Your iPhone is watching you.

You may remember a couple of years back that iPhones were secretly tracking your every move. This data was susceptible to attacks through a hidden file that iTunes copied to your computer when you synchronised it. Apple quickly addressed the issue and removed the exploit. I actually like to have my location tracked. I turned it on with the Google app for iOS and I even uploaded that original iTunes file to an open data project. The only caveat is, I like to know it’s being tracked, and I like to know what it’s being used for.

The iOS7 secret

iOS7 is tracking your every move. It’s recording key locations you visit in your life and it’s using those to improve its mapping facility. It knows where you live and it knows where you often visit. Question is, did you know? I certainly didn’t.

Yeah but the little location icon pops up in the top right corner, correct?”

Certainly, apps like Google Maps, Google and anything which uses your GPS location trigger the icon in the top right.. But it’s a little more shady for Apple’s latest option hidden way down in the location settings of your phone. You’ll probably never notice the little icon ever appear.

Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services (bottom) > Frequent Locations

Yes it’s all likely innocent, yes it’s likely private data but, hiding it under a general “Enable location services” when you first setup your phone is a little sneaky. And hiding it under 5 difficult menus is just wrong.

For example, the Google app drops the icon in the bottom left corner, and is open about how and why they track your information. And you have to opt in to that specific feature.

Google's method