How to listen to a cell phone conversation

Updated February 21, 2017

Cell phones are an amazing modern convenience. We call our friends on the go and make plans and connections we would never be able to make without them. They make it easier to keep track of what is going on and we are safer when we're out and about because we have them. Here is how to listen to a cell phone conversation.

Dial the recipient's phone number, and press the "Send" button.

Hold the speaker to your ear, and when someone on the other end speaks, respond accordingly. Repeat this step often during the duration of the phone call. Half of holding the conversation is listening when the other person speaks.

Hang up when you finish listening to the recipient.

Repeat Steps 1 through 3 every time you want to make a phone call.

Wear sunglasses and bring an activity that seems innocent and very absorbing like a book.

Sit within 20 feet of someone having a conversation on his cell phone, open your book as though you're reading it and place it in front of your face.

Listen to the live half of the conversation as you pretend to read your book. Do whatever you can to make it seem like you're really reading. Laugh at your book occasionally or glance at the person on the phone like you want to share your experience.

Follow the person discretely if she gets up to move. Hiding behind trees and bushes will keep you anonymous and happily eavesdropping.

Buy a frequency counter and a radio that receives signals between 869 and 894 megahertz. These are also known as scanners.

Hide in the bushes at the park and turn on your frequency counter and scanner.

Find an analogue signal and calculate the frequency that the tower is transmitting both sides of the conversation. It is usually 45 megahertz higher than the reading on the frequency counter. This step may take a significant amount of time, because almost no one uses analogue cell phones anymore.

Turn the volume on the scanner very low and listen to the conversation. When you get home, throw away the spy novels that gave you this idea.


There is no way currently to listen to a digital cell phone conversation unless you are on the line or in close proximity to one of the participants. Since most cell phones are digital now, consider giving up your double life as an independent spy.


Never make eye contact with the person on whose conversation you're eavesdropping. Don't be surprised if you hear things while eavesdropping that you really shouldn't know. If you overhear a conversation by the Italian mob, you might find them coming for your knees. Beware. Listening in on telephone conversations without a warrant is illegal. Keep your passport handy and your car full of gas so you can head for the border if the police come for you.

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