Nanotechnology plays an increasingly important role in the biomedical arena. Iron oxide nanoparticles (IONPs)-labelled cells is one of the most promising approaches for a fast and reliable evaluation of grafted cells in both preclinical studies and clinical trials. Current procedures to label living cells with IONPs are based on direct incubation or physical approaches based on magnetic or electrical fields, which always display very low cellular uptake efficiencies. Here we show that centrifugation-mediated internalization (CMI) promotes a high uptake of IONPs in glioblastoma tumour cells, just in a few minutes, and via clathrin-independent endocytosis pathway. CMI results in controllable cellular uptake efficiencies at least three orders of magnitude larger than current procedures. Similar trends are found in human mesenchymal stem cells, thereby demonstrating the general feasibility of the methodology, which is easily transferable to any laboratory with great potential for the development of improved biomedical applications.