How mobile phone tracking works?

Phone tracking is a feature from the past that we have all seen in the movies, maybe even heard about it in newspapers but hardly ever tried. There was a time when only the police could track phones, but slowly and steadily, it has become kind of common place.

With the outpouring of apps on Android and other platforms, we all have had access to phone tracking of some kind. Apple users are kind of familiar with find my iPad/iPhone, which has been much renowned while Android users can get their hands on apps like GPS Tracking Pro and Mobile Defense. 

But, really what is phone tracking and how does it work?

Basically, if you can get to know where your mobile is, whether at a set location or moving, that can be called phone tracking. For the normal public, it can be used in case of theft or loss of mobile, while the police and other forces can use it to track down criminals.
How does it happen?
You can track down your phone by the network signal it receives from different towers i.e. GSM tracking, or via GPS. 
It may surprise you, but your mobile network keeps a track of where you are, all the time. Such location-based services help them charge you appropriately.

Advance machines employed by defense forces can track our location down to 50 metres. If that is giving you Goosebumps then that is not all. Your handset, your SIM, your network and sometimes all of them together can help track down your location.  
So, how will you protect your privacy? Well, in India, we don’t have any explicit laws covering this, but in Europe and U.S., people are fighting cases against infringement of their privacy, while China has a record of invasive phone tracking towards its citizens.