Did you know your iPhone tracks you? Learn how to stop it

We all know that privacy is often pushed to the wayside for the sake of digital conveniences. As a cultural shift, this development is probably worrisome enough when it’s consensual. However, it turns out Apple may have just taken this disconcerting trend one step further by quietly installing a new and invasive feature on its smartphones.

It has recently surfaced that newer iPhones (operating on iOS7, 8, and 9) come with a feature called “Frequent Locations” that by default tracks your every movement on a map and takes note of your arrival and departure times.

The feature doesn’t strike everyone as totally outrageous, but some journalists and Youtube stars have called it “creepy,” (The Daily Mail) “a reminder of how much we trust Apple with tracking us,” (cultofmac.com) and “a divorce lawyer’s dream” (Professor Noel Sharkey). Regardless of whether you believe that Frequent Locations is as 1984-esque as tech paranoiacs are making it out to be, it is at least slightly intrusive that the new feature was largely unannounced by Apple yet turned on by default. If this is your first time hearing about it, chances are your phone has already recorded and stored a whole lot of information about your daily travels.

According to the Apple website, the purpose of Frequent Locations is to improve services like predictive traffic routing and GPS, and the data that it collects isn’t shared with Apple or any other third party apps without your approval:

“To learn places that are significant to you, your iOS device will keep track of places you have recently been, as well as how often and when you visited them. This data is kept solely on your device and won’t be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.”

If you find this a little unsettling, here’s a video that teaches you how you can clear your location history and disable Frequent Locations’ ability to track your movements:

“Hello everyone, my name is Matthew and I’m from Platinum Data Recovery. Today we’re going to be showing you an interesting feature you can turn off on your iPhone device called the Frequent Location Services.

Basically what this does on your iPhone is it keeps track of where you’ve been, and when you’ve been there. The main reason why you would want to turn it off is mainly for security purposes, or you wouldn’t want someone to be able to go through your phone and see where you’ve been and when you were there. 

Go to Settings.

Click on Privacy, then Location Services.

You probably don’t want to turn off your location services entirely; really helpful apps like Google Maps use your location to help you navigate in real-time. Instead, scroll down to system services. 

Scroll down again and you’ll see Frequent Locations. Now all you have to do is clear your history, turn it off and you’re all done!

Hope you enjoyed this video. Please like, share, subscribe, and stay tuned for more helpful videos from Platinum Data Recovery.”

So there you have it, the dreaded Frequent Locations services has been disabled and your iPhone is no longer a “spyphone,” as one disgruntled iPhone owner described it.

If you’re ever seriously concerned about your private information and whether or not it’s being sent out to third party apps or to Apple, know that you can avoid accidentally sharing personal data by reading the Terms & Conditions of every app you download. Be careful to authorize only trustworthy third-party apps’ access to your private information.