously, your phone’s battery will drain very quickly.
If you notice that your phone is draining faster than usual, check if recently used apps are responsible.
Having a spyware application running continuously in the background can quickly drain your phone’s battery. File image
Is your phone hot?
Similar to a rapidly draining battery, your phone’s heat is an indication that applications are continuously running in the background.
If you’re not even using your phone and it’s hot to the touch, someone could be tracking you.
Is your phone second hand or did you get it as a gift?
Jailbreaking or rooting a phone allows users to download apps that are not available in the official app store.
If your phone appears to be “jailbroken” without your permission, something may be up.
If you are suspicious of this, there are apps you can use to check: for Android phones use Root Checker and for iOS devices use Cydia.
If you buy a second-hand phone, it is recommended to reset the device to the original factory settings.
How much data does your phone use?
Spyware running in the background can also use your phone’s data. This is because the person looking at your information is using your phone’s connection to send it to them.
On an iPhone you can check your data usage via settings by clicking on the ‘Mobile data’ page.
For Android users, go to Settings > Network & Internet > Data usage.
From there it is possible to identify if one of your applications is using an unusually large amount of mobile data.
Have you tried turning off your phone?
Spyware apps can prevent your phone from shutting down so the offender can always access it.
These apps can also cause your phone to take an unusually long time to turn off.
In 2014, tech expert Edward Snowden said he thought soThe NSA could listen in on an iPhone’s microphone, even when it was turned off.
Someone can use your phone to listen to your conversations. File image
What about unexplained behavior like your phone randomly lighting up?
If your phone is doing weird things in standby mode, like lighting up or pinging without any notification, some dodgy activity may be taking place.
Have you checked your sent messages?
If your phone is sending text messages that you never wrote or sent, someone may have access to your device. This also applies to received text messages that you did not expect.
Perpetrators can use applications to send commands to the device, such as taking screenshots, sending emails or taking a photo.
Is your autocorrect working properly?
There is such a thing as keyloggers, spyware that lets someone see what you type on your phone.
If you’re typing and you notice that the autocorrect isn’t behaving properly, someone might be viewing your messages.
How do the screenshots on your phone compare to those on trusted friends?
This one is simple. If your screenshots appear to be of poor quality, such as pixelation, someone may be tracking your device.
How do you know if someone is tracking your phone? File image
How can you wipe your phone if you think someone is spying on you?
- Install antivirus software
- Backup your phone’s storage then factory reset it
- Uninstall apps you don’t recognize
- When downloading apps, make sure that the company that made them is legit
- Update your phone to the latest system update
- Delete any monthly subscriptions you don’t recognize
- Don’t allow all apps to track your location or usage – only do this for necessary applications like maps
Vodafone experts told MailOnline: ‘We always advise customers to exercise caution when opening links in emails and when browsing the web.
We recommend not using “jailbroken” devices, as this imposes any restrictions on the device imposed by the manufacturer and allows unapproved software to be installed.
In addition, we recommend that customers use the Apple or Google App Stores to obtain and install applications and regularly check their device permissions for applications.
“Installing anti-malware software for mobile devices or subscribing to a service like Vodafone’s Secure Net can also provide real-time threat protection with 24/7 ID monitoring of malicious websites and phishing attacks.”