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A couple of ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from tracking you

Posted: , by Nick T.

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A couple of ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from tracking you
Only moments after we discovered how iPhones and iPads were secretly tracking your every step, ways to prevent the disturbing iOS “feature” from operating started popping up on the internet. Sure, logging positional data on your smartphone is not necessarily cause for an alarm, as long as your dossier is immaculate, but we are absolutely convinced there are people simply too paranoid to live with the fear that Big Brother is constantly looking over their shoulder.

Even though a way of completely disabling the logging feature has not been found yet, wiping out the logs themselves is already possible thanks to a little app named untrackerd. The only catch is that it requires a jailbroken iPhone in order to run. Once loaded, untrackerd remains hidden in the background and deletes any positional information that may get stored on the device without your approval.

However, there is a way of being 100% sure your privacy is protected – a last resort, brute force solution that totally cuts off your iDevice from any wireless network. It is called the Standard Black Hole Faraday Bag, and any wireless device placed inside it – a cellphone, tablet, even a pocket FM radio, will be unable to send or receive any radio signals. Unfortunately, that makes any cellphone inside it pretty much unable to make or receive calls until you finally decide to take it out, but hey, it is the price that absolute privacy comes at. Oh, and did we mention that it costs 80 bucks?

If you can think of better ways of stopping iOS from logging your footsteps, feel free to share them with us in the comments below. Or maybe people that truly value their privacy should resort to a different brand instead?

source: 9to5 Mac, Faraday-Bags via TUAW & SlashGear

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posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:34 3

1. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Wow so you need to jailbreak your iPhone so Apple can't track you or use Standard Black Hole Faraday Bag which makes your phone totally useless. I am so glad I have Android. This is going to be a nightmare for so many people. Apple just needs to come clean & say sorry because this is just not right. That map they have there is scary. In the right hands or wrong hands someone can get hurt or even worse. I don't get the arrogance of Apple not even thinking of its customers well being. Again Apple....... just in it for the money, who cares about the people!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:46 10

4. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Google is the undisputed king of deep data mining. How do you think they make their money? Ad impressions? Hahahahaha! A company with virtually no material product, whose stock trades at over $500/share, with a market cap of $170B has the next most valuable commodity: information.

You think Android doesn't do the same thing, I'd like to sell you some beach-front property in North Dakota.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:00 5

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Not that I want to get into this.... but Google is polite enough to tell you they are spying on you.... how many knew apple did that? now with that same argument yeah apple makes tangible products now... why they need to do this?

also Google allows you not to give them your location info.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:06 5

10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Data mining, every company does it. Your local grocery store does it. To pin pointing your location so that anyone that has access to your iPhone or PC can get your location history is a totally different thing. If you read the post from before anyone can get this info. They can see your patterns and be there waiting for you or anyone. So your point is a little weak. You are comparing Apples (no pun intended) to Oranges. They are 2 different beasts. My Android gives me a choice, it clearly says do you want us to track yes or no. Apple doesn't even ask. Apple has no respect for you. They only want your money. They don't care for your well being! Are you too blind or brainwashed to see this. Are you really going to defend Apple on this. Really?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:46 2

20. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


I'm not defending Apple, I'm simply pointing out that aside from the third-party or GPS data on an Android OS device (or RIM, or whatever), a record is kept of what system the device registers on. If not GPS data then SID data.

From a marketing standpoint, it's simply a way to gather user data. How that information is used is another argument.

You stated you were "...so glad I have Android" as if location data weren't gathered regardless of GPS, or third party app use. Throw in carrier bloatware, manufacturer overlays, OS fragmentation, and I'll argue your location data is more prone to malicious intent than a hidden file on iOS which uses data to ensure geo-tagging, or use by MobileMe as well as other applications.

All of these OS-es use and gather data like this. Apple is not so stupid as to state that it doesn't gather data without notice to the user. It may be fine print, but they're hardly doing it without permission per se...

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 12:03 3

22. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Gawain you say "Apple is not so stupid as to state that it doesn't gather data without notice to the user. It may be fine print, but they're hardly doing it without permission per se..." If you notice you say "may". That is the difference. Google is upfront, Apple is not. Now you see what I am saying. Apple needs to be forth coming, not fine print or whatever it is you are saying. My wife is disturbed by this. Nowhere is it upfront that this is happening. We know she has had the 1st iPhone to come out & all the others since. That is all I am saying. With Android I can clearly opt out. Simple as that. Apple just can't say the same. Another reason why Apple controls while Google puts it in the customer hand!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:18 1

27. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


I may not be conveying what I mean correctly. What I am saying is this: The hardware of your device, regardless of OS, regardless of manufacturer, gathers, and retains data at a minimum to include some portion of call activity, SIDs registered (including triangulated location if GPS is not being used).

What appears to be getting everyone's nickers in a twist is that with the iOS version, it apparently tracks data at a surprisingly granular level.

If you got pulled over in Michigan and cop hooked up one of their fancy Cellebrite forensic devices to your Android device, you think they aren't going to be able to see where you've been? Who you've called? Regardless of whether or not you "opted out"? Seriously, this beach front property in North Dakota is going to sell like hotcakes...get in while you can. ;-P

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:56 2

31. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


*groan* ...after reading what I wrote, I still didn't write what I wanted to...

Even if you're opting out of passing data, the OS is still gathering it. See the rest about how "forensic" data can still be retrieved, even if you delete information off your phone.

It's just like the computer on your desk.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:57 1

32. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4857; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes the point is understood. Google has respect and at least asks you. Apple has no respect they just shove it down your throat. You get me now. If you have a phone yes you "CAN" be tracked. Apple iPhone is not a "CAN" it's a "WILL BE" tracked. Get the point! At least nobody can go on my PC to get the history location as they can from iTunes. It's not hard to see what I am saying!

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 09:43 1

65. Gawain (Posts: 420; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


It appears even I was giving Google more credit than it deserved...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703983704576277101723453610.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLETopS tories

Don't choke, it is what it is...

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:07

25. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Every time we use an app with our iphones that uses a tracking feature, we are always asked, "do you allow us to use your location?". So yes, the user does have the option to say yes or no. Also, in settings, you can easily turn off "location services" if you don't want any apps with tracking features to locate you. So again, there is an option for the user if they want to be tracked or not.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:51

29. protozeloz (Posts: 5396; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


thats the issue.... its not working it will log even if its off thats what I've head... you can test it if you have a jail broken iPhone, turn the service off and see if it tracks you anyways.... I would ask my friend to hepl out with this but He is out of town and i canr reach him

also phonearena... you have a jailbroken iPhone please do some test and give us some feedback on what you found... it would help clear this a lot

thanks in advantage

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:05

33. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


It was never mentioned anywhere that it logs your location even when it's turned off. It was mentioned that it is DEFAULTED to "on". Apple has not released a statement yet on this matter.

The tracking features can be turned off in settings simply by turning "location services" off. You can even pick and choose which tracking apps to turn on or off.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:52

30. Jaroniemo (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Apr 2011)


So your saying that by agreeing for your GPS service to track your location while you use it, then you are also at that same time giving Apple permission to track you even after you close that application?

I don't have an iPhone, but it sounds like that option you have is only for applications that have the abillity to track, and not Apple and their OS specifically.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:14

35. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


I can turn location services on or off whenever I want to on my iphone. But it's a hassle for me, so I always have it on.

Under location services in settings on an iphone. It will show you a list of apps that have tracking capabilities. Each app you can either set to on or off, or, you can turn all of them on or off by turning location services off, vice versa.

I guess the issue here is, Apple has DEFAULTED location services to "on". So unless, you didn't bother with it when you first purchased your iphone, location services have been tracking you since day 1 when your purchased your iphone. That's the issue.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 16:10 2

41. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Gemini, you need to do some research. I can't remember if it was mentioned here on Phonearena, but it was definitely mentioned on CNN that the software runs off of tower triangulation and CANNOT BE DISABLED BY SHUTTING OFF LOCATION SERVICES.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 18:00

45. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


If what you say is true, then why are they singling out Apple? How can the others turn off their location services then if you say that it cannot be turned off?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 19:59 1

54. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Seriously, Gemini? How do you not get this? Okay, let's break it down. Other devices only track your current location if you're using certain features, and Android devices allow you to disable the location service, or pick only certain ones.

This thing from Apple is new; it's software not related to normal location services and which cannot be disabled. It logs your location with timestamps in an unencrypted file folder. It is unlike anything seen before on any device, so it's a useless question to ask why other phones give you the choice to disable software that they don't have.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 21:57

60. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


The concern is the log not being deleted. Not about the tracking feature whether it can be turned on or off. You're making it seem like Apple has a location service unique to idevices alone, that Apple actually invented?

Don't make assumptions that might embarrass you later when Apple releases their statement on this matter.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 23:22

63. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


You mean like Antennagate?

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:00

68. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Yes, like antennagate. Glad you're catching on :)

Turns out all phones have antennagate.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:34

72. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Except most phones have antennagate in spots you normally don't touch with your hands, whereas the iPhone 4's antennagate is in exactly the right spot to rest your pinky. :P

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:59

89. agent7 (Posts: 19; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


Seriously? Embarrass? I think that is very unlikely. You sound like a complete idiot right now and literally made me Laugh Out Loud when I read that.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:25

74. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


See? I told you not to make assumptions. Android devices are doing it as well :)

http://www.bgr.com/2011/04/22/android-gathering-location-data-too-researcher-develops-harvesting-too l/

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:12 1

86. Sniggly (Posts: 7305; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


One Android device seems to have it, but knowing HTC phones I'm not surprised. HTC comes default with a weather widget which tries to match your current location. Key differences: the information is encrypted and hidden unless you gain root and command line access, and the phone doesn't store all of your information ever, just most recent info
.

READ AN ARTICLE BEFORE YOU TELL SOMEONE THAT IT PROVES YOU COMPLETELY RIGHT.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 21:40

59. ogre150 (Posts: 23; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)


You're talking about an App having to ask for permission. The problem is that Apple itself is doing this and not giving you a choice. The Apps run on IOS, Apple makes IOS, IOS is keeping track of you without your permission.

That's what is wrong with this. Android has an option to turn it on or off. It even asks if you're sure you want to turn it on.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 22:01

61. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Are you one of Apple's programmers that you can speak on their behalf? Nothing wrong with speculating, but don't make your speculations to be facts. The iPhone does have the iPhone to turn location services on and off. My guess is, every time an iPhone user uses a location service app, it saves the history into a cache, and there's either a bug that prevents the log to get cleared or, Apple overlooked it.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 22:18

62. ogre150 (Posts: 23; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)


But it is a fact. The iPhone keeps this data and even backs it up on iTunes. This has nothing to do with a mistake or with letting an App use location services. They have it set up to do this.

It doesn't "accidentally" keep this info then "accidentally" back it up on iTunes. I mean it's been happening since last June. Take off the blinders.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:23

71. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


I am not denying the fact that the history is maintained in a cache when it should be deleted. But history being kept and being able to turn location services off are two different things. Once you turn location services off, apps that uses that feature can no longer track you. There's no details whether it's the maps app only, or the iphone itself working as a homing device that constantly tracks your every step, or location services switch does not work at all, or whatever. All they have is, the history is kept and not deleted, that is all they have. And so far, no user has complained. Neither was there any news that someone hacked into anyone's data.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:34

78. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Turns out that android devices track your location as well without your permission. And you were saying that with android devices you have the option. Well, you don't. Here's the link.

http://www.bgr.com/2011/04/22/android-gathering-location-data-too-researcher-develops-harvesting-too l/

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