location services

Stop following me! Tweak iPhone location settings to keep spies at bay.


You can see all of the locations your iPhone thinks are significant and turn off the location features in Settings.
Your iPhone keeps track of locations you visit frequently.
Photo: Rawpixel Ltd, CC BY 2.0 / Wikimedia Commons

If you’re uncomfortable with social media apps tracking your movements, here’s how to stop them using your iPhone’s built-in Location Services.

Or if you’re moving to a different city or to a new job, it can be annoying seeing travel suggestions to the wrong place. Resetting your location history will start from a clean slate.

If you find yourself traveling to a country with an authoritarian government, as everyone attending this year’s Olympics were, clearing your phone’s location history is a safe bet.

These moves may also protect you from shady data brokers, who spy on and sell your movements.

Here’s how to do it.

How to stop Apple from targeting you with personalized ads


Ads everywhere
Apple targets users with personalized ads, too.
Photo: Jo San Diego/Unsplash CC

A French lobbyist group is accusing Apple of hypocrisy over new privacy measures in iOS 14, which make it harder for other companies to track users. Why? Because Apple also operates a feature called Personalized Advertising, which capitalizes on user data to display targeted ads within apps.

Want to stop Apple from targeting you with personalized ads? Here’s how you do it. (And everything else you need to know about the new complaint.)

Advertisers panic as iPhone users turn off GPS tracking


iOS 13.3 in beta
iOS 13 has made it easier for users to shut down location tracking.
Photo: Apple/Cult of Mac

Location data, for a long time a river of gold that enriched companies with digital ad revenues, is starting to dry up as more and more consumers deactivate location tracking on their smartphones.

The growing shortage of GPS data became pronounced shortly after the launch iOS 13, which features a pop-up option to cut off tracking if your iPhone detects an app gathering data on your whereabouts.

iOS beta adds off switch for iPhone 11 Location Services


iPhone 11 Max Pro cameras
The next iOS update will have an additional off switch for Location Services after recently data privacy concerns.
Photo: Leander Kahney/Cult of Mac

Apple is testing an iOS fix for Location Services that will potentially allay any privacy concerns among iPhone 11 users.

Apple makes privacy part of its brand yet found itself answering questions when a security news site in December discovered the iPhone 11 Pro continued to track user location even after all Location Services toggles were switched off.

How to keep stalkers from tracking you on Instagram


Who's tracking your Instagram movements?
Who's tracking your Instagram movements?
Photo: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Anyone can tap your profile in Instagram and see where you were when you took your snapshots. Creeped out, yet?

Every time you take a picture for Instagram, the photo-sharing app keeps track of where you are by default. Here’s how to remove the location data automatically added to your snaps and keep stalkers from tracking you on Instagram.

How to find out which Mac apps are using your location


Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Find out when your Mac is looking at your location data.
Photo: Apple

As our digital lives converge across mobile and desktop devices like our iPhones and Macbooks, we rely on them knowing where we are at any given time. Safari suggestions, for example, count on knowing your location, as do any Maps searches or such.

You might want to know when your Location data is being used, however, for privacy reason. If you enable the Location Services menu bar, you’ll be able to see when any app is accessing your private location data, making it more possible to lock down any sources you don’t want using it.

Here’s how to get that menu bar notice working.

An Algorithm Can Now Predict Where Your iPhone Will Be In 24 Hours



We already know that companies can track our location in real-time through a smartphone’s GPS and serve deals or ads relevant to your location, but what if your iPhone could predict where you’re going to go in 24 hours?

A group of researchers have created an algorithm that uses location tracking data on people’s phones to predict where they will be 24 hours from the present. Shockingly, the average error is within a mere 20 meters.  

Turn Off Location Services On Your iPhone And Save Some Battery Life [iOS Tips]


Location Services

Location services are really an integral part of a ton of iOS apps, using the internal GPS system to add Instagram photos to a map, checkin with FourSquare or Facebook, or let your friends know where you are with one of many “on my way” apps, like Glympse or Twist.

If you’re battery is dying, however, the location services are the first thing you should turn off, as they suck up a lot of your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch’s power needs, what with their background data sending and receiving and such.

Here’s how to turn them off.

Like Apple, Amazon Disses Google Maps In Upcoming Kindle Fire Revision


Like Apple, Amazon decides against Google Maps for upcoming Kindle Fire revision.
Amazon follows Apple's lead and decides against Google Maps for upcoming Kindle Fire revision.

Apple’s decision to ditch Google Maps in favor of its own mapping technology in iOS 6 wasn’t much a surprise. However, Amazon’s decision to reject Google Maps in its second generation Kindle Fire tablet is a bit of surprise – particularly since the Kindle Fire is an Android device.

Unlike Apple, Amazon isn’t developing its own mapping systems. Instead, the new Kindle Fire will rely on mapping functionality from Nokia. Unlike the original Kindle Fire, which had no innate location services or maps app, the new version will sport  location-based services, though whether they will be based integrated GPS or solely on Wi-Fi triangulation (like the Wi-Fi only iPad models and the iPod touch) is still an unanswered question.

With McDonald’s Trial, PayPal Is Trying To Be A Lot More Like The Apple Store


PayPal looks to expand its mobile payment marketshare and features with an app-based payment trial at McDonald's locations in France.
PayPal looks to expand its mobile payment market share and features with an app-based payment trial at McDonald's locations in France.

Square’s announcement of its partnership with Starbucks and the launch of new mobile payment company by several key retail and service chains were signs that the mobile payment industry and digital wallet concept is big business. Late last week, however, there was more news on the mobile payments front that proves that the race is far from over – one could even say that it’s barely started.

In a move that could make Square’s deal with Starbucks seem small and limited, Reuters reports that PayPal may soon be expanding its brand of mobile payments to include on the biggest fast food chains on the planet – McDonald’s. PayPal is currently testing a payment system in 30 McDonald’s locations in France. The company demoed the technology earlier this year.

Startup Aims To Make Advanced Security Seamless By Using Your Location To Verify You’re You


Toopher aims to use your location as a second way to verify you're you that goes beyond a username and password.
Toopher aims to use your location as a second way to verify you're you that goes beyond a username and password.

When Dropbox acknowledged its recent data breach last week, the company noted that it will be adding a range of security solutions in an effort prevent such a breach from occurring again. One of the technologies that Dropbox plans to implement is two factor authentication, which requires another identifying item beyond your username and password to grant you access to your account.

The second item in two factor authentication can be any one of a range of technologies like a smart card that needs to be swiped, a USB flash drive or other mobile that contains security certifications, a one-time user password token like RSA’s SecurID, or a biometric input like a fingerprint scan.

One company has another interesting option, however, your location.

New In iOS 6: Siri Supports Location Services Internationally


Siri will finally find places internationally.
Siri will finally find places internationally.

Being a Brit, one of the most disappointing things about Siri is that it doesn’t support location services in the United Kingdom. Unlike iPhone 4S users in the United States, I can’t ask Siri to find me a nice restaurant nearby, or for the nearest gas station. However, that’s no longer the case in iOS 6, because Siri now supports location services internationally.

Zipcar CEO Shares Secrets Of iOS Success


Zipcar customer interactions now come from the company's app more than its site
Zipcar customer interactions now come from the company's app more than its site

Zipcar was one of the first companies to showcase the potential of iOS apps using location services. The company’s demo during Apple’s 2009 WWDC keynote was one of early harbingers of the ways that mobile devices and data have become integrated with our daily lives. Zipcar continues to have its finger on the pulse of what’s possible when local services are transformed by iOS and other mobile platforms.

Speaking today at the MIT Sloan CIO Symposium, Zipcar CEO Scott Griffith spoke about how quickly smartphone apps revolutionized Zipcar and the ways it interacts with its customers and offered  insights into the company’s success.

Apple Starts Testing Mobile Deals & Payments In-House With Pirq Partnership


Apple employees in silicon valley get a new Pirq
Apple employees in silicon valley get a new Pirq

NFC isn’t a new technology. Android and BlackBerry phones with NFC capabilities have been available for a while now and various companies have started looking at implementing NFC as a mobile payment or digital wallet solution. Google Wallet being the most well-known while MasterCard’s new PayPass Wallet Services, which the company announced on Monday is the newest and potentially broadest in scope

Apple, however, hasn’t shown much interest in adding NFC to the iPhone. The lack of NFC hasn’t kept mobile payment options off the iPhone – as we’ve recently reported T.G.I. Fridays and Tabbedout, Boston’s light rail commuter service, and AmTrak have all moved to offer mobile payments using the Starbucks app/virtual card model.

A new deal between Apple and location-based deals startup Pirq, to offer daily food and drink deals to the company’s employees in silicon valley could be a sign of Apple testing the waters with both a deals network and whether such ecommerce options make sense for iPhone users.

View Reminders By Date in Calendar View [iOS Tips]



Reminders is a pretty slick to-do app, made by Apple for OS 5, that uses location and calendar data to help us remember the milk, our laundry, and any other important task we might need reminding for. Here’s a tip for the Reminders app that may be old news to some of you, but we’re betting that if we just found out about it, chances are there are other folks who haven’t noticed it, either.

iOS 5.1 Adds Unannounced Security And Management Features



Apple included a list of new features in the release notes for iOS 5.1, which became available on Wednesday alongside the announcement of the new iPad. It seems that Apple included some unannounced features as well – some of which enable more iOS device security and management when paired with a mobile device management (MDM) suite or with Apple’s new Apple Configurator tool for iOS.

The new management features seem to be primarily related to Siri on the iPhone 4S and they include the ability to prevent any use of Siri while an iPhone 4S is locked as well as the ability to filter out profanity. Additionally, as noted by the Intrepidus Group, a security consulting firm, is the ability to block location services on any iOS device.

Lion Introduces New Privacy And Location Services To Mac OS X [OS X Tips]



Lion has introduced some new yet basic privacy settings. The new settings control how you share your location and collect usage data to send to Apple. Although now it seems to be fairly basic I think it is still important to know what if any apps on your Mac are accessing location services on Mac OS X.

I’ll show you how to find out if they are or not in this tip.

Possible Fix For iOS 5 And iPhone 4S Battery Life?



I’ve been a bit quiet lately while considering the possible reasons why my new iPhone 4S has the worst battery life of any iPhone I’ve ever owned. Normally by now I would have written some battery troubleshooting tips to share with all of you. However, this time around the problem is anything but normal and the usual tips aren’t helping. So I’ve been quiet about this.

I cannot say the same thing about Apple’s discussion forums since the conversation about battery life there is reaching epic proportions and the conversation is rather loud.

It might be about to get a lot quieter with this tip, which seems to be working for me.