How To Disable Location Tracking on Your iPhone

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It’s surprising, after all Snowden revelations, to see how few people really consider the repercussions of the mobile-enabled tracking and profiling. If you are one of them, you probably know that your smartphone is set to track you by default. Android, Windows Phone or iOS, the operating system has all the tracking toggles switched on, as much as your car’s event data recorder, or your smart TV and smart DVR. So, what makes you think your iPhone is different?

In fact, Apple’s been tracking your moves since iOS 7, and by tracking we don’t mean your browsing history, but your physical locations at any given moment. The level of detail that display where you have been, well at least your phone, is impressive – when, for how long, how frequent. It’s a Klondike database for the Cheaters show!

Now, if you want to check if your iPhone has this feature enabled, and turn it off, here is what you should do:

Clipboard-5Go to Settings
Location Services
System Services
Frequent Locations
tap Clear History
Slide to turn off the Frequent Locations feature

I feel I need to lay down after that. Before you clear the history, you should marvel at (or get creeped out by) the masterpiece of a log of where you’ve been with your second official girlfriend last St. Valentine’s day, or where you really were when you said you were visiting your sick Grandmother (who actually died when you were 3). Jokes aside, there is a name for that, and it’s called privacy invasion. Depending on how bad a boy/girl/it’s complicated you have been, Santa might not be coming this year if he finds out “what you did last summer.” Irrespective of whether you are a cheater, or simply want to protect your private information from falling in the wrong hands, we suggest you keep that toggle off terminally.

Apple claims the history is kept locally, on your device only, that is unless you give Apple your “consent” to upload it to its servers. When exactly was or will be this consent asked for is probably buried somewhere in the EULA, Privacy Policy, Terms of Service or some other long and boring document we agree to by default without reading.


If you wish to keep your iPhone from tracking you at all times, keep the Location Services off. If you are using location-based apps, like Uber, you can turn the Location Services on when you need them. This is inconvenient, but privacy is worth it. Alternatively, you can have the Location Services on at all times, but disable the Frequent Locations only. One way or another, your smartphone has a GPS for emergency cases, so the big brother still has a way to locate you.

Sporting an Android device? Check out how to disable location tracking on Android!