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Apple confirms 'Frequent Locations' tracking option in iOS 7

updated 11:31 am EDT, Thu August 8, 2013

Revives old concerns about privacy

Apple has confirmed the existence of a "Frequent Locations" option in iOS 7 beta 5, reports say. Leaving it on allows an iPhone or iPad to "learn places you frequently visit in order to provide useful location-related information," according to descriptive text. People can moreover see a rough map of where they've been since installing iOS 7, and even how long and how often they've been to a particular place.

Tracking is essential to apps like Siri and Reminders, which need to know where a person lives and works, for instance, for some functions to work. Some people have expressed concern however, since the idea of a viewable location history is reminiscent of the 2011 "locationgate," when it was discovered that iOS 4 was not only tracking location histories but creating backups of them that could be accessed by someone with a stolen/borrowed device. iOS 4.3 halted the creation of these backups.

iOS 7's history display may be intended to offer more transparency. At the moment, iOS 6 lacks not only the display, but also an option to turn off history tracking without also disabling location services entirely.



By Electronista Staff
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Comments

  1. cashxx

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: 04-13-09

    At least you can turn it off it seems. Google probably tracks and hides everything and sells it to the advertisers its real customers.

  1. Jeronimo2000

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 08-20-01

    You'd THINK they were a bit more sensitive. Has anyone ever missed a functionality like this? I dare assume: no. Is it wise to offer a feature that gives off a certain "big brother" vibe, in these days of NSA snooping etc.? Hell no. The media is already having a field day with this, headlines like "Your iPhone knows where you were last night" won't do much to improve Apple's image.

  1. Charles Martin

    MacNN Editor

    Joined: 08-04-01

    Jeronimo2000: with respect, anyone who owns a smartphone and doesn't know that it -- by necessity -- has to track where it is all of the time (so that it can, for example, make and receive calls using the nearest cell tower) is really in need of a modicum of education and common sense.

    And this is *before* you turn on the "Find My iPhone" or "Friend Finder" type features that require you to agree to use Location Services. A smartphone *by definition* knows where it is at all times. That it happens to be with you most of that time is an after-effect of its core functionality.

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