guardian.co.uk

Security researchers have discovered that Apple’s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronised.

The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner’s movements using a simple program.

For some phones, there could be almost a year’s worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple’s iOS 4 update to the phone’s operating system, released in June 2010.

“Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you’ve been,” said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.

You can get the iPhone Tracker Application here.




  1. Joe says:

    Seems kind of redundant to track what individual Apple users are doing, since they’re all lemmings and do the same things anyway.

  2. dusanmal says:

    This underlines danger form electronic device manufacturers mindset that they own your device, Apple being a leader in that train of thought (not even a customer replaceable battery). Customers must fight back against these companies who grab control over them as if they are Progressives on Solar powered fast train.
    Just say no to devices you cant fully control without “jail breaking”… Who have placed ourselves in that jail without a trial? – We, ourselves.
    Can’t be done? – My e-book reader is perfect example that it can. Manufacturer will legally unlock it (give you root access) with a warranty waiver if you do something stupid with such power… Can be done.

  3. chuck says:

    Must be boring have to read all those logs:

    Monday, 11:33am – user enters Apple store, purchases new MacBook.
    Monday, 12:02pm – user e-mails everyone he knows tell them about the MacBook he bought at Apple store.
    Monday, 14:26pm – user plays Angry Birds for 168 minutes.
    Monday, 21:30pm – user goes to Apple web-site, browsing MacBooks again. User-click analysis suggests user is only using one hand.
    Tuesday, 09:02am – user enters Apple store, inquires about screen cleaning products.

  4. Dallas says:

    That is way cool to look back and see where I’ve been!! I need to download the app and try it out.

    Pedro, Alph let’s compare notes. I bet Pedro went to the gay bars twice as many times as I did and Alph favored a certain public bathroom.

  5. McCullough says:

    This will come in handy at Obama’s Gestapo checkpoints.

    Nice work Apple!!!!!

    You are in charge whether you want this kind of intrusion in your life.

  6. Likes2LOL says:

    Remember the 1984 commercial? What goes around, comes around…

  7. Ned Ludd says:

    But…..but…..how can this BE? After all, megagigantic corporations LOVE me! They ONLY care about me being HAPPY! All their commercials TELL me so! Why, the only reason they even EXIST is because they CARE! Gosh, I’m SHOCKED!

    Gee, maybe I should just learn to live without their overpriced Nazi “must-haves”, and…..oh-NO-NO-NO! I must not think such antisocial, un-American thoughts! I must be just like everybody else, or (GASP!) they won’t let me into the Retard Club! I won’t be COOL and HIP and FRESH and AWESOME! (sob)

  8. chuck says:

    What’s weird is, there are apps you can get which do the same thing. (Apps which track you on ski hills, or hiking trails.)

    So Apple is secretly spying on you.
    And some people are buying apps which they use to spy on themselves.

  9. tgeeka says:

    Anybody find it interesting this is release on the day they are suppose to announce earnings?

  10. Les is Moore says:

    This explains why my 2nd gen iphone started running crappy after the 4.x update, I guess the hardware just couldn’t keep up.

    What’s up with all the Apple hate? Clearly you have never used one of their devices. When I purchased my iphone 3G it was after trying two significantly more expensive devices by samsung and LG, and I traded “down” to the $200 apple product, which simply did everything I wanted better. My “phone” was a tool. No more and no less, and it allowed me access to information and services that made my life easier. It had zero to do with being cool, which no one who ever knew me would accuse me of.

    Hating on someone because of their phone is every bit as stupid as liking someone or thinking that someone will like you because of your phone.

  11. BigBoyBC says:

    Kind of explains why Michigan State Police are extracting your cell phone data during traffic stops.

  12. msbpodcast says:

    If you’re accused of something, your tracking data can be used to clear you, (a far more likely scenario since I doubt that this site is visited by criminals and thugs [well most of you anyway. :-])

    Surveillance cuts both ways.

  13. EnemyOfTheState says:

    #12;
    Wow! That is just so ass-backwards.

  14. duh365 says:

    At least I will know how the black helicopters found me.

  15. gus grn says:

    Clearly well over a years worth of data based on the points shown but kind of useless since not a single point is on my HOME where I and my iPhone spend a considerable amount of time.

  16. TooManyPuppies says:

    Well duh, no shit! This was known in 2007 when the first iPhone was released.

  17. jobs says:

    Actually most smart-phones do this. Many people will even use apps that post this info on the internet. You can even have apps that will let people track your every move on a map in realtime.

    As for tracking criminal activity just leave your phone somewhere else.. see I was at Starbucks the whole time.

  18. MikeN says:

    Any cell phone can track your movements, since they are in communication with cell towers, and your position can be triangulatued. Apple just made it easier.

  19. Lou says:

    Good way to track Fanboys and eliminate.

  20. Criminal Mind says:

    Apparently most Americans need a refresher course in some of the subtler differences between being under surveillance twenty-four hours a day and living free.

    There seems to be a strange dichotomy.

    Big government watching me is very, very bad but big corporations watching me? What the hell, go ahead, knock yourself out!

    What’s the fucking difference, morons?

  21. Skeptic says:

    Earnings just out: “Apple Inc. (AAPL) reported second-quarter earnings of $6.40 a share. The average estimate of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of $5.39. The company also forecast third-quarter revenue of about $23 billion.”

    They are going to drown in their own money for being so evil.

  22. Hank Moody says:

    I ran the app and the results are VERY inaccurate and rather useless. It also ‘tracked’ cities i’ve never been to.

  23. raster says:

    You want to invade the privacy of all your clients and shred The Constitution?

    There’s an app for that!

  24. moss says:

    #18 – any other laptops or mobile devices have anything built-in to locate a lost or stolen device? In OS X or iOS, it’s called Find my laptop [or whatever].

    Of course all this truly important nerd blather is negatively affecting Apple, today, as you can tell:

    http://tinyurl.com/3p5xdoc

  25. foobar says:

    It’s a big story because it’s Apple. Nobody cared about the Android security holes or the RIM Playbook crap rollout.

    I’m sure everyone here encrypts their phone backups, right? Just like you encrypt your local email directories, right? And you’re outraged by Google handing over gobs of data each month to various governments, right?

    I love the mock outrage over security.

  26. haymoose says:

    I use 4.3 on a VzW iPhone and I just tried to look for this ‘file.’ on my Mac. It does not exist.

  27. Buzz Mega says:

    Sooooo If my iPhone is stolen or lost and I wipe it with the Find My Phone feature, no harm; no fowl?

  28. Buzz Mega says:

    BTW: If the feds want to know where you’ve been, cell tower triangulation on a frequently updated basis has always been available with every cell phone since the dark ages.

  29. soundwash says:

    kinda nothing new

    fwiw:

    a few years ago i had a motorola razor given to me by a friend who was upgrading. She used the phone’s reset function zero out the phone. (clear the phone book, history etc) and handed me a blank, clean phone..

    several months later i ran across a Razor hacking prgm and figured “Ok, lets play”

    long story short: her entire phone book and call history etc, along with all my new (and deleted) additions were still in the phone and 100% intact, readable and recoverable in a separate area..

    food for thought.

    -s

  30. Special Ed says:

    Every black guy in the U.S. should get this just so they might have an alibi.


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