iPhone 8(+) Can Apple track your location?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by AMSOS, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. AMSOS macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    I've switched off all location tracking options in Privacy on iOS 12.

    This includes cell tower info too.

    The only option I've left on is "Find my iPhone".

    What happens if I switch it off too? Obviously, I won't be able to track the phone, but are there any other issues I could face?

    In general, if you switch off all the options in Privacy, is there some way for Apple to still track your location?
  2. Bballrob macrumors regular


    Jul 11, 2017
    The answer to this question depends on who you believe - the conspiracy theorists, or Apple??
  3. Banglazed macrumors demi-god


    Apr 17, 2017
    Cupertino, CA

  4. now i see it macrumors 68040

    Jan 2, 2002
    Your cellular provider can track you if your phone is connected to any cellular network. The only way to not be tracked is turn on airplane mode or don't turn on your phone.

    If you're really paranoid about being tracked, you shouldn't be using a cell phone of any kind.
  5. CTHarrryH macrumors 68000

    Jul 4, 2012
    There is a difference between can and doing. Maybe I'm too much of a believer but I don't think Apple tracks you but almost everyone else does.
    I live in Maine and apparently the state is buying information from some company (which provides to a whole bunch of states, etc to figure out traffic patterns.

    Make sure you have turned off Significant locations also.
  6. squizzler macrumors regular


    Feb 11, 2019
    You Kay
  7. Lee_Bo macrumors regular


    Mar 26, 2017
    Greenville, SC
  8. Shirasaki macrumors G3


    May 16, 2015
    Of course they can. Whether Apple will do it or not is another matter. But technically they can track any device and know their exact location.
  9. NoBoMac macrumors 68020

    Jul 1, 2014
    Will echo, if paranoid about being tracked, need to get rid of phone, tablet, desktop/laptop.

    In addition to GPS, you also have databases that track general location of IP addresses. For example:


    (Not sure what service Apple uses for things like 2FA to get the "someone is accessing at <location name>")

    And you have wifi location, where if you connect to a known AP, it's on the grid:


    Oh and: things like iBeacons

  10. niji Contributor


    Feb 9, 2003
    iPhone = iCloud = tracking.
    i trust that apple understands that its #1 marketing strength in terms of brand power is to abide by its promises to not abuse this data.
    i dont trust apple by itself. i do trust that apple understands it is dead if it breaches that marketing promise.
  11. internetrando macrumors 6502


    Jun 5, 2018
    Trust me. If someone wants to find you in today's world, they will find you.
  12. Zxxv macrumors 68040

    Nov 13, 2011
    Any app that has notifications on will track your location as it logs into the website for notification updates.

    Anytime you open an app it will send your location to the website you are opening. Yes apps are just web portals.

    So apple will always know your location as they are smart via your WiFi etc

    Why they would be interested is another matter.

    Are you a pedo or serial killer or drug dealer or something who needs to cover his or her tracks?
  13. Coffee_Time macrumors regular

    Nov 22, 2017
    Wrong! The only option is to take out the sim and then factory reset your phone as you don't know what little software your carrier has installed in your phone without you even know it. Also reflash your home router stock firmware as well. Chinese and russians can modify your home router firmware. That's a real fact.
  14. haruhiko macrumors 601


    Sep 29, 2009
    People of all races can be hackers lol.
  15. Shanghaichica macrumors G4


    Apr 8, 2013
  16. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    I see. So, basically all this privacy talk by Apple is just a marketing tactic. From what I can see from comments here, it seems Apple will normally not track you, but they can if they want to.
    Yes, I've turned off all options that are listed in Privacy settings, except Find My iPhone.
    So, I am intrigued. If all location related options are turned off, how exactly will they track you? I can understand that the phone company can do that through the IMEI, but how can Apple track you? A comment mentioned iCloud, but I am not sure how that allows Apple to track you.
    I am interested in the clarifying the technical side of it.
  17. mrochester macrumors 68000

    Feb 8, 2009
    Apple's privacy stance isn't about not tracking you entirely, it's about not using that data to generate an advertising profile to monetise you and your behaviour.
  18. NoBoMac, Apr 20, 2019
    Last edited: Apr 20, 2019

    NoBoMac macrumors 68020

    Jul 1, 2014

    Here are some relevant links to bone up on. Apple does not care about one's pr0n habits or if going to a pirating website.


    And it's not just Apple, it's everything. Send an email, ip address sending from is recorded, as well as sender & receiver email address, and probably on the mail severs unencrypted. Do a Google search, ip address is recorded. If doing this over cellular, triangulation can pinpoint you. Use Google maps, that will send back to Google your location. Etc etc.

    And as I mentioned earlier, ip address can be mapped, in some cases, to a physical address.

    And this does not even cover cookies in the browser allow places like Amazon know you have been searching for products and present you ads for said products on the other sites you visit.

    So unless you toss out your electronics, someone somewhere is tracking you. Your cell provider, your ISP, someone else's ISP, every service/website out there.

    ADD: want to really get into the nitty gritty, can read this.


    Or get a dumb phone, all that will track is cell tower pings (assuming GPS is off), as Android phones are not any more privacy friendly (probably worse).
  19. BasicGreatGuy Contributor


    Sep 21, 2012
    In the middle of several books.
    If you are leery of Apple and are concerned they (singularly or en masse) may be abusing inherent privileges for some unknown reason, you should stop using your iPhone, iPad, or any other Apple device that connects to the internet.

    In a real life, day to day scenario, the best the average consumer can do is limit his or her electronic footprint. In my opinion, you should be more concerned with the various apps you are using, in addition to what your cellular provider is collecting and keeping.
  20. AMSOS thread starter macrumors regular

    Nov 21, 2010
    Thanks for this. Yes, I am sure Amazon and the likes are perpetually in that mode.
    So, here is what I understand from the informative responses here - Apple is tracking every user even when they switch off all relevant settings in privacy. But they: a) don't monetise this data, b) don't uniquely identify a user, unless given explicit permission.
    The ISP and phone provider (Cricket for me) is of course a different matter altogether. There is obviously no way to have them not know your location etc. And I wonder if even shifting to basic phones will help there.
    I almost always use Duckduckgo and Google maps is set to know location only while in use.
    I understand that Amazon will keep a track when I browse the website. But, on iPhone at least, surely they have no way of knowing what else I am browsing when I am not on the Amazon site?
    Yes, of course. And I am doing that by switching off all those privacy settings for which Apple gives me options.
    This will sound naive, but if Apple and Google already know everything about, with the monetising your profile being the only difference, why is it still important to limit one's digital footprint?
  21. omgitsbees macrumors member

    Jun 5, 2013
    Tim Cook personally tracks all of my movements.

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