Will a smartphone still work if you damage the GPS chip in it and can it still be tracked?

6 answers · 2 months ago
Writing a story and I have a couple questions - tried searching the internet for a bit but couldn't quite find the answers to my exact questions. So say a character has turned off their smartphone and taken the battery out so it won't be tracked. If they were to purposely damage the GPS chip inside the phone, would the phone still function and be able to make calls after turning it back on, or would damaging the GPS chip make the whole phone stop working? Second question: are there still ways for someone to track the phone, even with the GPS chip not functioning? Thanks!


The GPS function has no effect on the rest of what the phone does.

If, however, the main microprocessor contains the GPS circuitry,
damaging only the GPS would be impossible.

All cell phones can be tracked to the nearest cell site when they are on,
regardless of whether they have GPS or not.
Anonymous · 2 months ago
Don't know about smartphones.
Anonymous · 2 months ago
Anonymous · 2 months ago
The battery in a modern phone isn't removable without specialised tools.

From my very limited investigation, modern phones don't have a separate GPS chip. They receive the GPS signals using the same antenna that they use for receiving all other signals, and then decode them in software. So if you want to carry on using the phone, the only option is to disable GPS in the phone's settings. If you're paranoid about being tracked, you can't be sure that the phone will honour that - does it have a way for the police to turn GPS back on without your knowledge?

Even if GPS is switched off, the phone company can still work out the approximate location of your phone by measuring the timing and strength of the signals it sends to nearby cell towers. (Normally your phone talks to one tower at a time, but periodically talks to other nearby towers to see if one of them would provide a better signal. If your phone is getting a stronger signal from tower A than tower B, it's probably nearer to A than to B.) The accuracy of these estimates depends on how close together the towers are. They can estimate your position to within a couple of hundred metres in a big city, but this drops to kilometres or even tens of kilometres in rural areas.
Anonymous · 2 months ago
They don't have separate GPS chips, this is a function of the phone's processor. If you damage that, the phone won't work at all.

The phone can be tracked even if it's switched off, as long as the battery is in place (at least by any half competent security service). If your character doesn't want to be trackable in real time, she'll either have to destroy the phone or leave it behind somewhere. The better course will depend on her situation.
Anonymous · 2 months ago
Yes it can be trace even it a damage gps chip
Anonymous · 2 months ago