How to Easily Use a GPS Tracking Device

Written by Felipe on March 25th, 2015

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I received an email from someone today that inspired me to write an article that I’ve been meaning to write for a while now. As you probably already know, I usually write about cell phone tracker applications on my website. I also have several other articles on different topics that I think my readers might be interested in and today’s article will be one of those.

Below is a copy of the email that inspired this article. Please note that I changed the name for privacy reasons:

From: Bart Joiabi
Sent: Wednesday, April 1, 2015 9:28 AM
Subject: Tracking property

I am impressed with the data on your site – so much it is a bit overwhelming. I hope the site is profitable for you. Good idea.

I wish to track my own motorcycle in the event it is stolen while being parked and offered for sale. I’ll hide a phone on the bike.

It is feasible to purchase an inexpensive pre-paid phone, install tracking app, have it “on” and track it even if calls are not being made.

Free tracking is good but not necessary. Do you have a recommendation for app, etc.? It only needs active for short periods of time.

P.S. This could be a great new active button on your site: “TRACK YOUR EQUIPMENT – CATCH THE THIEVES”

I’ll not pursue the thieves but I’ll be happy to call the police with the info.

Any info you share will be most appreciated. Should I purchase something I’ll be sure to click via your site.


Bart Joiabi

Let me first start off by saying that, yes, this is actually possible. As long as the pre-paid phone that you purchase has the ability to install applications on it, you can do this. Calls don’t have to be made on the phone in order for the tracking app to do it’s job. The only requirements are that the phone is turned on, it has a tracking app installed (and configured) on it, and that the phone can actually get a GPS signal. My experience has been that an Android powered pre-paid phone will probably be the least expensive option and there are a lot of phone tracker apps available for these types of phones. Of course, that’s not your only option but it’s one to consider.

It’s difficult for me to give a blanket recommendation as to which application should be used for this because there are so many types of phones that people use these days. The best advice that I can give is to choose one that is designed for the operating system that your phone runs on. For example, if you own a phone that uses the Google Android operating system, you’ll need one that will work on an Android powered phone.

How to Use a GPS Tracking Device to Track Your Property

As Bart mentioned in his email, you can make improvised tracking devices simply by installing a cell phone tracking application onto your phone and stashing it somewhere in the property that you would like to track.

gps tracker device infographicBart wants to be able to track his motorcycle if it ever happens to get stolen while it’s parked in the location that he’s trying to sell it at but you can do the same thing to make an improvised car tracking device if you want to.

The next piece of advice that I have is that you choose an application that has the ability for the user to set the interval at which the application will report the phone’s location. The reason for this is that GPS tracking applications can put a strain on the phone’s battery. If the application is continually tracking the location of the phone and continually uploading its location, the battery will run out much sooner than if it only uploads the location data occasionally.

Another thing to keep in mind is that there is a limitation to some applications that are used for tracking smartphones and that is that they need to have a GPS signal in order to determine the location of your phone. If your intention is to hide your old cell phone under a seat or in the trunk of your car, it may not be able to get a GPS signal and consequently it won’t be able to report the location of the device that you’re trying to track.

Another feature to look for if you decide to use an old phone for this purpose, is an application that has the ability to be remotely activated. Some applications can be remotely activated simply by sending a text message to them that contains an activation code. This could help your battery last longer since the app wouldn’t be constantly running in the memory of the phone which would put more of a load on the phone and deplete the battery faster.

If you’d like to see a list of the apps that I’ve reviewed so far on my website, you can do so by clicking here: Reviews.

Using Dedicated GPS Tracking Devices

As an alternative, you can purchase specialized GPS tracking devices for cars. I personally think that this is probably a better option than trying to hide a phone somewhere in your vehicle. These devices range in price considerably depending upon the options that they provide. Some are designed to be permanently installed in your vehicle which means that they are directly wired to your car’s battery. This solves the problem that I’ve referred to above about GPS tracking devices causing a cell phone’s battery to run out quicker than normal.

If you’d rather not install a device in your vehicle permanently, you can purchase a small GPS tracking device that can be hidden in your vehicle or placed on your vehicle in an inconspicuous location. Some of these smaller devices even have a powerful magnet so they can be attached to the underside of a car. To be quite honest, I’m not exactly sure how well they would work when placed under a vehicle since I would think that it would be difficult for the device to get a GPS signal. Perhaps they may use a combination of cellular technology combined with GPS technology.

If you decide that you’d like to purchase a GPS tracking device for cars, keep in mind that you’ll probably have to pay a monthly service fee. The actual price will vary depending upon the services that the company provides.

Premium Features of a Vehicle Tracking Device

While some of these types of devices are designed simply for the purpose of tracking the location of your property, others include handy anti-theft options. For example, some have the ability to remotely shut down your engine.

Some of the other premium features that you might find are movement sensors that will trigger a notification to be automatically sent to you in the event that someone gets in your vehicle or moves it. Others have the ability for you to set a geo-fence so you can be notified if your vehicle is ever driven outside of your predefined perimeter.

gps tracker device button

What’s the Bottom Line?

As you all know, I use and love cell phone tracking applications but my personal preference, if I wanted to be able to track my own property, would be to use a dedicated GPS tracking device.

Sure, I’d have to pay a monthly fee to be able to use these devices but I would have to pay a fee if I wanted to use a spare smartphone as well. In my opinion, the added security features that are built into a dedicated car tracking device make it worth going with that option.

One Last Note to Bart about His Motorcycle GPS Tracker Options

Regardless of what method you choose to use, you have a few options. Remember that a smartphone stashed in your bags or under your seat might not have the ability to get a GPS signal. On the other hand one of the magnetic tracking devices could be placed on your bike in an inconspicuous location and I would think that it would be more likely to be able to get a GPS signal and actually be able to report the location of your motorcycle.

Another thing that you might want to consider is that if you install a hard wired motorcycle tracking device, you might be able to use that as a selling point. Instead of spending the money on a pre-paid phone, you could install a dedicated tracker to find your bike if it gets stolen while you’re trying to sell it. When you do sell it, you might even be able to get more money for it because it has an anti-theft device installed on it!

I receive compensation as a result of endorsements, ads, or affiliate links on this website: Compensaton Disclosure