One of the studies held at the Stanford University found that, yes, Android phones can be tracked even when their GPS and WiFi are not enabled by analyzing their power-use over time. It works on a simple rule that “A cellphone uses more power, the more away it is from the cell tower and the more obstacles are on its way to reach for a signal.” Along with this, all the other activities which use power can be factored out with the help of the algorithm the researchers studied.
The term which they used to track you through your power consumption is termed Battery Status API. This term was coined in HTML5, where it was intended for website owners to receive information from the websites designed for users on low-power devices. Then it was used in the cell phone to see the percentage of the battery life left and the time it will require to charge up when connected to the power source.
But in today’s era, this battery life percentage combined with battery life in seconds works as a pseudo identifier to track any mobile device. And it is even more harmful than sharing IP addresses as any VPN cannot hide the battery status API of your device. Still, the only safety you get here is the fact that your device is one of 14 million possible combinations from the data received.
Along with just enabling VPN and disabling the GPS and WiFi, it’s also important to be aware of this and follow a few safety practices like −
Always download Apps from the Google Play Store or their original website and not from any third-party software or website.
Avoid connecting to public WiFi for sharing sensitive data from your device to another device.
Do not download any apps that say they will help you have a long battery life, instead see the basic settings of your phone and analyze which app is draining more battery.
While downloading new apps, beware of any apps that ask you to disable your settings, making your security vulnerable and compromising your privacy.
And always have a good mobile security app downloaded on your device, which is reputed and well known.
Whenever your device is not in use for an extended period, it is always suggested to keep it after removing its battery if that’s possible, as once the battery is removed, no signals will be sent. Hence, it cannot be tracked, so a phone without a battery is like a metal stone.