The Profiler is a tool in Watch Dogs that Aiden Pearce has at his disposal, which allows him to gain access to anyone's personal information and hack anything connected to the Chicago ctOS. New side missions can be opened up via the Profiler.
Certain abilities can be used actively, such as turning the traffic lights green, or raising blockers, however, these do drain the battery and must be used sparingly. Other abilities, like signal jamming, require crafting items, such as electronic parts, to use. These abilities don't drain the battery, only the resources. It also allows you to view people's information, and see how likely they are to commit a crime.
Each ability has a specific cost of the Profiler's battery, meaning that the hacking abilities cannot be overused without waiting for the battery to reload once it is empty. Also, most abilities require roughly two seconds for the hack to take effect.
This is a list of abilities in the game which require resources:
- Jam Comms - Disables all communications within a certain radius. Also disables police scanning while in scanning phase.
- Blackout - Causes the entire city to lose power, disabling communications and plunging everything into darkness.
- ctOS Scan - Scans all NPC's in the immediate area. Useful for locating enemies quickly.
These abilities can be used without assigning them to the weapon wheel, however, they require battery points to use:
- Traffic Lights - Change the traffic lights in an intersection to green, causing a pileup to occur.
- Raise Blockers - Raise or lower blockers to slow pursuers, or take down those you're chasing.
- Overload Junction / Transformer - Overloads a junction box or a transformer to quickly dispatch nearby foes. If there are propane tanks are near said transformers, then the explosion will be more effective, dispatching multiple foes in a powerful blast.
- Raise Spikes - Raises or lowers spikes to disable pursuing vehicles.
- Disrupt Enemy Comms - Disrupt an elite enemy's helmet communicator, this is useful for disabling an enemy for a short time, allowing for a quick takedown.
- Disable Helicopter - Disables pursuing helicopter for ~5 seconds. Upgrading via skill tree increases time to 10 seconds.
- Rupture Pipe - Ruptures steam pipes to disable pursuing vehicles or intercept fleeing targets.
- Disable Reinforcements - Removes an enemy's ability to call for backup, most notably in Gang Hideouts.
Another capability of the Profiler is the ability to execute hacks that does not require an active ability. These types of abilities are called passives. They do not require any battery points and can be executed with a push of a button.
One example of a passive ability is the Telephone Tapping, the ability to listen on phone conversations to gain intel. Another example of a passive ability is that bank accounts can be hacked. If someone is using a bank feature when highlighted, it can be acquired to gain account information. Money can then be taken from an ATM once bank account details have been obtained. Additionally, license plate information can be stolen and later sold to under ground car dealers who will allow the player to call and have a car delivered.
It also possess a in-game social network, one such app being Talk Feed, which hooks you into the mindset of the population. Another app being City Hotspot, which lets one find useful locations or safehouses. Finally there is an underground program called DedSec Field Guide, which gives the player insight on hacking targets and useful items.
In an interview by Gamespot, it was said that the abilities of the Profiler will increase throughout the game, starting with only small abilities, such as Signal Jamming, and ending with bigger-scale ones. It was also said that the level of city control shown in the trailer is about mid/end-of-game level. City control will increase each time the player hacks a local ctOS terminal, eventually gaining more total control.
- The physical appearance of the Profiler resembles that of a Samsung Galaxy S4, S2, and iPhone 4, but the user interface resembles Windows Phone 8 and versions of Android featured on phones which exclude physical home buttons from their design.
- When Aiden Pearce answers a phone call he will put the Profiler to the side of his head to talk and listen, however when he is tapping someone else's phone he does not have to put the Profiler to his ear to listen.
- The Profiler automatically charges after usage, even when Aiden is not within a vehicle, a feature coveted by real-world cellphone users. (Since it charges automatically at night, solar charging is ruled out, indicating that it charges via movement or by some other method)
- During the interval of an active blackout, its functions are rendered useless.