Your iPhone can track you. Here’s how to stop it

Read this post now to find out how to stop your iPhone tracking you and handing over your personal information.

It has three settings to change before you do anything else.

Plus three bonus recommendations at the end.

Why do I need to change these settings?

As soon as you installed iOS8 these changes affect who can track you and what data (eg your Contacts) your apps can upload to their servers.

For some apps this is okay and you know about it.

But you might be surprised at how many apps are already doing this with your current iPhone settings.

And it’s all probably fine until someone hacks the App’s site and steals your information and most embarrassingly, that of your contacts. Especially if you didn’t even know that they had it on their servers.

High profile site hacks, recently, confirm that this is something that is happening more and more often.

What are the three settings to change?

  1. Choose which apps can track your location in the background – make sure you’re only allowing the ones that need it.
  2. Stop apps from accessing, uploading your data – unless you choose it
  3. Stop iPhone location-based tracking

How to make the changes

1. Limit apps from tracking your location in the background

Often when you install a new app it will pop a prompt to ask to use your location “…even when you’re not actively using it”.

This means the app wants to keep using your location to show popups and other notifications based on your location.

Select Don’t Allow when it displays.

To check and limit tracking for all the other apps you already have installed.

  • Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  •  Scroll down through the list of your installed apps and choose Never for all apps except the ones you approve

In the images below you’ll see:

  • Uber (Taxi alternative) is set to While Using
  • Vivino (Wine app) is set to Never
  • Waze (Navigation app) is set to Always
  • AroundMe (Finding goods and services nearby) is set to While Using

Choose While Using the App if you approve.

Only choose Always if it’s necessary or there is no option for While Using the App.


BP4-2      BP4-3

2. Stop apps from reading and/or uploading your data

What is the most sensitive or personal data you have on your device?

Apart from your email it’s likely it’s your photos, contacts and calendar.

Here’s how to select which apps have access to these.

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy
  2. Tap on Contacts and set to On or Off those apps you want to have access to your contacts
  3. BP4-4  BP4-5
  4. Do the same for Calendar and Photos
  5. And then for any others in the list as you see fit

Warning: In many cases these apps upload your contact list to their servers.

This may not seem like a problem, but it could be a major issue for you if the developer/hosting company is compromised and your contacts data is stolen.

Turning the Contacts setting off won’t delete (or is unlikely to delete) the data on their servers.

If you have checked the setting and it was turned to On for any of your apps, you will need to contact the app developer directly to ask them to remove your data.

3. Prevent iPhone location-based tracking

Some iOS 8 system services track your location for advertising, location-based alerts, and for enhancing your cell coverage.

These can cause a couple of problems:

  • They can be a big drain on your battery
  • They can expose you to having your location tracked – which is generally not good, or worse.

Change it in Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services and disable the services you don’t want tracking your location.

The settings in the image below are my recommendations for what to have on and off.

Warning: Make sure you keep Find My iPhone turned on so you can find your iPhone if you lose it or it gets stolen.


Bonus Section

Three Additional Location Related Settings to Change:

1. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking

To limit advertisers sending you ads based on your location.

Turn it on at Settings > Privacy > Advertising.

  1. Turn on Limit Ad Tracking (slide to Green)
  2. Tap on Reset Advertising Identifier
  3. Tap on Reset Identifier (bottom of screen)

BP4-7 BP4-8

2. Turn off Share My Location

To stop your iPhone from sharing your location with “family & friends” in Messages and Find My Friends

Turn it off at Settings > Privacy > Share My Location


3. Turn off Frequent Locations

To stop your iPhone from learning the places you go frequently.

Turn it off at Settings > Privacy >Location Services > System Services > Location Services


That’s all for this post with 3 settings to change plus 3 extras to consider

Hope it was useful

– Campbell

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