Tips & Advice

Find and delete the locations your iPhone has been tracking

Jesse Adams, 19 November 2020

Turn off Apple's default tracking service and delete stored data for increased privacy

This week at Avast, we made the highly anticipated release official: Avast Secure Browser is now available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod! And while going through the development process, one question was constantly on our mind: “What does maximum privacy on iOS look like?” Thinking about that question, we’d like to share a couple of tips that we discovered along our journey.

You’re probably aware that your iPhone is tracking your physical movement, but did you know it keeps a detailed list of your favorite places, knows how often you visit, and when you’ve been there? It’s all part of “Significant Locations,” a location-based system service that runs by default when Apple’s Location Services are enabled.

Significant Locations helps your iPhone figure out which places are most important to you, in order to "provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing, and to build better Memories in Photos,” according to Apple. Apple also says that the information in Significant Locations is “end-to-end encrypted and cannot be read by anyone at Apple.”

But even with those assurances, many people aren't comfortable with the idea of their iPhone tracking and storing their movements, especially considering the recent news that Apple might be storing more information about you than you realized. If you'd rather Apple didn't hold detailed information about the places you visit most frequently, here are instructions on how to find Significant Locations, turn off tracking, and delete any previously collected data.

Where to find Significant Locations

Significant Locations is buried pretty deep in Settings, but if you follow Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations, you'll find it.

How to turn off Significant Locations

If you just want to stop your iPhone from tracking and cataloging your locations in Significant Locations, you can toggle it off from the screen mentioned above.

How to delete old data from Significant Locations

If you also want to make sure that previous data is deleted from Significant Locations, you'll have to do a little more work. You'll need to enter your phone's password or use Touch ID or Face ID to actually view the data that's stored in Significant Locations. This added security is presumably to make sure you have control over who can access this sensitive data.

Once you confirm your credentials, you'll see a list of all of the places you've visited. Click on one and it will show a map of the location, along with detailed information about the location and the dates you were there.

If you want to delete this data, you have two options:

1. Individually pick and choose which places you want deleted. To do this, tap on the place, tap “Edit” in the top right part of the screen, and tap “Delete”.

2. The process is much easier if you want to wipe everything. Scroll down to the bottom of Significant Locations and you'll find the option to “Clear History.” Tap that, and voila! Your iPhone no longer has a catalogue of all of the places you like to visit.

That’s all there is to it! We hope you found these tips useful. If you haven’t already, try Avast Secure Browser on iOS. It’s a browser built with privacy and security at its core. And we’d love to hear your feedback to make it even better!

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