Cell Phone Tracking: Pros and Cons

Cell Phone Tracking: Pros and Cons

Cell Phone Tracking
A question that comes up from time to time is whether or not a company can, or should, use cell phone tracking on an employee’s phone.  At first thought this can sound like an easy and cost effective method of keeping track of employees, and in some cases it is.  We offer an Android app for cell phone tracking that can be a great solution, but it’s important to think through all the pros and cons before you start.

If you issue phones to your employees, you may be thinking about using an app like ours so you can make sure everyone is where they should be.  If you go this route, we highly recommend that you inform the employees that their phone is being tracked, and we make this same recommendation for any tracking method you use.  Things can get messy in a hurry if an employee finds out that you were tracking them without their knowledge.

We’ve put together a few Pros and Cons to think about before you decide to turn your cell phones into GPS tracking units.  While any decent smartphone will work for this purpose, it’s not always the best option.


Using an employee’s cell phone as a tracking device can definitely be the best choice at times.  Some of the key benefits to this option are:

  • Might Be Cheap: If all of your employees are already carrying around a phone, adding cell phone tracking is a low cost option when compared to dedicated tracking hardware.  Most phone plans will provide more than enough data to cover the relatively small amount of data traffic required by a GPS tracking application.
  • No Additional Systems to Maintain: GPS tracking devices are exceptionally robust and durable, but no technology is perfect.  If you can avoid having to install dedicated tracking devices installed in your vehicles, then there is one less system for the business to deal with.
  • Track Your Staff When They Are On Foot:  Sometimes you need to track an individual who spends most of their time on their feet.  In this case one obvious choice is to use cell phone tracking.


While cell phone tracking can be the best choice under the right set of circumstances, it’s important to consider the long list of downsides before moving forward with the cell phone tracking option:

  • Not Tracking the Vehicle:  Just because an employee is supposed to be driving a vehicle does not mean that is what is actually happening.  If it’s important that you know the location of your vehicles, then attaching a piece of tracking hardware to the vehicle is going to be necessary.
  • No Vehicle Telemetry: Modern dedicated tracking hardware can provide a lot more information than just vehicle location, and even send in alerts and warnings when an employee is misbehaving.
  • Power Usage & Battery Life: Keeping the GPS on for cell phone tracking 24/7 can rapidly run down the battery in a smartphone.
  • Privacy Concerns: If you are tracking the employee’s phone, you should make sure that you are not tracking them when they are on personal time.
  • Tracking Reliability: Smartphones can be turned off by the employee at any time, which might be used to hide the very behaviors you are trying to monitor.

The bottom line is that there is no one right answer to whether cell phone tracking is a good idea or not.  Just make sure you think it through carefully before making the decision.

About Don Sesler

Don Sesler is the Owner and President of Sageplan Technology Services. While being the "company quarterback" does take up some of his time, Don still prefers the role of technologist, helping his customers improve the efficiency and productivity of their fleet operations.