Why you shouldn't stop this 'hidden' location tracking on your iPhone

Doing so will, among other things, wear out your battery much sooner than it should.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Earlier today someone pointed out to me an article over on the Forbes blogs encouraging readers to "Stop This 'Hidden' Location Tracking" on their iPhones. Now, this is something that I've encouraged paranoid people or those looking for the best possible security to do.

But there are downsides. Costly downsides.

It can cause your battery to wear out prematurely.

Must read: iPhone battery bad after installing iOS 14? Apple offers some help

Using iOS 14 to diagnose battery drain

How does turning off a feature that tracks your location cause your iPhone's battery to wear out?

Well, first off, you've got to ask why Apple is collecting this data in the first place. After all, it's stored on the iPhone, and not sent back to the Apple mothership.

Because this is part of the data collected by your iPhone that makes the machine learning smarter.

And one thing it is used for, amongst other things, is to determine whether your iPhone should turn on Optimized Battery Charging when you plug in your iPhone to charge.

Now, you can check out what data your iPhone is collecting as you travel by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services Significant Locations. In order to gain access to this data you will need to authenticate yourself using the iPhone's passcode, or using Face ID/Touch ID.

Once in, you can see what data is being collected, what it is being used for, delete it, and prevent it from being collected.

But be aware that this data is used for a lot of things in apps such as Photos, Maps, Calendar, as well as system services such as Optimized Battery Charging. Also be aware that it is not sent to Apple, and that the data is encrypted and cannot be read by Apple.

An entry under Significant Locations

An entry under Significant Locations

But I also understand why some people might not want their iPhones collecting this data.

Just be aware that turning this off with break things.

Inside a disposable phone charger

Editorial standards