It can also be easily accessed on the device itself if it falls into the wrong hands.
Anybody with access to this file knows where you’ve been over the last year, since i OS 4 was released.
There can be tens of thousands of data points in this file, and it appears the collection started with i OS 4, so there’s typically around a year’s worth of information at this point.
Our best guess is that the location is determined by cell-tower triangulation, and the timing of the recording is erratic, with a widely varying frequency of updates that may be triggered by traveling between cells or activity on the phone itself. As we discuss in the video, there’s no immediate harm that would seem to come from the availability of this data.
The cell phone companies have always had this data, but it takes a court order to access it.
Now this information is sitting in plain view, unprotected from the world.
In the following video, we discuss how the file was discovered and take a look at the data contained in the file. All i Phones appear to log your location to a file called “” This contains latitude-longitude coordinates along with a timestamp.
The coordinates aren’t always exact, but they are pretty detailed.
We’re not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it’s clearly intentional, as the database is being restored across backups, and even device migrations. We’ve contacted Apple’s Product Security team, but we haven’t heard back.
What makes this issue worse is that the file is unencrypted and unprotected, and it’s on any machine you’ve synched with your i OS device.