When Morpheus takes most of his crew into the Matrix to take Neo to the Oracle, Tank is watching them. His job, at that point, is to watch out for them and look at what's going on around them.

When Cypher walks out of the building and drops his cell phone, still on, into a trash can, nobody on the crew who is in the Matrix can see him, but why wouldn't it be clear to Tank what he's doing (since Tank would be watching the code)? And wouldn't Cypher be aware of that as a possibility? He would know that Tank was watching them, so even if those inside the Matrix didn't see it, he should know there's a good chance Tank could see it.

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    Maybe he looked the other way; he would not expect trouble from his own people after all. Do you have reason to believe there is a deeper reason?
    – Raphael
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 13:52
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    Another good question would be, why didn't Switch or Apoch see Cipher drop the phone? Both of them remained at the house while Neo visited the Oracle and one of them might have been able to see it.
    – Xantec
    Commented Feb 22, 2012 at 18:24

2 Answers 2


Tank was watching for signs of Agents or other detection he wasn't watching what the group was doing. There was no reason to since everyone was trusted. Also Cypher's cell phone probably dialed an Agent meaning Tank wouldn't have received the signal. Notice that Tank can only receive an incoming call and seems to have no idea who calls until he hears their voice. No one except for Neo was able to truly understand the code of the Matrix. So even though Tank was watching he wasn't able to see everything that they did ( he didn't notice the Deja Vu ,changing of the code) he was basically just looking for known codes that were a danger to them such as Agents or whatever else they had to look out for.

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    No, it was his phone - they all carry one (except Neo, possibly, who may not have been given one yet) and when they need to call Tank later in the mission, Morpheus asks Cypher for his phone, which Cypher can't produce.
    – Jeff
    Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 14:49
  • Good point I'll edit my answer Commented Feb 21, 2012 at 14:57
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    I agree with your answer. Small nit-pick: I'd say Tank noticed the Deja Vu, or at least that something was wrong. Watch the scene again, Tank is reacting at the same time as the crew.
    – Schwern
    Commented Feb 6, 2015 at 2:17

It's never explicitly stated just how well Tank can "see" the Matrix from the real world, but Cypher implies that they can't really see exactly what's going on. They can make out patterns and maybe get a general idea, but something as specific as seeing Cypher drop his cell phone is probably out of the question.

From the transcript:

Neo: Is that...

Cypher: The Matrix? Yeah.

Neo: Do you always look at it encoded?

Cypher: Well you have to. The image translators work for the construct program. But there's way too much information to decode the Matrix. You get used to it. I...I don't even see the code. All I see is blonde, brunette, red-head. Hey, you a... want a drink?

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