Should you turn off location tracking on your iPhone?

The location tracking feature on your phone can be useful, especially when used with certain apps.

Should you turn off location tracking on your iPhone?

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Your iPhone constantly tracks and stores your location. There is a way to turn it off, but should you?

It turns out it’s not an easy question. The location tracking feature on your phone can be useful, especially when used with certain apps, but it also means that where you are and how long you’re there are all being stored on your phone.

It’s been five years since we found out that our iPhones are constantly tracking and keeping information about where we are. The man who discovered it is now the head of the Cyber Forensics Research and Education Group at the University of New Haven.

“It was done in such a way that the user would not know that the location was being collected,” said the man himself, Professor Ibrahim “Abe” Baggili. “A lot of people did not like that.”

When Professor Baggili uncovered uncovered the tracking five years ago, there was no option to turn it off. Apple has changed its mind and now there is an off switch. It seems like a no-brainer, right? You stop the creepy phone from stalking you. The things is, if you’re already Instagramming everything about your life, and tweeting about it, and checking in on Facebook, then it doesn’t really matter if your locations are turned on, because you’ve pretty much given up your cyber-privacy anyway.

“The question you might want to ask yourself, though,” said Professor Baggili, “is would you like to keep your house door open for people to come in, and that’s really what’s going on with the technology.”

Just yesterday we saw another use for phone tracking. Police say 22 year-old Jaron Jenkins of New Britain carjacked a couple in Hamden. The woman’s iPhone was still in the car, so police were able to track the phone and find the car. The car ended up getting totaled in a high speed police chase, but the point is, they found it.

Police find location tracking very useful when investigating all kinds of bad guys. But that’s not why Apple put it in there. They put it in there to make money. Take the travel app Wayz, for instance.

“Nowadays, as you’re trveling around on Wayz, sometimes you see special offers for locations you are in close proximity to,” Baggili said. “Like maybe go and buy a burger for $5 less, or something like that.”

So, when it comes to location tracking, what does an expert like Professor Baggili do with his own phone?

“I use Uber sometimes,” he explained. “I only turn on my location so that I can use Uber so that the cab can come and pick me up. But then, after that’s done, I turn it off.”

  • To see for yourself what you phone knows about you, do this:
  • Go to your iPhone’s settings, select “Privacy”
  • Then go to “Location Services”
  • Scroll all the way down until you get to “System Services”
  • Tap “Frequent Locations” and you can see all the places you’ve been and how long you’ve been there.

Copyright 2015 WTNH

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