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How to Stop Your iPhone from Remembering Everywhere You Go, All the Time

Alyssa Bereznak
National Correspondent, Technology
April 30, 2014

You probably know that a lot of iPhone apps log your locations so they can offer directions or geographic-based recommendations. But did you know the iPhone keeps a separate, locally stored history of everywhere you’ve been?

Now you do! It’s called Frequent Locations, and as BuzzFeed recently found out, this cache of location info “contains a perfect record of where you’ve been in the last month or so. That includes the exact time you arrived at and left anywhere: your office, a bar, that person’s house.”

Yes, if you were somewhere you shouldn’t have been, it’s probably not helpful to keep a record of that. This feature has existed on iOS 7 since it was launched in September of 2013 last year. It doesn’t store everything, but if your iPhone were to fall into the hands of someone who knows about this feature, it could be disastrous. 

Here’s how to view that history. And, more importantly, how to shut it off:

1. Go to Settings.

2. Select Privacy.

3. Select Location Services.

4. Scroll all the way down to the bottom of the screen, and select System Services.

5. Select Frequent Locations.

6. To see where you’ve been, tap the bar under History at the bottom of the screen. This could be helpful for remembering where that wonderful café you stumbled upon is located. Or reminding you which street your new doctor’s office is on,

7. Your History takes into account your Home and Work locations (filtered in from Apple or Google Maps), and logs the number of times you visited, and the duration you stayed there. Tap a location to see all the specific times you’ve visited. I’m sharing mine below because I have nothing to hide.

8. These entries are not always entirely accurate. For instance, I have my settings adjusted so that location services kicks in only when I’m hooked up to WiFi (to save battery life). So, for me, the duration of a recorded visit depends on if and when I remembered to enable WiFi. (I swear I don’t show up to work at 3:30 p.m.)

8. Once you’re done looking at all that noise, go back to the Frequent Locations page. If you want to delete any trace of your whereabouts, tap Clear History at the bottom of the page. 

9. Then turn Frequent Locations off.

Now you can travel around your town without worrying that your phone is recording your every move. The NSA, on the other hand, I can’t speak for.

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