iOS7 Has Been Stalking Me

7 Aug, 2013

iOS7 Beta has a setting enabled by default on iPhones (I’m not seeing the same feature on my iPad) that is automatically tracking and storing users’ movements. Given the recent attention and outcry over NSA tracking and privacy, I’m sure this is going to ruffle quite a few feathers.

iOS7 Location Services

If you have iOS7 running on an iPhone, you can follow these steps to find (and turn off) this tracking feature:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Tap Privacy
  3. Tap Location Services
  4. Scroll to the bottom and tap System Services
  5. Tap Frequent Locations (on the bottom of a list of several enabled location system services that you may also want to turn off depending on your level of comfort with broadcasting location data)
  6. Disable Frequent Locations (on the top of the screen; pictured above), and clear your history (on the bottom of the screen)

The phone lists a history of locations you’ve visited including detailed dates and times for each location, and, as you can see, the interface even displays the data on a map:

iOS7 Location Services Map

First and foremost, I’m not pleased that Apple’s assumption is that everyone wants to have this feature automatically enabled. There is a double-edged sword to this type of data being collected by your phone. While location data can absolutely improve the user experience via the ability to present more contextually relevant information, it can also be used (as we’ve seen quite a bit in the news) to harvest information that many people would rather not share. And it’s harvesting—even mapping—that information by default without most peoples’ knowledge. Ask yourself, would you want someone picking up your phone and being able to see your detailed location history?

Posted in Mobile, Technology | Comments Off on iOS7 Has Been Stalking Me

Comments are closed.