Security researchers presenting at the Where 2.0 conference have revealed a hidden, secret iOS file that keeps a record of everywhere you've been. The record is synched to your PC and subsequently resynched to your other mobile devices. The file is not transmitted to Apple, but constitutes a substantial privacy breach if your PC or mobile device are lost or seized. The researchers, Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, have released a free/open application called "iPhone Tracker" that allows you to retrieve the location data on your iOS device and examine it. They did not discover a comparable file on Android devices.
The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone's recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computer could discover details about the owner's movements using a simple program.
For some phones, there could be almost a year's worth of data stored, as the recording of data seems to have started with Apple's iOS 4 update to the phone's operating system, released in June 2010.
"Apple has made it possible for almost anybody – a jealous spouse, a private detective – with access to your phone or computer to get detailed information about where you've been," said Pete Warden, one of the researchers.