With all the talk about cell phone tracking in the tech industry lately, it’s easy to develop certain misconceptions about what these tools can and can’t do. Those who’re planning to use an application like that should familiarize themselves with the general range of capabilities that they offer, or risk disappointment when it turns out that certain features are either not available in that version, or not possible at all at the moment.

Keep Track of All Conversations

The most basic feature of any cell phone tracker is the ability to look into the owner’s conversations, both voice and text ones. You should be able to check the call history and SMS logs, and some tools may even give you the opportunity to listen in on conversations in real time. That’s not always offered though, so make sure that you look through the feature list of the tool you’re considering if you need this in particular.

Also keep in mind that unlike looking through a phone manually, it’s pretty much impossible for the owner of the device to conceal their tracks if you’re using any of the popular tools on the market. Deleted conversations will still be visible, and they may even be marked explicitly so you’ll know there’s something potentially worth paying attention to.

Study and Control Browsing Habits

Another commonly available and very useful feature is the ability to know what the user is doing on the Internet at any time. This includes their current browsing habits as well as what sites they’ve visited in the past. Again, it’s not possible to conceal anything from this type of tracking, and the user won’t be able to evade you even by using any special browsing modes. The phone tracker will capture all traffic on a level deeper than the user will have access to, allowing you to be in full control of what they’re doing online.

This also includes blocking specific sites, perfect for parental controls or corporate usage. Many companies rely on tools like these to ensure that their employees stay within reasonable lines when using company-issued devices, and it’s a good compromise for all sides since it also allows employees to work with their phones without worrying that they might be compromising the company’s integrity.

Track Device Location

If you’re wondering where the user is at any time of the day, you should be able to keep track of that information with the help of a phone tracking tool as well. The only requirement in most cases is that the device supports location tracking in the first place, and pretty much all modern smartphones do. The user doesn’t have to even enable the location tracking setting on their device manually, and in fact, they can’t even do anything to stop you from checking up on them.

Some tools will even graph a detailed history of where the user has been through the day, another great feature for parents worried that their children might be up to no good. Of course, keep in mind that there might still be gaps in the data if the device is taken in places with poor GPS coverage, such as tunnels and underground locations, as well as some buildings. Other than that though, there’s not much anyone can do to keep their location a secret.

Peek into Specific Apps

With so many apps for chatting, sharing pictures and videos, dating, and all kinds of other social activities, simply checking the phone’s SMS history is hardly enough to get the full picture these days. Thankfully, most phone tracking tools come with specific features to assist you with this, such as the ability to infiltrate particular apps. Things like WhatsApp, Snapchat and others should be no barrier to a good phone tracking tool, and all the rules we mentioned above still apply here as well.

This means that the user can’t do anything like delete their messaging history, because it will still be visible in the tracking tool. Even things like WhatsApp’s built-in encryption are of no use in this case, as the tracking is performed on a level that can’t be circumvented. This is great for cases where you know that the person using the phone is likely to be sneaky about their activities, and you can safely collect as much information as you want without worrying that your actions will be compromised. That is, as long as you follow the instructions provided by the developer of course.

As long as you get your hands on a good application developed by a responsible, experienced team, you should have pretty much complete access to the device you’re tracking, and will be able to monitor all sorts of activities on it. Of course, that’s still no solution for any underlying trust issues that might prompt you to use something like this, but that’s a different topic.