Even if you aren’t a big tech geek, then you have probably heard the phrase ‘IP address’ thrown around. You might not know exactly what this is, but you have probably heard the term used in crime dramas as a way to track criminals. IP addresses can be used to track devices that have connected to a network, as each device is given a unique IP address when it joins.
While IP addresses are commonly referred to in crime shows, more often they are used to track internally on computers. IP addresses allow websites to know where the user is in the world, meaning that websites can block users from outside their country from accessing their content.
IP addresses are most commonly spoken about in relation to desktop computers and laptops, so you might be wondering if phones have IP addresses. In this guide, we’ll be answering this and lots more.
What is an IP Address?
We have briefly just spoken about what an IP address is, but let’s take a deeper look. In an IP address, the ‘IP’ stands for ‘Internet Protocol’, which is essentially a set of rules that dictate how data can be sent and received over the internet.
These addresses can be used to track the location of certain technological devices, but they were created to ensure that the only people who can access certain data are able to reach it.
IP addresses are essentially a way for the internet to differentiate between different devices, allowing them to decide whether the information should be sent to this device, or not. This is an essential part of the operation of the internet.
IP addresses are a string of numbers that are separated by periods. Each number in the IP address set can range from 0 up to 255. So, your IP address might be 126.96.36.199, or it could just as easily be 255.255.255.255.
You might expect IP addresses to be random, but they are not. They are produced by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA), and the IP addresses are mathematically created, so they are in no way random.
But, that’s enough about IP addresses, now let’s take a look at whether phones have these numbers attached to them, or not.
Do Phones have IP Addresses?
Based on everything that we have said so far, you might expect your cellphone to come with an IP address built-in. But they actually do not. IP addresses only matter when you are using the internet, and not all phones will be used for this feature. So, your phone does not automatically come with an IP address, instead it must get one when it connects to an internet network.
When you connect to a WI-FI network, or use data roaming, then your phone will then receive an IP address. This will come from the DHCP server and will be attached to your cell as long as you are using it while connected to that internet network.
You might be wondering what happens to your IP address as you travel. After all, with data roaming, you can travel freely all over the country without losing signal. When you travel, your IP address will change. It will do this multiple times throughout your journey as it continually connects to different satellites and internet connections.
This is why cellphones do not come with an IP address attached to them, as their address will change with every new internet network they connect to.
Can a Cell Phone IP Address be Traced?
Now that you know that your phone has an IP address whenever it is connected to the internet, you might be wondering if this can be used to track your location.
After all, as we have said, IP addresses are often heavily featured as a way to capture criminals in TV shows. While you probably aren’t a criminal, you might still be anxious at the thought of someone being able to track your location by using your cell phone. So, can your cell phone IP address be traced?
Technically speaking, yes, it is possible for someone to trace your phone down using IP addresses. However, the chances of this actually happening are very slim. Someone can geolocate you using your IP, and you probably already know this because you have seen it happen on the television. But, geolocating someone using IP addresses is by no means easy.
Due to the nature of cellular networks and WI-FI connections, it is almost impossible for just anyone to get access to the IP addresses that have been connected to them. It is also incredibly difficult to track IP addresses once you have access to this information. So, while someone theoretically could trace your cellphone through the IP address, the chances of anyone doing this is slim.
What is the IP Address of my Phone?
After reading this, you might be wondering how you can find the IP address that your cellphone is using when it is connected to the internet. Your phone’s IP address will change with every network that it connects to, but the method that you use to find it remains the same.
To find the IP address of your phone, you should begin by going to the settings section. Once you are in your settings, click on the tab labelled ‘about device’, before scrolling and clicking on ‘status’. When this opens up, you will have access to lots of different information about your phone, including the public IP address that your phone uses.
But remember, this IP address will be ever-changing, so don’t be alarmed if you check your IP address one day only to find that it has changed the next.
In short, yes, phones do have IP addresses. However, these addresses do not automatically come with the phone. Your cell phone will only receive an IP address when you connect to the internet. This IP address will then change with every single new network that your phone connects to. So, your phone does have an IP address, but this address will be ever-changing.