Your iPhone Has a Hidden List of Every Location You’ve Been
It’s called the Significant Locations list, and you probably didn’t know it existed
Hiding in not-so-plain sight, deep within the depths of your iPhone’s settings (seven layers deep, to be exact) is a level of location tracking that very few iPhone users are aware of and probably won’t feel comfortable with.
Sure, many of us know that our iPhone generally tracks us when we use certain apps to enable it to share personalized information like the local weather, coffee shop recommendations, and more.
But in a quick survey I ran with some friends, not one person (out of dozens of people that I surveyed) knew where or how to navigate to this specific screen that I’m talking about here. It’s called the Significant Locations list.
The Significant Locations list shows a minute-by-minute route history of my exact whereabouts in every location I’ve been over the past few years.
For what it’s worth, Apple says this data isn’t shared without your permission. According to a support page outlining the company’s privacy policies for location services, the data collected by the Significant Locations feature “is encrypted and stored only on your device and will not be shared without your consent. It is used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing, and to build better Photos Memories.” You don’t need to worry about the data being used for marketing, or about an Apple employee snooping.
Still, Significant Locations is a stark reminder of how much data you generate through the simple act of walking around with your iPhone. And it’s similar to data that could be leveraged by other services when you grant them permission to access your location.
Now, I am actually a huge Apple fan. I generally fall on the side of being more open about sharing data and personal information with tech companies so as to improve my overall customized user experience. I know why they want the data, and I’m alright with it.
But when I first discovered this hidden location list, I felt it was a bit much…