Apple was quick to respond when its latest iPhone 11 phones were found to still transmitting GPS information even after all applications that needed it had their access disabled, providing assurances that this information never leaves your phone but rather used internally for regulatory compliance compliance purposes.
Keep in mind that keeping location tracking active all the time can have serious adverse consequences on both battery life and privacy. To stop it, follow these steps.
- Go to Settings
As soon as a call comes in, iPhone automatically switches between Wi-Fi and cellular data to save on costs and prevent overage charges; but this could reveal your location to those calling you. To stop that happening automatically, turn on “Item Safety Alerts” in Settings app so you’ll know if someone calling uses tracking apps that reveal it.
This feature will still work even if you turn off location services on your phone, which is great. Unfortunately, however, it does not stop tracking apps from accessing your location; to prevent tracking apps from tracking you further you must still manually turn off Location Services within each app – either using Settings > Privacy or by going directly into each one and switching off their Location Services manually.
Some apps are known to track your location continuously, which can drain battery and compromise privacy. You can check for this in the Settings app > General > Background app refresh and turn it off for any apps that track you too frequently.
For iMessages, another way of protecting your privacy is to switch off Send Read Receipts – although this will only work if both people involved use iMessages themselves; nevertheless it provides another layer of defense against message hijacking and other privacy concerns.
Enable the Find My iPhone feature in the Settings menu to quickly and securely locate any lost or stolen phones and take action to protect yourself, such as remotely locking the device so it cannot be misused by thieves.
Apple’s new iPhone 11 phones have recently caused controversy due to their collection of location data despite their settings to “limit location sharing.” Security researchers discovered this fact by finding a file in an iPhone backup containing time and location details for every place the phone had been. Without encryption on backups this file can be easily accessed by anyone who owns it; Apple claims this practice ensures their phones meet regulatory requirements for ultra-wideband technology as it will remain within their device itself and never leave.
- Go to Privacy
Apple recently admitted to keeping a file on iPhones that stores data about user locations even when location services have been disabled, following an outrage over Google tracking user movements and an Apple CEO criticizing Android phones (though likely unknowingly); an admission that may have overblown an already controversial issue.
Files that store your location are cached temporarily on your phone. This allows it to reduce the amount of time it has to search for cellular towers and GPS data by remembering known locations, saving battery life while connecting more quickly to Wi-Fi networks. Furthermore, according to Apple they use this data for security reasons by keeping people from accessing it without permission.
However, having location services enabled all the time can quickly drain battery life and compromise privacy. To maintain control and preserve privacy you can see which apps have pinged your location individually and turn off their access accordingly. Furthermore you can turn off background app refresh which causes apps to continually look for data which reduces battery life significantly.
- Go to Location Services
Many apps require access to your location data in order to work effectively, and you can control this individually in the settings app under Privacy and Location Services. For instance, Facebook Camera needs location services enabled so it can tag photos taken with it; however, you have the option to turn this feature off and stop tracking your position when taking pictures with it.
iOS offers both app-level controls as well as system-wide settings. To access them, scroll down and tap System Services within the Location Services menu. Here, you can see a list of applications which have utilized your location within 24 hours and adjust their settings, disable Location Services altogether for specific apps or only activate them when active on screen.
By default, your iPhone keeps track of your frequent locations to help Apple improve the accuracy of Maps; you can opt-out at any time by going into Settings app > Privacy & Location Services > System Services and searching Frequent Locations.
Settings in this menu allow your phone to alter how it connects with Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices, helping save battery power while speeding up the process of joining these devices.
Some apps use your GPS information to track your location while others just want to know your exact position in order to serve up relevant content, like weather apps or ride sharing services that utilize location to show ads. If battery life becomes an issue for these applications, simply go into settings and turn off background location updates from them in order to extend battery life.
Apple provides more details on how it stores your data by visiting its transparency page. According to Apple, data spanning one year’s worth of location history may be stored, as each cell tower and Wi-Fi network your iPhone encounters is recorded and uploaded directly into a cloud service; unfortunately due to a bug this data could even be uploaded even when Location Services have been disabled.
- Go to Frequent Locations
As soon as security researchers revealed that an iPhone backup contains a file with time and location data, media attention exploded. Luckily, however, this data is only stored locally on an individual phone rather than being uploaded into iTunes or iCloud and can be toggled off via privacy settings menu.
One caveat, however, is that certain apps require this data in order to function. For example, apps like Traffic use Frequent Locations to provide commute information via Notification Center and CarPlay as well as allow certain other location features to work optimally.
Apple maintains that this information should only be stored for no more than seven days and has announced an update that addresses issues raised by security researchers (namely that files remain even when location-based services have been disabled and data collection goes on for so long).
iPhones can do many useful tricks that can come in handy around the home and workplace, from using it as a level with Compass app to alert tricks like creating custom vibrations for contacts. But there are also features you may not want your family knowing about, like their habit of tracking where you have been; to disable this feature go to Settings > Privacy> Location Services> System Services and scroll down until Frequent Locations are displayed and disable this option there.