6 Signs Someone Might Be Monitoring Your Phone

The phone is Being Tracked

Saying that we’re addicted to our phones is an understatement. On average, people spend about 3 hours and 55 minutes on their phones every day, and it's not just for leisure or entertainment. 

From paying our bills to all work and personal communication, everything happens on our phones, which unfortunately also makes them prime targets for unsavory or malicious individuals and entities. 

They may attempt to track your phone to learn more about you and your activities and use this information against you.

Signs That Your Phone is Being Tracked

Before discussing the signs of your phone being tracked, let's distinguish between targeted tracking of an individual's phone and the general tracking done by apps and websites for marketing reasons.

While both may be considered unethical, the former may legally be considered a crime, while the latter may fall under unethical business practices. 

The consequences of these two different types of tracking may also be different for your personal and financial safety. 

For this article, we will focus on the former type of tracking. With that in mind, a few signs that your phone is being tracked might be:

1. Unusual Heating

Phones, like most electronic devices, can heat up with constant and resource-intensive use, like gaming. 

However, if there is no apparent reason for your phone to consume its hardware resources rapidly (and extensively) enough to heat up, and you can still feel its surface temperature rising, it may be a dangerous sign. 

This is especially true if it heats up at an unusual time, like when you’re talking to someone, and it's in your pocket. 

This may be an indication that your phone is using its resources, like batteries and sensors, to record, track, send, or receive data without your knowledge. 

2. Data and Battery Consumption

You should also keep an eye on the “resources” available to your phone, primarily its data and battery. 

Almost all smartphones steadily drain your battery even when idle, because several functions are running in the background. 

The rate of battery consumption when the phone is idle increases once the battery gets old. But in some cases, your phone may consume an unusually high amount of battery charge when it's idle, which may indicate hidden activity, such as tracking.

The same is true for data consumption. Your phone consumes data (from WiFi or your cellular service) when it sends or receives any data, including updates that may run in the background.

But all these data-intensive activities are traceable. So, if your phone is consuming data without any apparent reason, it may be a sign that your phone is being tracked. 

3. Random Messages

On any given day, you could receive anywhere from a few to several dozen messages from unknown sources. 

Most of them are harmless marketing messages, but if you receive any messages with unknown codes, gibberish text, links, permissions requests, or anything suspicious, be wary. 

It could be a sign that your phone is being tracked, and possibly even controlled. 

4. Unknown Apps

Any app that appears on your phone without you or your device's software installing it, or without you explicitly granting permission for it, should be considered potentially suspicious.

A good practice is to keep track of what apps you have on your phone and “prune” away any unknown apps as soon as you become aware of them. 

5. Unusual App Behavior

A legitimate app behaving in an unusual way may also be a dangerous sign. This may be difficult to detect if the aberration is too subtle. 

However, one good thing that comes from spending so much time on a phone is that you can develop instincts about something not being the way it should be on your phone. Don't ignore those instincts. 

6. Inability to Switch it Off

This sign is easy to miss because we rarely shut down our phones nowadays, but if you want to physically turn it off and you are unable to do so, it's a dangerous sign. 

What Should You Do if You Notice These Signs?

In many cases, a simple pruning of your phone for anything unknown or dangerous, switching it off, and changing your passwords may be enough to get rid of more surface-level tracking.

But if these signs persist or you are unable to shut off your phone, you might want to consult a professional or even authorities. 

Some good cybersecurity habits, like not opening any suspicious links or using Surfshark VPN when browsing, can prevent your phone from becoming a tracking target in the first place.

Conclusion

Most of the above-mentioned signs are easy enough to identify, and if you know about them, you will know what to look for. 

Good safety practices can prevent you from being tracked or help you get rid of any trackers your phone may have.