30 Secrets Apple Will Not Tell Us About Phone Tracking

By Sophie 7 months ago

1. The Find My Phone App Uses Bluetooth

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If you lose your phone often then chances are, you've used the Find My Phone app to look for it. This app uses Bluetooth technology to locate your device, which means it is open for everyone else to connect to, too. If someone syncs to your device via Bluetooth then they can track your location. Scary!

2. Your Data Is Stored Every Time You Accept Cookies

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Most websites won't let you enter with accepting their cookies, which are small files of data that download onto your phone. Once downloaded, cookies remember all sort of things about you; the websites you've visited, the shopping you have browsed, as well as any personal data that you enter into the website. You can choose your preferences but who has time to do that?

3. It Tracks Your Shopping Habits

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There are many ways in which your phone can track your shopping habits, and the most obvious one is when you shop online. However what a lot of people don't know, is that when your location services are enabled, your phone will track which shops you physically enter and how long you stay there for. Your phone can even predict personal events depending on when and where you shop.

4. Your Distance Travelled Is Tracked

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Do you ever get those monthly timelines where you can look back on what you've done that month and how far you've travelled? Your phone will store that data, and offer marketing geared at your method of travel. Driven a lot lately? Expect to see ads about car accessories. Seeing holiday ads? Probably because you've flown a lot this month...

5. They Know Where You Live

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Your phone is a very clever device and can deduce where you live from how long you stay at a singular address. You might think you're being clever by never using your home address and having parcels delivered to your local collection point...but your phone knows more than you realize!

6. Your Data Is Sold

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There are so many companies who are making bank by selling your data; no matter how boring your life is, the details of it are still valuable. Data collection can tell a lot about an individual, a community, a country, and further afield. They will also make you the target of tailored ads in hopes you'll spend some money!

7. It Could Track Social Distancing

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This point is quite niche as it is in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, however it is very relevant for the past few years. A phone can tell the distance between it and the next phone, and also how many other phones it comes into contact with. Phones mean people, so the more phones you've been around the less likely it is that you followed pandemic guidelines.

8. It Isn't Always Clear What You're Consenting To

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Companies are sneaky when it comes to getting you to agree to things. Their terms and conditions will be lengthy and their explanations unclear, so if you want to enter a site which requires you to consent to having our data stored, we'll bet that you would normally press 'accept' before trying to make sense of what it is you're agreeing to!

9. You're Tracked On Weather Apps

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Weather apps are really handy for seeing what it'll be like outside so you can plan accordingly, but did you ever consider that these apps may be tracking you? They will have your location and also the locations you'll be visiting. They'll store all of this data and know where you'll wish to receive weather alerts from and therefore will know where you are most often.

10. They Know When You Go To The Doctor

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It's really handy for some companies to know how busy the doctor's office is, and how far people travel, so your phone will know exactly which surgery you go to and how often. Not great when you want your appointments to be confidential, but luckily they won't know what you're there for... unless it's listening.

11. It Listens To You

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Have you ever noticed that you'll start getting targeted ads about a conversation you've just had? That's because your phone is listening to you. Your device will pick up keywords and store the data, so that it can be more efficient at getting you to click ads, buy products, and spend time on sites it thinks you might enjoy. Maybe best to turn your microphone off...

12. Siri Remembers

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Siri is a really handy feature on your phone if you wish to go hands free, and you can only activating it by saying "Hey Siri". However, what people don't realize is that Siri stores everything you've asked it, so it is not a simple case of having your commands met; Siri can pick up patterns that gives it an idea of who you really are!

13. You're Tracked At The Gas Station

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Gas stations want to know how far people travel to get to them so they know the general area that they are serving. The best way to do this is to buy data from phone companies who track your travel, and how often you visit. Why not confuse them and use a different gas station every time...

14. Privacy Policies Can Be Changed Any Time

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And they are. All they need to do is change the small print slightly and get you to agree again, which you probably will do without checking or noticing that there's any difference. They can subtly change what you're consenting to so they'll never have to take any responsibility if you decide you're unhappy with how they're using your data.

15. Opting Out Can Restrict Some Services

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If you don't consent to having your data collected then some sites won't even let you enter. There are many websites now that require you to enter some details to even get in! Even if you don't need to enter details, the sites will run slowly and you won't be able to access certain areas.

16. Your Data Is Used For Marketing

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Companies don't want to waste their time showing ads to people who won't be interested in their products, so they'll use your data to see what you're interested in. So you'll see ads all over your social media which directly relate to things you have searched for or sites you have visited.

17. It Has Your Biometric Data

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Keeping your phone secure is of high importance, and you'll want to ensure that people don't use it without your permission. To do this, there are all sorts of ways of unlocking your phone; from your fingerprints to facial recognition. Your phone has all of this information stored and who knows who may hack into it!

18. It Knows Your Passwords

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Your phone often asks if you'd like to save your passwords so that you don't have to remember them every time you log in. This means that your phone has access information to your bank account, your emails, and all sorts of other personal details. Are you sure this is secure?

19. It Knows Everywhere You've Ever Been

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Just because you've changed phones, don't think all our data is lost. As you have to log in to various accounts, all of your travel data will be linked to you, so the systems know everywhere you've ever been and how often. There'll be a caricature of you floating around in the cloud based on your footprint!

20. It Knows Where Photos Are Taken

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Some people love that you can look back on memories and see exactly where they occurred, and your phone has a clever way of doing this. It maps where each photo has been taken, and as it recognizes faces, it also knows who you have been there with. Creepy!

21. Your Traffic Alerts Are Tracked

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Traffic alerts are so helpful when you've got a destination to reach, as it makes planning your journey a lot easier. When you receive these traffic alerts your phone knows exactly where you're about to go, and whether or not you'll need to follow a diversion.

22. They'll Send Ads Based On Where You've Been

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Everything is so interconnected in the world wide web, and all of the services talk to each other. Your location services will talk to ad providers, who will send ads based on where you have been. It kinda feels like they're stalking you to get your money!

23. It Tracks Your Political Views

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This one is scary. Depending on who you follow on social media, what you read and who you interact with, you're sure to see lots of information which aligns with one political party or the other. The purpose of this is to sway voters, as you'll likely agree with a lot of what you are being shown.

24. You Can Turn Off Personal Ads

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Apple don't want you to turn off personal ads as they make a lot of money from them, however you can do this quite easily. By doing so, you are not giving your consent to be shown ads that correlate with that which you search for. You'll be less likely to interact with adverts and they will have less information on you. It's a win-win!

25. Your Data Can Easily Identify You

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Although the data collected is mostly numbers, broad ideas of what you're like and where you've been, it doesn't always directly identify you. However, due to the amount of data collected including where you live, it wouldn't be too hard to find out who all that data belongs to.

26. Personalized Ads Are Not Just Based On What You Look At

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They can be based on your age, gender, postcode, and other personal information that you tell Apple when you sign up for an Apple ID. It's really sneaky how they do this, as it's often not optional to provide such data if you wish to use the phone's full services.

27. You Don't Have A Choice

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If you wish to use the App Store, you simply have to give over personal information, there is no other choice. Apple make it sound very simple and easy to do, however by literally handing over our information you are giving up the autonomy of it. It no longer belongs to just you.

28. They Know Who You're With

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Ever been with a person then received some "suggested friends" on your Facebook and it's them? That's because your phones would have interacted. Most people have smartphones nowadays so you probably can't meet up with anyone without your phones knowing where you've been!

29. Other People Can Track You

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There is easily accessible jailbreak software on the internet that anyone can use to hack into your phone and get your location data. This means that anyone with a computer can find out where you are, where you've been, and where you may be going. If that isn't terrifying then we don't know what is!

30. It Can Tell You If You Have Had Contact With Covid

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During the Covid 19 Pandemic, there was a feature which would text you if you had been in contact with someone who has the virus. This was an overt way of supposedly keeping us safe, however we think it tells you all there is to know about phone tracking; in that they always know where we've been, and who with.