How to Hide Tracking From Your Kids
Kids turn GPS tracking (now called "LOCATION") OFF all the time. So, how to hide tracking from your kids? You can't track them when this is turned off. As long as they turn it on before going home, or as soon as they leave where they aren't supposed to be, there is nothing you can say. "Mom, I'm telling you, I didn't touch the GPS button". or "Yes, sorry, I accidentally turned GPS off when I was turning my data on.". OOps.
According to Dr. House, Everybody lies! And lies tend to start small and escalate. That is one reason why it is worth using parental control spy apps to catch your kids in a lie. Hopefully you will catch them in the small lies before they get out of control. Plus, people who lie, get better with the number of lies they tell. Get started now.
Plus, they whine that keeping these services "on" is eating their battery (because it wrongly says that all over the internet). It is a never ending battle.
Or is it?
I FOUND THE ANSWER: In early Android versions, "GPS" and "LOCATIONS" were two different items (as in the older Samsung S4 I am working with). It was possible to have GPS off and still have locations ON and reporting based on WIFI and Mobile towers. That is no longer true. Now you ONE toggle for "Locations" — and when it is off, ALL tracking is OFF (GPS, Wifi, and Mobile Towers).
SO, buying a slightly older version of a branded phone might provide the benefit of "hiding" your tracking … because it appears that you can keep the GPS button OFF, but the location tracking on. Location tracking won't be visible so no one will choose to turn it off! So an older S4 or before; and a Note 3 and before.
In other words — in an older phone, GPS can stay "off"; locations can stay on and hidden. Your child's EXACT position will not be shown as if GPS was active, but you will know when he went to "David's house on 65th Street" or when he went to the "old deserted building" where you forbid him to go.
Why does this suck?
GPS or WIFI are easily found through Notifications (in the pull down bar). So if someone is concerned about getting tracked (ie: a thief), he will turn it off as soon as he takes the phone.
The "Location Services" setting required more digging, and a fairly savvy Android user to know what to do and what the setting can do to them.
So it was possible to track your phone even if GPS was off!!
But Google in their infinite wisdom and their professed desire to "improve" everything, grouped GPS and Location Services under ONE button and it is all accessible from the pull-down. When the thief turns off this one "LOCATION" button, kiss your chances of finding your phone away.
But continue to harass him about keeping GPS on. That will get him used to it being on when this method no longer works.
That means you must buy used phones — most likely ebay. And yes, that has a level of risk as well. But you need to make sure to buy from people with the best feedback possible (and hopefully who have a LOT of feedback!). Those sellers are less likely to lie about the condition of the phone.
This workaround will work for a year or two … and then you will have to succumb to buying updated phones with the dreaded "Location" setting. Google make a mistake in combining these functions from a parent's point of view.