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How can I prevent my parents from tracking my device? I have a Samsung Galaxy. I have heard that I can turn off my data, GPS locator, or the phone itself but I would like to be able to keep my phone with me and on at all times and have normal functionality. Is there a way I can route the tracker to a specific location when I want so that I could just tell them I am at that location even when I'm not? I'm 17 and I'm getting sick of getting a phone call every time I leave a friend's house. I am willing to root my device and install any kernel or ROM; whatever it takes.

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    How are they tracking your phone? Did they install anything? – geffchang Aug 10 '13 at 8:17
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    To be honest, this sounds like a social rather than a technical problem. You should try to solve it by talking with your parents: going behind their back will just make them trust you even less than they seem to now. – Dan Hulme Aug 10 '13 at 9:09
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    Get a job, buy a new phone, move out of your place. Meanwhile, they pay for your nice Galaxy, they feed you, they give you a room, they make the rules... Sorry – Claudio Jan 8 '14 at 2:32
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    GPS spoofing app...there are a bunch on the Play Store and other places...just search. BTW, over bearing parents is part of growing up. When you get older you'll be glad they cared so much. – HasH_BrowN Dec 14 '14 at 6:51
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if you believe that your parents are tracking you with your android.do this

1:backup your favorite apps.

2:factory reset the phone.

3:encrypt your phone.(this way nobody else can access your phone)

4:for extra protection you may add pin so that you can lock down parents from accesing your settings.

5:if you are going a step further you can lock down your phone in kiosk mode with the help of any custom launchers or anything like that.

but i think you should probably talk with your parents.

  • -1 from me - sorry, this is just hiding the real issues between OP and parents, hence I refused to discuss how/what/where to do so as that is exacerbating the problem! – t0mm13b Aug 10 '13 at 18:13
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    i'm sorry :-( i thought he would figure this out any how – Ashildr Aug 10 '13 at 19:37
  • no worries at all :) – t0mm13b Aug 10 '13 at 19:38
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Dan already pointed out that this is more a social problem. Talk with your parents, express how you feel about this. The feeling of being constantly monitored is sure not very pleasant.

That said, the only way to make it hard for someone to monitor the location with the help of your Android phone is by ensuring that you have a clean initial setup and a locked down system in terms of screen lock and debugging disabled. This comes down to that if your phone was never compromised before and you prevent all unauthorized access to the phone, it's hard to install surveillance software. It has nothing to do with root access or a custom ROM. In fact, root may be counterproductive, since you want a tamper proof system.

If they use other means of tracking (e.g. GSM based ones), which is unlikely for individuals, then there is nothing to prevent that.

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This is an excellent question, covering both technological and social usage of Android, so much so, that this answer is totally off the wall from me considering it is not an answer one would expect from me usually on this forum! :) So, apologies in advance for readers of this answer in thinking there's going to be a technical outline, or detailed answer, because it is not! :)

However your statement - I find a bit disturbing coming from a 17 year old

is there a way i can route the tracker to a specific location when i want so that i could just tell them i am at that location even when im not

That is not right? Mis-trust perhaps on both sides in whatever happened on prior occasion, cause and effect for to trigger that above statement.

im 17 and i'm getting sick of getting a phone call everytime i leave a friends house.

That above is a bit vague as you're not actually implying its your parents that are ringing you?

Perhaps, your parents do love you that much, and are worried that something may happen, but that is not to say, they are controlling you and your life. They are looking out for you. My guess, is you're an only child?

As @Flow and @Dan pointed out - you need to get a handle on this and talk upfront and honest to your parents about this.

Shoot me down, I'll take the hit of down-votes on this answer anyway

  • Sorry t0mm13b as you said this just isn't a good answer for this site as you don't try and touch on Android, just an upvote on Dan's comment which basically says the same thing could have the beem enough. I totally agree with the sentiment however. – Peanut Aug 10 '13 at 16:35
  • I think the problem is that in future someone comes here and has someone tracking their phone, perhaps not their parents, and need a way to stop it, this answer won't help that person. I think SE is meant to be for more than just the OP. Glad you understand though :) – Peanut Aug 10 '13 at 18:38
  • Yes, thanks for the comment @Peanut - you're spot on... never thought of that like controlling partner of the SO etc- reckon it should be more generic? – t0mm13b Aug 10 '13 at 18:40
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Some mobile carriers offer services to track children/family/friends which will trace phone location through cell towers and notify of changes. Here's an example of such service, so check if yours carrier offers these. You'll have to put your sim card into another phone and leave it at friend's place to fake your location. You can also setup call forwarding to your new sim if they decide to call and check.

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To be sure you have no additional tracking software installed you may use these 3 methods.

Method 1

  1. Check logged Google accounts Settings -> Accounts: be sure to use ONLY YOUR ACCOUNT FOR ALL GOOGLE PRODUCTS/SERVICES (PLAY STORE, MAPS, ANDROID PHONE MANAGER - THIS ONE CAN TRACK DEVICE). To be 100% sure only you are the administrator of your phone, set up a new Google account for yourself.

  2. In Settings -> Security -> Device Administrators check programs set as admins -> remove all if there are any. (If you find one PIN protected use Method 2 with hard/factory reset.)

  3. Remove ALL additional apps that may be used for tracking Settings -> Apps -> Downloaded - select and remove all, one by one (some might be PIN protected, then go to Method 2).

  4. In Settings -> Location Services disable the Access my location option and turn off GPS.

  5. Disable Mobile data transfer.

  6. Set up and enable PIN and Password (Settings -> Security), enable screen protection with PIN number.

Method 2

Manually back up your data (music, pictures) copy it with file explorer/manager onto an SD card. SMS can be backed up with SMS Backup + App, sync contacts with Google Account. (for security reasons set yourself NEW fresh one and use it to backup restore your data.)

And NOW: Go to Settings -> Backup and Reset choose Factory Data Reset important - uncheck Automatic Restore checkbox. After hard reset choose your own NEW Google account for Google services (set up yourself a new one).

Next set up and enable and Password (Settings -> Security), enable screen protection with PIN.

Additional info

Apps that can track your phone
1. Google Device Manager
2. Kaspersky Mobile Security (This one is tricky and hard to erase. I use this one with my phone.)
3.Avast Mobile Security / Avast Anti-Theft (This one sends an email notification or SMS when the phone leaves the designated area. It also may be hard to remove. You will need a hard reset to get rid of these two). Anti-Theft hides itself as update agent in apps.
4. Track My Phone
5. Phone Locator

...and many many more. Check them in Google Play (You may find one installed on your phone. If so, remove it.)

Method 3 (100% works)

Buy another cheap smart phone and a second SIM card. Install on this new phone, let's call it decoy, software they have installed on your old phone for tracking you (you will find it in Settings -> Apps on your Galaxy), log them in, put into that second phone your old SIM card, redirect all phone calls to you new number which you will use with your factory erased / clean Galaxy with new accounts logged in. Leave the second (decoy) phone in a place you are supposed to be.

If you can't find the app which they are using to track you down or don't have passwords to log them on a second phone, use the reverse process: Buy yourself another phone (almost any teenager can afford to buy a simple smart phone) with a new number (can be prepaid) and redirect all calls onto the new one from your old SIM card and use the old phone as a decoy.

  • Please don't "sign" your posts. Commentary is also not necessary. And, please avail yourself of the formatting options of the Markdown editor to make your answer more readable. – ale Jan 8 '14 at 2:18
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    Right of privacy of a phone he doesn't pay for? Anyways, Tom, I believe you let yourself go through hard and sinuous paths of reasoning but missed the main question: "is there a way i can route the tracker to a specific location when i want so that i could just tell them i am at that location even when im not?". With all your explanation you can remove a tracking app, but you can't stop his parents to notice that his app has been uninstalled. Am I wrong? – Claudio Jan 8 '14 at 2:48
  • 1. There are two questions first: how can i prevent my parents from tracking my device? And maybe if there is chance 2nd "is there a way i can route the tracker to a specific location when i want so " – Thomas Jan 8 '14 at 4:40
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    1. There are two questions as I see it, first: how can i prevent my parents from tracking my device? And maybe if there is chance, 2nd "is there a way i can route the tracker to a specific location when i want so " 2. Right of privacy of a phone he doesn't pay for? So man do you think if his parents pay for his food, phone, clothes they do have right to treat him as (kind-of) their property, whithout rights like: dignity, autonomy, self-reliance, right to have privacy, small secrets? 3. Reply was written via phone - that's why it was not preformated. – Thomas Jan 8 '14 at 4:49
  • And if you want me to answer second part YES THERE IS A WAY TO CHEAT PARENTS - Buy another cheap smartphone and second simcard. Install on this new phone software they have installed on your old phone for tracking you (you will find it in Settings>Apps on your Galaxy), logg em in, put into that second phone you old sim card, redirect all phone calls to you new number which you will use with your factory erased / clean Galaxy with new accounts logged in. Leave second (decoy) phone in a place you are supposed to be. Voila! – Thomas Jan 8 '14 at 5:11

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