How to Turn Off the Cellphone Feature Tracking Your Every Move

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

NEW YORK – There’s a hidden feature on your cell phone -- Apple and Android -- and it's tracking your every move.

The software is called "frequent locations" and keeps a record of your daily routine. It's stored in a maze of privacy settings, tracking time, dates and how long you stay somewhere.

Yes, it knows where you live and work, based on your time and trips there.

Patrick J. Brosnan is a security expert and retired NYPD detective. He likened it to a Pandora’s Box for law enforcement.

“It’s both a homing device and it’s a confession,” Brosnan explained. And It’s a tool investigators would love to keep secret from criminals.

“There’s a range of cases that the information obtained from the phone, established innocence or guilt,“ Brosnan warned.

Apple pledged it won’t share this information without your consent. The company said the software is “used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.”

“You have the option to turn off your location. As long as people know they can opt out…you’re saying ‘I consent to this’,”  Cira Affacato said, who has her frequent location settings turned off.

It’s also a great glimpse into someone’s love life for divorce lawyers.

Robert Wallack is a New York City divorce attorney, who has successfully used this information for judgment on custody and alimony cases.

“If someone claims they’re at work or away, we’re able to find out they’re not; and doing things they shouldn’t be doing,” Wallack said.

Unlike 10 years ago, every criminal and civil case now involves digital evidence, warned Wallack.

“It has become easier for people to cheat. It’s easier to find out if people are cheating,” he said.


1. Click "Settings"
2. Go to "Privacy"
3. Select "Location Services"
4. Scroll down to "System Services"
5. Choose "Frequent Locations" to see the logged record of where you've been -- de-select this to turn the feature off

Open the App Drawer and go to Settings.
Scroll down and tap Location.
Scroll down and tap Google Location Settings.
Tap Location Reporting and Location History, and switch the slider to off for each one.
To delete your phone's location cache, tap "Delete Location History" at the bottom of the screen under Location History.
Repeat this process for each Google Account you have on your Android device.