The iPhone 5s tracks your movements for 4 days after the battery dies

The iPhone 5s tracks your movements for 4 days after the battery dies
For those of you who are concerned about privacy and big companies tracking you, the focus of those fears tend to be Google and Facebook, but it looks like you have to add Apple to the list as well. A new report is claiming that the iPhone 5s (and likely the new iPads that also feature the M7 coprocessor) can track your movements for up to 4 days after the device's battery dies.

This is anecdotal and hasn't been confirmed yet, but Reddit user Glarznak has interesting evidence. Apparently, Glarznak was on vacation in Europe and his iPhone battery died. His charging cable had broken, so he decided to just go without his phone for a while. He was also someone who used the Argus app to track his steps. And, when he was finally charged his iPhone, he found that Argus had somehow gotten his movement data for four days after his battery died. This makes it seem as though the M7 motion coprocessor was able to function with the device turned off and using the reserve power in the battery for four days. 

Of course, some will find this to be "creepy", but we try to be more nuanced on these issues. First of all, yes the iPhone continued tracking movements after the battery died, but it only did so because Glarznak had the device set to track him in the first place, which is something you can turn off if you are truly concerned. Also, as we have pointed out before when people complain about Google's policies, this isn't a matter of taking your data, this is a trade where you get value in return. Although, until Apple comments, we don't know what use this feature would be, because the M7 coprocessor is not tied to the GPS, so it would not be tied to "Find My Phone". 

Whatever the explanation, it does prove that users need to be more knowledgeable about their devices, what information is tracked, and what steps to take to opt-out of tracking if that is what you want. 

source: reddit via BGR

Related phones

iPhone 5s
  • Display 4.0" 640 x 1136 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.2 MP front
  • Processor Apple A7, Dual-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB
  • Battery 1570 mAh(10h 3G talk time)



1. AliNSiddiqui

Posts: 382; Member since: Sep 19, 2012

I don't EVER turn my phone off... So this is probably a good thing for me.. This way I can keep track of where my phone is if it gets stolen..

3. tacarat

Posts: 854; Member since: Apr 22, 2013

The first thing most thieves do is turn the phone off. Make sure you have "find my iphone" enabled, even if you use a different tracker. I haven't heard of their being a hackivation that bypasses the iCloud check yet. There probably is, though >.>

30. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also make you have a PIN/Pattern/fingerprint, and disable the ability to turn off it without unlocking it. (Requires root though). Therefore the thief would be able to turn it off (unless it has removable battery) Also setup extra security features like taking a photo if a PIN/Pattern is incorrectly entered

31. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

Isn't his an iOS article? Anyways, I have my iPad Mini Dos jail broken and have it set up where turning off the device is disabled.

22. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Wow, the misinformation spreads fast through this crowd, no wonder Apple marketing is so effective. It won't report the location from the M7, it can't do anything while shut down so it does not matter if it tracks how many steps you take. For that matter, your step data is useless for determining location anyway.

24. almostdone

Posts: 449; Member since: Sep 25, 2012

Maybe the N.S.A has asked Apple to make their phones keep a little battery life in reserve so they can track you, listen to your conversation etc if they wanted to. Perhaps the iPhone can have better battery life without this feature...

2. ThePython

Posts: 902; Member since: May 08, 2013

"I will use an app to track my movements. Oh my God it's tracking my movements! Welp!"

4. ihavenoname

Posts: 1693; Member since: Aug 18, 2013

So, even if your battery dies, you can use Find My iPhone (for some time, at least)? Pretty good actually.

15. jove39

Posts: 2148; Member since: Oct 18, 2011

"we wouldn't be surprised to find out that this is a feature tied to "Find My Phone"..." Author has just guessed there could be tracking functionality available...but I firmly believe there isn't such a thing...motion tracker and location tracker are different things...e.g. "Moves" is a motion tracker app (works fine without gps on) and "Maps" is location tracker which works precisely with gps on.

21. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Author has just tried to justify a problem actually. It has no real benefit to the tracking done by find my phone. The phone doesn't report anything while it is shut down so your step data is pretty useless unless the thief turns it on in a location where it gets a data signal at which point your most current location would be determined and broadcast anyway. He is just trying to be "unbiased" or less sensational or something by trying to give a positive spin to some bad news.

28. grahaman27

Posts: 364; Member since: Apr 05, 2013

thats not what its saying... where did you get that from? the M7 is a pedometer, so it tracks your STEPS, not your location.

5. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Interesting. I don't think this is really a BAD thing, but I could see how it could bother some people.

6. promise7

Posts: 894; Member since: Jul 03, 2013

Well, on the bright side, if you ever get lost or stranded in the wilderness they'll be able to track you for a extra 4 days after your battery dies...

17. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

Only if you have access to cellular towers for the location data to be sent to rescuers. The 'location tracking' that was discussed is GPS data that is uploaded once a WiFi or cellular signal is accessed. Net-net, if you get lost and can't call for help, you better have packed some survival gear and rations, 'cause you are going to be in for a long wait.

7. paulyyd

Posts: 340; Member since: Jan 08, 2011

oh my, my phone knows where i have been for four days AFTER the battery dies???!~, anarchy!

8. cripton805

Posts: 1485; Member since: Mar 18, 2012

Ad based tracking for android. So, it knows how to spam you. I obviously turned this setting off. Do people like it?

9. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

that's creepy

10. androiphone20

Posts: 1654; Member since: Jul 10, 2013

that's creepy

11. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Before the drones come in and start hating, this is actually a good feature. It could come in handy if your phone is ever lost or stolen and needs to be located or at least determine the last confirmed location. This isn't like Google who's spying on you via street maps and search history so they can sell your info and force their services onto you.

14. SamDroid unregistered

But they still give you the option to turn off that feature tho' :D

16. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Like how they give you the option to opt out of G+ people spamming you in gmail? Or the option to opt out of their nagging attempt to sign you for G+ so they can get even more data off you? And then there's Google Glass.

26. Whateverman

Posts: 3295; Member since: May 17, 2009

Always making things about how much you hate Android and Google. No one talked bad about your precious so just relax.

33. SamDroid unregistered

You still have to have an account for Apple And windows too You such a fanboy, speak facts You can change Google ad settings to better suit you or just turn it off completely. I'd rather get relevant ads than just a bunch of annoying ads that i would never be interested in

34. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Mxy is always crying about his precious...I use g+ and you can mute other g+ users...also...I have one app that blocks ads while browsing and I use lucky patcher so that no ads can appear when I am playing a game... No extra data is extra battery juice is used..nada

35. SamDroid unregistered


18. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

That's funny, I thought that you were the drone for anything not Apple... It's funny how perspective works.

29. joey_sfb

Posts: 6794; Member since: Mar 29, 2012

Relax Mxy! We know you are such a fan and wouldn't mind it if Apple is the one that SPAM you, Track you, rape you.

12. SellPhones82

Posts: 569; Member since: Dec 11, 2008

It would be really nice if it allowed "Find My iPhone" to still work. Can't tell you how many times I've tired to locate my son's only to be told it's "offline" because the battery was dead. This wouldn't do me any good since its the original iPad Mini. Still be nice with all the iPhone and iPad thefts and could be used as a deterrent or a quick way to locate thieves since I'm sure the first thing they do is power of the devices so they can't be tracked.

13. Kishin

Posts: 706; Member since: May 30, 2013

It sounds like the human brain..

19. Scott93274

Posts: 6040; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm not sure if the find my phone feature would work after the battery dies. Maybe it might be able to track its location for a while, but to transmit it would be something else entirely. Though if I'm wrong then that would be great news for careless people who get their phones stolen. The last time something like that happened to me was when I owned the LG Chocolate.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.