There’s a feature on your iPhone that tracks your frequent locations on a map and logs the times you arrived and departed. Here’s how to access it and turn it off, in case this freaks you out.
Frequent locations is believed to have featured on iPhones since 2013. It tracks where each user goes, how often they go there, and for how long. This feature is automatically turned on and users are never told it is running. The button to turn it off is buried at the bottom of five different menu screens.
It is perhaps no secret that mapping services in your phone have long been able to identify where you’re going and record how often you go there.
But it will perhaps come as a shock to Apple users to discover that their phones are actually plotting that information on an actual map that they can access.
Even more shocking, when you actually open that map, is how much information your device is secretly collecting on you – including the date and time of your visits to particular locations, and how long you stayed there for each time.
The feature has existed at least since the launch of iOS 7, which was launched in June 2013 and had been installed on 89 per cent of devices by 2014, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.
The map, called Frequent Locations, appears to be automatically enabled for most iPhone users who are left completely unaware of its existence – unless you know where to look.
In order to access the map, users must go to the Settings menu on their phones, before scrolling through to find the Privacy menu.
From there, go to Location Services, then find System Services and scroll down to find Frequent Locations.
Here, you will be given access to the rather disturbing amount of data that your iPhone has been collecting on your whereabouts, all without telling you.
Apple has previously stated that the map exists only on each device, meaning the data cannot be accessed by other companies or security services.
However, if the phone is internet-enabled, as almost all smartphones are, then it raises the prospect that hackers could get hold of the information remotely.
Perhaps more troubling is the prospect that anybody who steals or finds the phone will be able to access it and then use it to find the victim’s home address – before going there to steal more.
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