We’ve all become lax with our privacy in the Facebook age, but this iPhone feature may take things a bit too far. Buried deep (deep) in your privacy settings is an automated feature that records every place you’ve ever visited, every time you’ve been there.
After reading about the Big Brother-esque app on Thrillest, I went to my settings to see how much it really knew about me. Turns out it could pinpoint my apartment here in New York, the address of the house I stayed in during a recent to trip to Boston, and my home address back in Michigan. In fact, your iPhone lists all of the exact locations of the major cities you’ve been recently.
If that isn’t disconcerting enough, beneath every location you’ve visited, it lists the number of recorded visits in a certain time period. If you click on a location, it will list out all of the times and dates of your visit. That terrible bar I spent too much time in a few weeks ago? Recorded for posterity. The fact that my mom wasn’t lying when she complained that I visited friends more often than her when I was home for the weekend? Easily provable.
Want to turn it off? (I assume so.) Here’s how:
- Go to the Settings menu, select Privacy
- Select Location Services
- Scroll down (really far) to the bottom (keep going) and select System Services
- Scroll and select Frequent Locations
- Get sufficiently creeped out by how much your iPhone knows about you
- Select ‘Clear History’ and swipe the Frequent Locations tab left
How to keep your phone from tracking you in the first place? Keep your Location Services off, and only turn them on when you’re lost or, say, need an Uber. If you want to leave Location Services on at all times, just turn “Frequent Locations” off. Since all wireless phones are required by law to have a GPS locator built in for emergencies, your location still won’t be totally anonymous. But this way, a history of everywhere you’ve been won’t be so easy to see.