How to Use an Old Smartphone as a GPS Tracking Device

How to Use an Old Smartphone as a GPS Tracking Device

Smartphones are called smart for a reason! They are giving GPS trackers a run for their money. Can you use a smartphone as a GPS Tracking device? Find out here.

We all have a stack of old smartphones that are good for nothing. What if we tell you they could be good for something?


Yes, a smartphone can be used as a GPS Tracking device. As long as it’s working, it has an internet connection and a battery backup, it’s excellent for the job. You do not trust, right? Keep reading further to know all about it. 

An Android or an IOS Smartphone: A Potential GPS Tracker

In this time and age, vehicle tracking is not only limited to tracking the movement of a truck n a virtual map. It encompasses a lot more. Therefore, before we get into answering the main question, it’s crucial to understand the capabilities of a smartphone as a GPS tracking device.

Sim based tracking Vs Mobile Tracking

How good a vehicle tracker does a smartphone make?

What do you think?

Well, good enough to help you monitor the real-time whereabouts of vehicles and other attributes that are crucial to ensure fleet efficiency. 

  • Real-time visibility: As long as the GPS of the phone is working well, fleet tracking is on the right track. You get the geographical location of the vehicle along with additional information such as the last/next stoppage, the direction of movement, trip updates, etc.
  • Mobility Status: This is where the accelerometer, gyrometer and other sensors in smartphones come to use. You get real-time movement status – whether the vehicle is moving, overspeeding or at a halt.
  • Alerts and Notifications:  Advanced software solutions to the likes of TrackoBit offer custom alerts wherein you can opt for and omit the events of your choice. Fleet management software driving on mobile tracking triggers instant alerts every time an event occurs.
  • Route Deviation Alerts: Get notified every time a vehicle deviates from the assigned route. The accuracy of route deviation alerts is top-notch with smartphone GPS Tracking.
  • ETA and POD: The software can easily generate dynamic estimated time of arrival with data fetched by an android phone as a GPS Tracker. With a smartphone, you have a UI and an interactive screen at your disposal, hence making way for OTP, QR codes, and e-sign-based Proof of delivery options.

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How can a Smartphone be used as a GPS Tracking Device?

We all know that a smartphone comes with an inbuilt GPS. Leveraging the inbuilt facility of an IOS or an Android phone, an advanced GPS Tracking software provider can make it happen via mobile tracking. 

TrackoField, our field employee tracking software is built on mobile tracking. Not only that, TF’s pathbreaking background tracking functionality while the phone’s in sleep mode proved instrumental to our clients across industries.  

But what about tracking a moving vehicle or assets with an android phone? Let’s understand the ‘how’ behind the big question. 

Step 1: The user downloads the Mobile GPS Tracking app on the smartphone. Log in with the user id and password. 

Step 2: Either mount the phone safely on the dashboard or the driver can pocket it, if it’s in use. 

Step 3: The software fetches the real-time location of the phone and other related data.

Step 4: Track the whereabouts on the admin app or the web portal with exact location coordinates. Playback the route travelled, track history, stop taken and a lot more via the app.

Using Smartphones as GPS Trackers

Challenges Faced While Using Smartphones as GPS Trackers

Every technology comes with its fair share of pros and cons. Using an old android phone as a fleet tracker has some downsides too. What are those? Let’s find out:

  • Battery Backup: The primary question that pops up in our head when we think of using a smartphone as a GPS Tracker is the battery drainage. Even if your smartphone has a solid battery backup, yet it’ll exhaust completely after a few hours. Using mobile phones for tracking long-haul trucks can be tricky. However, this issue can be mitigated with a help of a power bank. A high-power battery bank or vehicle battery supply can provide constant power to the phone as you do with a GPS tracker, and you are good to go for a couple of days.
  • Limited Features: It’s quite understood that a smartphone can not match a GPS Vehicle tracker when it comes to fleet tracking. A fleet owner will have to compromise on features such as fuel monitoring, vehicle diagnostics, driver behaviour and a few more. However, it offers a plethora that a GPS Tracker can’t without an added support of a smartphone. Camera support for POD, expense proofs, vehicle inspection evidence, interactive UI and visual backing. Other than vehicle tracking, a mobile app is the best option for employee tracking, field sales tracking and asset Tracking.
  • Finite Safety Features: With the Mobile GPS Tracking app for vehicles, the fleet security features such as immobilisation, battery disconnection, harsh driving detection, etc are not possible. However, smartphone tracking allows a few vehicle security features like Parking violation alarms, panic buttons and route deviation alerts.

Advantages of Using Android Phones as Tracking Devices

Why would a fleet manager possibly think of using a smartphone as a Vehicle tracker if it doesn’t allow any benefits? Following are the reasons why android phones make an amazing choice for a GPS Tracker. 

  • Cost Effective: You do not need an additional tracker or an IoT device, any old or in-use smartphone is perfectly good for the job. No need to invest in a new smartphone, either.
  • Quick Installation: Hassle-free device installation because there is no device at all. All you have to do is download the app on the phone sign up and you are good to go.
  • Easy to Operate: There is not much to operate. Once the signing-in is done, data is sent to the cloud server and further reflected on the app or web portal. The rest of the job of reporting, history and analysis is done by the software.
  • Data Accuracy: With the latest technology, sensors and design, smartphones these days have proved to be smarter than the humans carrying them. Data collected by phones are not just accurate but more vast and detailed than ever and anything.

We hope you got an answer to the million-dollar question you had in mind…

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Can a smartphone replace a GPS Tracking device as a Vehicle Tracker?

Yes, it absolutely can. You can weigh the pros and cons of both GPS Trackers and smartphones to see which one fits the bill for your requirements. However, Automation, AI, and ML are transforming mobility in more ways than our tiny human brain can fathom. Mobile tracking is an integral part of this technological expedition. 

Want to know what TrackoBit and TrackoField are up to in this sphere? All we can say is what you see on the internet here and there is just the tip of the iceberg. Reach out to us and talk to our team of experts to know more.

How to Use an Old Smartphone as a GPS Tracking Device

Diksha Bhandari

Currently creating SaaSy content strategies for TrackoBit and TrackoField, this content professional has dedicated a decade of her life to enriching her portfolio and continues to do so. In addition to playing with words and spilling SaaS, she has a passion for traveling to the mountains and sipping on adrak wali chai.

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