Did you know that your iPhone keeps a history of all the locations you’ve visited? This is a feature called “Frequent Locations”. The iPhone keeps track of the dates you were at a specific location and even how long you were there. This feature is often overlooked because it takes several clicks to find it. I have talked about how to turn off Location settings for certain apps. Here are instructions that take it a few steps further if you wish to turn off Frequent Locations.
Before I walk you through the steps, parents may want to note that you will NOT find this feature on your child’s iPad or iPod touch; this is an iPhone feature only.
How to find Frequent Locations on your iPhone
Go to Settings > scroll down to Privacy > select Location Services.
Scroll all the way to the bottom – past the list of apps (this is where you adjust location settings for those apps). Click System Services.
Note the list of System Services. There are quite a few. Read up on what these mean on Apple’s page describing location services.
Now select Frequent Locations.
If Frequent Locations has the green setting, this means it is on and collecting information on where you’ve been. As described, it “allows your iPhone to learn places you frequently visit in order to provide useful location-related information.”
At the bottom you’ll see a history of locations. If yours is anything like mine, it is scary-accurate! For each geographic area, the phone knew how many separate addresses I’d visited, the dates I was there and for how long. My phone knew when I was home – 53 times over the last 6 weeks. (Some days I just don’t leave the house.)
You can click on each listing to see all the separate locations that the iPhone captured.
How to turn off Frequent Locations on your iPhone
If you decide this collection of data is a little too “Big Brother” for you, you can turn it off. But first, scroll to the bottom and click “Clear History” to erase all the locations.
Then, to turn Frequent Locations off, swipe the slider to the left. The icon is no longer green and your iPhone will no longer keep this history.
Should I allow Frequent Locations?
Does it add value? Leave it on. No purpose? Turn it off. For teens with an iPhone, you might not like the idea of the device collecting this data (although Apple states that the data is never shared with them). On the other hand, if you are trying to keep tabs on your kids this would be one area to look at if you are doing spot-checks of their phone.
I found one article online that explains how this feature might be useful for commuters:
I personally don’t need this feature so I decided to turn it off for now. What will you decide?