Leave a comment

Warning: Your phone tracks everywhere you have been

Warning: Your phone tracks everywhere you have been
© Gaudilab | Dreamstime.com

Where were you yesterday? What about a week ago? How about last month? Last year? Sure, you might enjoy knowing these things if Facebook is telling you with its "On This Day" feature. But what if your smartphone knew all these things ... and you didn't know it knew?

As creepy as it might seem, your phone knows everywhere you’ve been. It’s scary to see your most visited locations listed out in a feature called Frequent Locations on iPhones. Conversely, Google Location History follows you around on Android gadgets too.

When you open your Frequent Locations and Location History, you can see where you've been, the time period you were there and how long you stayed (up to 30 days worth of history for Google users). You can also see how many times you have visited a particular location.

These features could be helpful with everyday tasks like calculating the time it will take you to drive from your home to your workplace or establishments you visit frequently. Additionally, the data can be useful for dining and shopping recommendations and yep, targeted advertising.

Location services are also necessary for finding a lost phone or help locate you in case of an emergency.

While turning on these features have obvious benefits, many users have expressed concern over the threat of a thief or a hacker getting their hands on this information, things like your home or work address. Not to mention snoops and nosey neighbors too.

The Frequent Locations feature has been around since 2013 but things have certainly changed since then!

Both Apple and Android have significantly expanded the use of location tracking as well as the number of apps that do too. Here's how you can see your own maps and turn them off for both Apple and Android.

How to see Apple's Frequent Locations

Frequent Locations can be viewed in list form, or on a map. To find them on your iPhone, just go to Settings >> Privacy >> Location Services >> System Services >> Frequent Locations.

Note: System Services is located all the way down at the bottom of the list, so keep scrolling until you see it. (See screenshot.)

Within the frequent locations section, you'll see a list of the areas you've visited most often. You can then tap on each listing for more details about the specific places you've gone, and how long you stayed there. You can also clear your history if you'd like to delete these records.

How to turn Apple's Frequent Locations off

In order to turn off Apple's Frequent Locations features, go to Settings >> Privacy >> Location Services >> System Services >> Frequent Locations and toggle it off.

 Note: To view the actual map and a dropped pin of a specific frequent location, tap an entry.

You can also eliminate your history here by clicking "Clear History."

Watch this Komando.com flash tip for a visual guide.

How to find Android's Location History

To find Google's Location History on Android, go to your Settings >> Google >> Location >> Google Location History. (See screenshots.)

How to turn Android's Location History off

In order to deactivate an Android (2.3 and up) device's location history feature, go to Settings >> Google >> Location >> Google Location History and turn off. You can also access this screen through a separate app called Google Settings.

In order to delete your location history, your path is Settings >> Google >> Location History >> Delete Location History.

Note: To view a map of your Android gadget's Location history, tap "Manage Activities."

If you want to only delete certain sections or individual bits and pieces, you'll want to sign into your Google Account and go to Google Maps. Here you can delete locations by date or location, one by one.

For further reading, here are more of our privacy tips you may be interested in:

How to save money on your cable bill
Previous Tips

How to save money on your cable bill

Cloud services: How do they compare?
Next Tips

Cloud services: How do they compare?

View Comments ()