Frequent locations is a feature of iPhone operating systems from iOS 7 upwards, and is automatically turned on for most users, who are never informed that it is watching their every move.
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Sinister or just something you should have known about? You need Location Services if you want to use maps, if you want to know what is going on around you and if you want to capture information, such as where you took those photos on your holiday, which some photo websites usefully capture from your image automatically.
You can control which apps have access to your location data, by specifying, ‘never’, ‘always’ or only when you are using the apps. It only takes a minute to work through them all. You can also blanket turn the feature off altogether, which might well save you a lot of battery power, but you may also miss out on some cool features.
I do recommend that you read the ‘About Location Services & Privacy’ section.
You have to give permission to each app that wants to use your location data and you can then revoke it by going into your settings if you change your mind.
In some cases it is important. For example if you use Google Maps (or other map solutions) in order to see real time traffic, most of that data comes from crowd sourcing people’s anonymous location, direction and speed of travel. If no one shares data, you won’t get any information about traffic jams.It is used anonymously.
In some cases it can be useful for example iHeartRadio will find local stations based on where you are. If you want local news that could be a cool feature. If you don’t, turn location off.
A feature I did find interesting is you can see which apps have used your location recently, including which ones used it in the last 24 hours.
I have heard stories of insidious use of location based services, but not specifics and I have yet to see the true potential of contextual location based marketing, but it will come and hopefully there will be legal controls around it. Some operating systems enforce more rules around services than others and it is very difficult to set rules based around geography. What is legal in one state may not be in another, but the apps don’t care where you are.
While you are in the settings area of your phone, have a good look around, you might find all sorts of gems that you didn’t know about. Ever had a moment where you watch someone doing something really cool on their phone. You don’t need to buy expensive books about how to use it, just flick through the menu’s. Do be careful what you select and make sure you do understand what you are doing, especially communications settings that your telco might have set up for you.
Remember you were going to set up Find My iPhone? Now’s a great time to do that. You can find it in the iCloud settings. We all forget where our phone is from time to time. You get to work and you don’t have it. Is it in the car, at home, or did you leave it on the bus? This is an awesome feature that doesn’t require someone being at the other end when you receive it. Of course if it did get stolen, you can either recover it, tell the police where it is, or lock it so that it can be used. You can also set off an alarm that will make it unsalable by any low-life if it did get stolen, hyou can also wipe it clean, but you might want to make sure it is regularly backed up. It’s a great insurance policy and its free.