My Blog · April 26, 2022

iPhone Hidden Location Map Could Track your Real-world Movement

The Significant Locations app can track all your locations, including the place you’re currently in, and locations you visited in the past.

iPhones and Android devices are two different types of smartphones you’ll find out there. Both of these devices have their strengths and weaknesses. For instance, people often say that iPhones are pretty much easy to use. As for Android devices, many people opt for them because they are pretty easy to configure and customize. Irrespective of how simple to use iPhones are, one thing you can take away from them is that they often launch with hidden features. Here’s a burning question, are you aware that iPhones have a hidden location map that could track your real-life movement?

This post will only focus on sharing everything you need to know about Apple’s hidden location map, including how to disable it.

What is the iPhone hidden location map and how does it work?

As earlier mentioned, Apple’s iPhones often launch with hidden features. If care is not taken, users might never locate these offerings. A good example of hidden features on iOS devices is the iPhone location map. This map, also known as the Significant Locations, is designed to work directly with your iPhone’s Location Services.

In case you don’t know, Apple’s Location Services is an offering that uses location to improve several products on iOS devices. “Frequent Locations,” a feature that first came with iOS 8, is one of the many products that Location Services work with.

The name ‘Frequent Locations’ changed to ‘Significant Locations’ with the introduction of iOS 10. You’ll also find this feature on devices with higher iOS versions, including iOS 14. According to Apple, the Significant Locations app can track all your locations, including the place you’re currently in, and locations you visited in the past. The map works by showing the minute-by-minute route history of locations you’ve visited in the past years.

Let’s have a quick look at how Significant Locations work below:

  • The iPhone Significant Locations feature allows your smartphone to use Location Service.
  • Once you turn on Location Services, the Significant Locations app will allow your smartphone to places that are significant to you.
  • After that, it then provides useful location-related data in maps, photos, calendars, and many more.

Is the iPhone Significant Locations app safe?

In the past, there were arguments regarding the safety of the iPhone’s hidden location map. Many people mentioned that the Significant Locations feature was entirely safe while others believed it wasn’t. Well, this is what I have to say about it below:

According to Apple, the iPhone Significant Locations app is entirely safe as it’s end-to-end encrypted and the company cannot read it. Furthermore, the app is not accessible via iCloud. Even your friends will need to get past a Face ID or Touch ID lock first before they could gain access to it. But is this enough reason to have the Significant Locations app enabled on your iPhone?

No doubt, what happens on the iPhone stays on the iPhone. And since Apple doesn’t have access to the encrypted location data on Significant Locations, we can say that the app is indeed safe. But you need to understand that some data don’t always need capturing in the first place.

That begs this question, do you really need your iPhone tracking all your movement? Left to me, I believe the Significant Locations app doesn’t offer any real benefit. The feature is always on by default but you can always turn it off if you feel the need for it.

How to turn off the hidden location map?

The Significant Locations app is a hidden feature that’s buried under the settings app. So, for you to turn it off, you need to first locate the app.

  • First, you need to open your Settings app.
  • Next, find and tap on the Privacy tab.
  • After that, locate and click on the “Location Services” tab. On this page, you’ll find System Services, right at the bottom end; so tap on it.
  • Next, locate and click on the Significant Locations tab. Here, you’ll need to log in with your passcode, Touch ID, or Face ID.

After successfully logging in your details, you’ll find a toggle bar right beside the Significant Locations option. Toggle the feature off.

How to clear Significant Locations history

Since you’ve already turned off the Significant Locations app, you might as well need to delete the previously-stored location data on your iPhone.

  • To do that, you need to first open the Settings app.
  • After that, click on the Privacy option. Next, locate and tap on the “Location Services” tab.
  • Under the “Location services” tab, locate System Services and click on it.
  • Now, you can look for the Significant Locations tab. After that, tap Clear History to delete all stored location data.

Is your Significant Locations app not working?

Some iPhone users, who switched to iOS 15 recently complained that the Significant Locations feature didn’t work for them after receiving the update. After looking at several reports regarding the issue, I found out that it’s bug-related.

Interestingly, there’s a workaround that you can try if you’re currently experiencing a situation where the Significant Locations feature is not working.

  • First, open Google Maps on your iPhone.
  • Next, tap on your Profile icon and go for ‘Your data in Maps’!
  • After that, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap on the ‘Download your Maps data’ tab.
  • Now, you’ll be redirected to the ‘Google Takeout’ screen. On the screen, choose the data types you want to export.
  • After that, tap Next step, select the Frequency and then tap Create export.

With the steps above, you should be able to see every location data generated by your Significant Locations app.

How to Change Location on iPhone?

Changing your location on your iPhone is not as hard as you may have thought. To do that, all you need is to follow the simple steps below:

  • First, you need to open the Settings tab.
  • Next, tap on your name and then Media & Purchases.
  • After that, tap on the View Account tab. You’ll most likely need to sign in with your details.
  • Next, tap on the Country/Region tab. After that, tap on Country.
  • Now, you need to select your new preferred region from the available list.
  • Review terms and conditions and then agree to them.

Conclusion

Here’s a quick question: should you continue using Significant Locations? I believe the answer to this question should come directly from you. Left to me, I don’t feel any reason why my iPhone should track my real-world movement. But you might not feel the same way, which is pretty fine. Since it’s end-to-end encrypted, the app is certainly safe to use. But is it 100% safe?