iPhoneTracker Shows Everywhere You've Been With Your iPhone

Depending on your temperament, you'll have a different reaction to seeing a map of literally everywhere you've taken your iPhone (or 3G iPad) since you bought it. You might think it's a neat hack to gain some perspective on your far-ranging life. Or you might wonder why Apple has been keeping this information all along.

The application, made to prove a point of sorts, looks into the automatic backups your device makes every time it's connected to iTunes, then pulls out a lifelong list of your locations, timestamps included. No special tricks are needed, and the data is easy to get to, unless you choose to encrypt your device backups. iPhoneTracker then formats all the data for visualisation on a map, which provides a pretty neat look at everywhere you've been.

The data comes from cellular tower triangulation, regardless of whether you have GPS turned on, and whether you've allowed other applications to have access to your location. That's the main concern: very specific location data, collected without asking, available to any person (or app) that knows where to look. But if you're less concerned about Apple's intentions in collecting this data, you might simply share a map of your lifelong history location, or simply start encrypting your backups — your call.

iPhoneTracker [Pete Warden/GitHub via @ExpertDan]


Comments

    It looks like this is a Mac activity. Do they have a W7 option or separate program?

    Front page news on SMH now...
    I like this bit though:

    "However, Apple can legitimately claim that it has permission to collect the data. Near the end of the 15,200-word terms and conditions for its iTunes program is an 86-word paragraph that says: "Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device. This location data is collected anonymously in a form that does not personally identify you and is used ... to improve location-based products and services."

    You state in the article (a couple of times) that Apple is collecting your data. Is it known if this gets transmitted to Apple or is it just your phone collecting your data. That's a BIG difference.

    I'd like to know if I have control or not. If it's just on the phone then no one has it just me and I can encrypt my backups.

    At least I don't have an Android phone where Google tracks everything in the browser, what I look at and where I am when I look at it. That's the money for Google and why they give Android away for nothing.

    I just downloaded the application and played with it a bit.

    It doesn't show where you've been. I think it shows which cell towers you've connected with.

    For instance, I live in the country where there are no cell towers within kilometres of my home and the app thinks I've never been home. And those closest cell towers show only the very smallest dots. Odd. Yet when on those rare occasions I've driven down to Melbourne, the map goes wild. There are masses and masses of huge dots all over Melbourne and I hardly ever go down there.

    So what is this thing displaying? Its certainly not my movement habits. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say it's just the cell towers I've interacted with and the signal strength of those connections, which is pretty much what Telstra captures.

    And I can guarantee you, if I send you the image of my last years movements (as provided by this app), you will not be able to determine where I live. Again very odd considering what is being reported about this.

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