The mobile phone, also known as Cell Phone in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, is a portable communication device that has been carried by the protagonists of all the Grand Theft Auto games since Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, with the exception of Grand Theft Auto: Vice City Stories. In the 3D Universe, the phone was essentially cosmetic, and could not be used by the player to make calls at will, but its use has been expanded in Grand Theft Auto IV. The mobile phone makes a return in Grand Theft Auto V, with more functions that previous phones.
Grand Theft Auto: Vice City
In Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, Tommy Vercetti retrieves a phone from Leo Teal during "Back Alley Brawl", allowing him to receive calls from in-game characters about missions or other topics. The phone's design is based on Motorola DynaTAC, a hugely successful cellphone during the 1980s.
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas
In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, Carl Johnson has a phone which he uses to make and receive calls. Again, these may be about missions, they may relate to the general story, they may be tips from other characters, or they may serve no particular purpose — for example, the prank calls CJ receives from Catalina. The phone's design is that of an early flip-phone, with a small display for numbers. It is based from the Motorola MicroTAC cellphone of the late 1980s/early 1990s, specifically the Digital Personal Communicator model.
Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories
In Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, Toni Cipriani retrieves a phone from a deceased Sindacco member in "Snuff". This phone is presumably the phone he uses from then on, as Toni originally called using a pay phone in "Home Sweet Home". The phone's function is similar to those in GTA Vice City and GTA San Andreas. It is based from the Motorola StarTAC clamshell cellphone.
Grand Theft Auto IV
The use of the phone is greatly expanded in Grand Theft Auto IV and its episodes. The player can use the phone (given to Niko Bellic by his cousin Roman during the second mission), and a camera phone from Playboy X, during the mission Photo Shoot to make calls, a new feature to the series
To bring the mobile phone up, press (Xbox) and (PS3). Niko can now call his friends and girlfriends to hang out or go on dates respectively, and can now receive text and picture messages from people. Niko can also use his phone to access cheats, go to multiplayer, and call emergency vehicles (like Police Cars, Ambulances, and Fire Trucks) for assistance. The second model of phone is equipped with a camera, available for use anytime, and used in certain missions. Use of the phone can also trigger some missions, like the The Holland Play, and pre-emptively calling some characters may trigger story-related dialogue more quickly.
The theme and ringtone of the phone can be changed in the options menu which shows all themes and ringtones currently on the phone and new themes and ringtones can be purchased via a website on the in-game internet after the second model of the phone is acquired. The two phones used by Niko during the game are Badger and Whiz brand phones.
The player can change the text size in the phone with the 'Text Size' in the options menu, however this is only available if the resolution is set to 1080i.
- Bell (Late Checkout - If the Price is Right/A Dish Served Cold)
- Bernie (Weekend at Florian's - GTA IV Ending)
- Brucie (Logging On - N/A)
- Derrick (Killed: Three Leaf Clover - Blood Brothers) (Spared: Three Leaf Clover - GTA IV Ending)
- Dimitri (Crime and Punishment - A Revenger's Tragedy/A Dish Served Cold)
- Dwayne (Killed: Deconstruction for Beginners-The Holland Play) (Spared: Deconstruction for Beginners-N/A)
- Elizabeta (Luck of the Irish - Have a Heart)
- Francis (Killed: Call and Collect - Blood Brothers) (Spared: Call and Collect - GTA IV Ending)
- Faustin (Crime and Punishment - The Master and the Molotov)
- Gerry (Three Leaf Clover - Undertaker)
- Gravelli (Entourage - That Special Someone)
- Kate (Deal: Waste Not Want Knots - N/A) (Revenge: Waste Not Want Knots - Mr and Mrs Bellic)
- Little Jacob (Jamaican Heat - N/A)
- Mallorie (Escuela of the Streets - GTA IV Ending)
- Manny Escuela (Escuela of the Streets - Have a Heart)
- Michelle (Three's a Crowd - Wrong is Right)
- Packie (Have a Heart - N/A)
- Pegorino (Deal: Truck Hustle - A Revenger's Tragedy) (Revenge: Truck Hustle - Out of Commission)
- Playboy X (Blow Your Cover - The Holland Play)
- Ray (Waste Not Want Knots - Pest Control)
- Roman (Deal: It's Your Call - Mr and Mrs Bellic) (Revenge: It's Your Call - N/A)
- U.L. Paper (Wrong is Right - That Special Someone)
- Vlad (Easy Fare - Uncle Vlad)
- Angus (N/A - N/A)
- Ashley (N/A - TLAD Ending)
- Billy (N/A - This Shit's Cursed)
- Brian (N/A - Bad Standing)
- Clay (N/A - N/A)
- Elizabeta (Buyer's Market - Shifting Weight)
- Jim (N/A - Was It Worth It?)
- Malc (Hit the Pipe - N/A)
- Terry (N/A - N/A)
- Ray (Diamonds in the Rough - Was It Worth It?)
- Stubbs (Buyer's Market - N/A)
- Armando (N/A - N/A)
- Bulgarin (...Blog This! - Departure Time)
- Dessie (? - N/A)
- Henrique (N/A - N/A)
- Mom (N/A - N/A)
- Mori (Practice Swing - TBOGT Ending)
- Tony (N/A - TBOGT Ending)
- Rocco (Ladies' Night - Party's Over)
- Yusuf (Chinese Takeout - N/A)
In the PS3 version, an additional option is available in the phone. It is a SIXAXIS tutorial that teaches the player on how to use the SIXAXIS controller in the game. In the PC version, the Video Editor is an option in the phone. In both versions, the game will exit out of gameplay and all unsaved progress will be lost.
Phone exploits in Grand Theft Auto IV
If the player has damaged a vehicle to the point where the engine won't start, the phone can be used to 'jumpstart' it by calling any number or contact — the engine will spontaneously function again, although no damage will be repaired. For convenience's sake, one can cancel the phone call as soon as "Calling..." is seen on the phone's display — the engine comes back to life as soon as the call is initiated.
In the console versions of the game, the phone can also be used as a kind of 'super handbrake', to instantly stop any vehicle, no matter the speed. Initiating the camera while driving will instantly stop the car — the player can leave the phone open to the 'Camera' menu option, and then press (on PS3) or (on Xbox 360) when they want to stop. This is presumably a bug, and was fixed in the PC version — activating the phone camera while driving on PC will merely change the game camera to the 'hood cam' perspective, and activate the phone camera as normal. As this exploit requires a camera function, it can only be performed once the player has acquired the second model of phone.
Grand Theft Auto V
In the GTA V Game Informer cover story, Rockstar Games has said that GTA V will "perserve the mobile phone concept", but Rockstar has made changes to it, such as the player not receiving phone calls from friends all the time (as seen in GTA IV). Rockstar made these changes because of the criticism fans made about there not being enough to do when you're not doing a story mission and since alot of it was hidden on the phone, they've taken that and moved it onto the map. Rockstar also said that even though it may lose some "functionality", it will gain new features as well. Rockstar described it as being a contemporary phone, with Dan Houser saying that the player will use it for things like "accessing the internet", (much like a smartphone).
Game Informer stated that Michael has a Smartphone and when he takes a picture of a Republican Space Ranger he/she reacts to it and poses. Game Informer also stated that you can share every picture you take via Rockstar Social Club.
- In GTA San Andreas, if the player has dual pistols wielded and gets a phone call, CJ will pull out two phones.
- In GTA IV the second model of the phone can be customized with themes and ringtones from websites. On the streets of the Liberty City random pedestrians will sometimes take out their phones to receive a call. If you look closely at the civilians phone, you will notice that the theme on their phone's screen will be the same as your current phone theme, and if you hit them you can take their phone.
- In the GTA IV trilogy there's a built-in ringtone called Pager. That song is a simplified version of the GTA I theme's background music. It was also the pager's ringtone in GTA III, and was in the Vice City intro under the retro Rockstar logo.
- In The Lost and Damned and The Ballad of Gay Tony, the protagonists of each (Johnny Klebitz and Luis Fernando Lopez) also have phones the player can use in the same way Niko's is used. Each character has a different type of phone than the others, and Johnny and Luis each have a unique theme for their phones. Johnny's phone assumes a more hardy appearance with a black plastic/leather phonecase, and has a unique "Lost MC" theme featuring The Lost Motorcycle Club's patch. Luis Fernando Lopez's phone appears to be more high-end than Niko and Johnny's phones and is round, similar to Johnny's, and has a glowing blue keypad and a unique "Club" theme.
- Almost each phone resembles a real-life phone:
- Tommy's phone resembles a Motorola DynaTAC.
- CJ's phone sort of resembles a Motorola MicroTAC with a green display (similar to Honolulu Cellular MicroTACs).
- Toni's phone resembles a Motorola StarTAC.
- Niko's phone sort of resembles a Sony Ericsson W302 without directional buttons.
- Johnny's phone is nearly identical to Niko's phone, but given it comes covered in a phonecase, it looks more rounded than Niko Bellic's rectangular phone and the numbers on the keypad are more separated due to each number being on a separate button, whereas the numbers on Niko's phone use a "key strip" layout used on phones like the Motorola Razor.
- Luis' phone resembles a HTC Desire (although the HTC debuted in early 2010 and the TBoGT timeline is set in 2008)
- Franklin's phone resembles a Samsung Galaxy S III, only with more rounded edges.
- In the GTA IV trilogy, whenever a phone is seen on advertisements, it always has a battery life with one segment missing. Yet on the phones you use, it seems to have unlimited battery life.
- In San Andreas, if CJ has his phone out and runs into water being sprayed from a Firetruck, chances are that if he is just finishing a conversation and is about to put his phone away, he instead will keep it in his hand. This is because the water makes CJ fall when instead the animation for putting the phone away is supposed to play, so it is skipped altogether.
- When CJ is answering a phone call in front of an oncoming train, CJ will get stuck on the train while he is talking to the phone. Mostly, CJ will remain in the train resulting a glitch, and his health bar will be depleted slowly, causing him to be Wasted.
- If you switch or fire weapons after a phone call, the phone will not disappear on CJ's hand. Switching to other weapons, or entering a car would then remove this trick.
- The phone was meant to appear in GTA VCS, but was cut and the Pager was used instead. The model is still used in some cutscenes.
- Niko can still access a phone before Roman gives him his old one. The only options on this phone are Multiplayer and Video Editor (only on PC).
- If something affects Niko's stance while he is speaking with someone on the phone (getting hit by a car, getting shot, etc.), he will put the phone away and instantly hang up, ending the call early.
- When Niko is inside a car and the phone is about to receive a call, you can hear the sounds caused by interference, much like in real life.