Going somewhere? Well your iPhone won’t be far behind in more ways than one.

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The much loved device keeps a record of all users movements, which it then copies  over to the owner’s computer when connected.

And it’s not just a simple area identifier – the iPhone will track your exact locations coordinates in terms of latitude and longitude and a timestamp, and tells a secret file precise details.

That’s according to two British researcher scientists, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, who presented their startling findings this week to the Where 2.0 conference in San Francisco, The Guardian reports.

The secret tracker is wrought with privacy issues, something which the authors of the study have pointed out.

“Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you’ve been,” said Pete Warden, one of the two scientists involved in the study. 

The phones may have the capacity to store up to a year’s worth of information and will be transferred to another Apple device like and iPad or a Mac when replaced. What this also means that anyone who stole the phone or the computer
could ascertain details about the owner’s movements using a simple

“The fact that [the file] is transferred across when you migrate is evidence that the data-gathering isn’t accidental.,” say the research duo.


It is a relatively new phenomenon and started with the iOs 4 update in June last year.

And the location tracking intelligence appears to be unique to Apple devices, with the researchers examining several Android and other handsets also. 

“We haven’t come across any instances of other phone manufacturers doing this.”

However, it appears Apple has covered itself somewhat under the terms and conditions for iTunes subscribers  which has an entry relating to location-based services, which has recently surged in popularity.

It states: “To provide location-based services on Apple products, 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. “

Apps for iPhones and Android devices have already been revealed as regularly tracking user habits for advertising purposes, although the iPhone apps came out on top as the biggest information give away culprits.


The British scientists have we website where further details about the iPhone tracker, which can be accessed here.

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