Hidden within your iPhone is a list of locations. What are the locations you may ask? Oh, nothing really just everywhere you’ve ever been since you have had your iPhone. No big deal, right? WRONG.
Now, if that statement at the beginning of the article caught you by surprise, it should. As an avid iPhone user, I have always had a feeling location services were tracking my iPhone.
Further, if you think about it, many apps use location services to provide their service. For example, the weather app, maps, and so many more.
So when I came across the Significant Locations “feature” I definitely needed to take a look at it.
What Are Significant Locations?
To begin, the Significant Locations is a feature that tracks and saves the locations that you visit the most. The goal of this feature is to provide an enhanced user experience.
The tracked data from your locations allows Apple to send you location alerts, locate you car and create photo memories by mapping them. These are just a few of the features that scratch the surface of what Apple can do with Significant Locations.
Continuing, you may be wondering if Apple can actually see the data collected. The answer is no. This is due to the fact that all collected tracking data is encrypted. Only the iPhone user can access it through touch ID or entering a pass code.
Now you may be wondering how to access this data. Apple does a nice job of tucking away this feature. The following bullet points and images will map out how to access your significant locations.
- Location Services
- Scroll to the bottom to find System Services
- Scroll down to Significant Locations
- View locations
When you take a look at the Significant Locations, each location is grouped. So, you may visit your hometown and it tracks that. When you click your hometown and open the section, within that is more information.
This information is places within your hometown you visit. For example, the grocery store, coffee shop and even your grandma’s house.
If you location isn’t enough to be tracked, it also tracks the date you were at a location as well as how long. So say you stop into your favorite coffee shop, grab a drink and head out.
It will track the 10 minutes you were in the establishment and store it in Significant Locations.
Continuing on through my research, I discovered that this feature been tracking my location since 2017 when I purchased my iPhone. I’ve spent a good amount of time scrolling through my locations and looking at time stamps.
In this day in age I feel like I should be more surprised than I am. But, a career in cyber security will do that to you. I do have to say that out of all this, I do utilize the location feature for several apps. But, I am more hesitant to having Apple collect information on all of my whereabouts.
How to Turn off Significant Locations
Ah yes, this is the good part. Are you ready to get of the Significant Locations tracking list? I will show you how.
Under the Significant Locations tab in Settings:
- Tap the button next to Significant Locations.
- On the pop up, tap Turn Off
- Button will turn white when off
Users also have the ability to delete all tracked locations that have been collected. To do this, scroll down to the bottom of the Significant Locations tab. At the bottom, past all the locations, a Clear History button is there. Simply tap it to delete the previously tracked locations.
You have now escaped this particular method of data tracking from Apple.
In short, I have one question for you. Are the features that are enabled by Significant Locations worth just leaving the feature on? I do enjoy a nice vacation wrap up video months after I return. Apple uses the location of the pictures taken to group my photos from a trip together and make me a video.
Is this how they get you? Tweet me and let me know! @cyberprotectgrp
By Taylor Ritchey