Hidden smartphone setting maps your every move

SEATTLE — It’s supposed to provide iPhone users the ability to see where they’ve been, but a hidden setting could also allow someone with access to the device see where the user has been and map their movements.

It’s called “locations services,” and many applications use it to provide location-based information for various iPhone apps.

Customers with concerns about a phone recording and even broadcasting their location have learned to turn off location services for particular applications except those needed to enable mapping programs and security measures. 

Those actions do not disable a deeper setting in the Apple IOS 7 mobile operating system which tracks a user’s frequent locations. If the wrong person got his hands on that device and was able to access it, he can easily learn the daily habits of the phone’s owner.

Students at the University of Washington volunteered their phones to see how easy it can be to see where the device has been. The frequent locations setting creates a map, and tapping on a specific locations reveals the dates and times of a particular visit and even how long you were there.

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Updated: July 11, 2014 — 7:26 pm

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