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Deep-Cover iPhone Map Records Your Every Move

October 2, 2016 by  

iPhone Frequent Locations map

Smartphones have brought instant accessibility and invaluable tools to our lives in under a decade. No more does a manly man need to struggle to find a tough location, and fight with the missus over “pulling over” for directions. The Waze app takes care of that—in all-but the most remote locations in the US. Need to know which way that thunderstorm is tracking so you can decide if you’re going to the track today? No problem, MyRadar serves it up smooth. And, of course, our smartphones enable our 24×7 tether to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, so no sushi outing will go unreported. We’ll leave it to a future debate as to whether all this accessibility is good or bad for society.

But, and we’re speaking to iPhone users now, did you know that there is an on-by-default “feature” in your phone’s operating system that keeps a running list of every place you visit and displays it on a map?

“Frequent Locations” is buried six menus deep in your settings app and, like a pocket detective, keeps tabs on where you’ve been so it can project where you’re going.

The reason for this is so apps using “Location Services” can access the data to make recommendations and certain assumptions about your habits, thus enhancing your iPhone experience. But we found it just a *bit* creepy, even though Apple is on record as saying this information is saved only on the specific device.

Here’s what we found on our iPhone (just before we cleared the history and turned the capability off). First, how to find the map:

From your "Home" screen, tap "Settings."

From your “Home” screen, tap “Settings.”

In Settings, tap "Privacy."

In Settings, tap “Privacy.”

In Privacy, tap "Location Services"

In Privacy, tap “Location Services”

In Location Services, scroll to the bottom and tap "System Services"

In Location Services, scroll to the bottom and tap “System Services”

In System Services, tap "Frequent Locations"

In System Services, tap “Frequent Locations”

In Frequent Locations, tap "United States.  At the top of this screen is the toggle to turn off this function. At the bottom is the link to clear your history.

In Frequent Locations, tap “United States.” At the top of this screen is the toggle to turn off this function. At the bottom is the link to clear your history (do that first, if you are disabling it).

iPhone Frequent Locations map

And here we have it! The map of all our movements the past month or so. Trip to Louisville, family camping trip in Wisconsin, trip to Interbike in Las Vegas, our road trip to Rock Hill, SC, as well as some around-town locations at home. Even a Starbucks stop along a West Virginia Interstate as we were driving to Rock Hill.

Up to you if you want to turn it off, or let it keep doing its thing. We thought it was interesting enough to share.


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