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There’s a Hidden Map on Your iPhone That Tracks Everywhere You’ve Been

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Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

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Did you know your iPhone tracks and records everywhere you go?

A feature called “Significant Locations” introduced in iOS 7 tracks, records, and stores frequent places you visit, including the duration of your stay at each location.

According to Apple, this feature aims to allow your iPhone to learn what places mean to us, enabling it to provide custom services like traffic routing and better photos.

While Apple says providing better location-based data and suggestions is helpful, some people may find it creepy (including myself).

The same feature still exists in newer iOS versions, and it’s on by default.

The good news is you can disable it. This article will walk you through how to turn off your iPhone’s “Significant Locations” feature.

Turn Off iPhone Significant Locations

You can find Significant Locations in your iPhone settings. Here’s how to turn it off and delete all the saved locations.

1. Open the Settings app.

2. Tap Privacy & Security.

3. Then, select the very first option: Location Services. You’ll find Location Services turned ON by default and all the apps you allow to track your location.

You’ll see a lot of system services that use your location for various built-in features. You can turn off the ones you think you don’t need. But for this guide, jump to step #4 below.

4. Scroll to the bottom and select System Services.

iPhone settings showing system services
System Services in iOS Setting. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

5. Tap on Significant Locations. It might say Frequent Locations, depending on what iOS version is running on your iPhone.

Because Apple understands the importance of these data, it requires authentication via a passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

Once you’re in, you’ll see a list of all the frequent locations with the dates and time spent there.

iPhone settings showing significant locations
Steps to clear Significant Locations on an iPhone. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

6. At the bottom, you’ll see a list of all the locations you’ve been to. Tap Clear History to delete these locations on devices signed in with the same Apple ID.

iphone settings turning off significant locations
Disable Significant Location on an iPhone. Herby Jasmin/Gotechtor

7. Swipe the slider to the left to turn Significant Locations off. If the icon is no longer green, your iPhone will stop tracking locations you frequently visit.

Is Significant Locations a Security Risk? 

The notion that your iPhone collects data on all the places you frequently visit might be unsettling.

I completely understand; I was also taken aback when I discovered a record of locations spanning years, some of which I couldn’t even recall visiting.

However, for reassurance, Apple emphasizes that the data on your device is end-to-end encrypted, ensuring that only you and your iPhone can access it. This means neither Apple nor third-party apps can access this information.

You should know that your iCloud backups specifically exclude Significant Locations.

Therefore, if you switch to a new iPhone, you won’t be able to retrieve this particular set of data.

Should You Turn Off Significant Locations?

Turning off Significant Locations on your iPhone is a good idea if you are concerned about privacy and security.

If someone gains access to your device without your permission, they might get access to your frequently visited locations.

By disabling it, you can prevent privacy breaches in the future, particularly when third-party apps might gain access to your information.

In the end, you should only allow your iPhone to track the data they need to function properly.  

If you have any feedback or questions, please don’t hesitate to comment below.

Founder & Editor-in-Chief

Herby has a healthy obsession with all things technology, especially smartphones. He loves to rip things apart to see how they work. He is responsible for the editorial direction, strategy, and growth of Gotechtor.

Herby Jasmin

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6 thoughts on “There’s a Hidden Map on Your iPhone That Tracks Everywhere You’ve Been”

  1. If I turn off Significant locations, will my photos still have location info attached? Both current and untrue photos? Great Article. Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Mary,

      Yes, because the “Significant Locations” feature only tracks your whereabouts. To delete location data from your photos and videos follow these steps: Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Camera > Never.

      Let me know if you need further help.

      Reply

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