There has been a growing concern among consumers regarding their privacy when using certain devices and online services. In fact, some developers and manufacturers have been flagged by regulators for deceptive practices that could potentially be exploited. However, most are quick to justify certain aspects of data collection, which they in their argument purportedly needed to curate the user's experience. Meanwhile, unlike Google, Apple has been generally viewed as more secure, but it appears to be no different when it comes to location tracking, which users should be aware of now.

At this point, even average users are aware of certain settings that can be toggled to disable specific functions that can collect information on their smartphones and other gadgets. By default, iPhones will request permission to enable "Location Services" during initial setup. Those who allowed it by mistake can just disable it later on from the settings menu. What many do not know, on the other hand, is that there is another option that must be turned off as well.

According to Komando, the iPhone has a "secret map keeping track of where you go." Many owners have posted questions on forums in the past to ask how their handsets regularly prompted them with directions to work and back home. Even with Location Services turned off, the smartphone seems to still be able to gather data on their whereabouts. Tech experts were able to narrow it down to a sub-menu with a selection called "Significant Locations."

When questioned about this feature, Apple explained that the iPhone uses the data to mark destinations and landmarks that folks regularly visit. It apparently does this to personalise how other first-party apps present images and directions. Since these are then synchronised with the company's cloud servers it can, in theory, be intercepted by cybercriminals.

Apple iPhone 5
Apple Maps was widely derided for its errors on its launch in 2012 Reuters

The manufacturer assures that all online communication between iPhones and its servers are encrypted and hackers would need to have the actual handset and password to access anything. Users who want to disable this feature can do so from the "Privacy" menu. Under "Location Services" select "System Services" and then disable "Significant Locations."