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One huge area where many privacy related issues pop up is with our cell phones. Practically everyone carries a mobile device around with them and they are never far from our reach. Cell phones are loaded with technology and applications that make life easier. They allow you to do your banking and shopping on them, access email and social accounts, get directions, and do countless other things all at your fingertips. Most, if not all, of them also come pre-loaded with a variety of applications and programs. These are usually buried deep within other apps and settings, and not a lot of people know exactly what they are meant to do or that they are even there.
One such feature happens to be the Apple iPhone “Frequent Locations” app. It’s pre-loaded on all of the latest iPhone operating systems and tracks the places you visit most often. But it goes beyond just that, it also keeps track of the time you arrive and depart each place, and saves all of the data it compiles into a log. Most people have no idea this app and information exists at all, and some think it’s going too far and amounts to an invasion of their privacy.
Apple defended the data gathering and explained that “this data is kept solely on your device and won’t be sent to Apple without your consent.” Instead, they described the intent of the program in the following language “It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.” (source; Apple.com). If you feel that the “Frequent Locations” app is something unnecessary or invasive, you can turn it off. The following is directions on where to find the app in your iPhone and instructions on how to switch it off:
1) Go to the main menu and select “Settings”
2) Scroll down and click on “Privacy”
3) Under that menu select “Location Services”
4) Scroll down and click on “System Services”
5) Scroll to the bottom and select “Frequent Locations”
6) Under that tab you will have the option to turn it on or off
Also, under the “Frequent Locations” menu, at the bottom, you can view the history of all the locations you have visited. This has led to many people using it as a way to keep tabs on their significant others or kids, and has thus likely been a source of many problems. Furthermore, the public’s response to news of the app has been mostly general disdain. Many have expressed that they’re not happy with the program coming pre-loaded and switched on, and view it as invasive, unnecessary, and even slightly creepy. All in all, if you want to maintain as much privacy as you possibly can, it’s best to turn off the frequent locations app.
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