Cell Phones Are Tracking You

Local News

If you’re like most people – you watch Local 5 with a smartphone either in your hand or very close by.   Well inside that phone is a feature that tracks your every move. Local 5’s Kris Schuller has more on the information hidden inside your handheld device and what you can do to control it.

Deep inside your Apple iPhone, hidden away under your privacy settings, is a feature you probably never knew was there. But Brett Baierl from Camera Corner Connecting Point says it tracks your every move.

“I think people use it, but they don’t really know what it’s doing,” said Baierl. “It tracks everywhere that you are – all the time.”

It’s called “Significant Locations” – a feature that learns where you go and services you use in order to provide you useful information. But the detail of the data collected and stored may surprise you.

“It will show you where you were, how long you were there for, what time you were there, what time you got up, what time you arrived there, what time you left, it shows you everything,” Baierl said.

“It’s like a virtual lie detector,” said Jason Weber, public safety coordinator for Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Weber says the digital information stored on smartphones can often prove useful in police investigations. With location services, digitally placing someone near the scene of a potential crime.

“It can place that person within very close proximity of what we may be investigating,” Weber said.

“If you’re trying to hide yourself it’s going to know where you are and if you desperately don’t want someone to find you, there is always a way to find you,” Baierl said.

But Baierl says the feature can be disabled and your movements don’t have to be stored.

“You can go in and turn off these location-based services,” said Baierl.

Keeping your movements private, but eliminating the personalized services Apple says the feature provides.


Below is a step-by-step list of how to disable that function, should you desire (Note: This is for iPhones running iOS 11, other OS systems may be slightly different).

Step 1: Settings

Step 2: Privacy

Step 3: Location Services

Step 4:Scroll to the bottom, click System Services

Step 5: Significant Locations

Step 6: Enter password or fingerprint

Step  7: Toggle off (note: image included is on the OFF position)

Local 5 has provided a video of the steps below:

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