Your iPhone is equipped with a feature called Frequent Locations, which slowly tracks your location in the background to keep you updated via the Today View and the Lock screen on how long it would take you to get to your favorite places based on how often you visit them.

If you choose to enable Location Services during the initial iPhone setup, this feature will be enabled by default, so if you feel like it is a slight hindrance on your ability to remain private, you just might be right. In this tutorial, we’ll show you how you can disable the feature and keep your iPhone from knowing where you are going next.

How Significant Locations works

Significant locations takes location samples every so often to find out where you spend most of your time. It plots down the places you visit on a map, and the times you visit them, and uses the information it gathers to determine where you’re most likely to go based on your current location. From this information, it’s able to give you tips in Notification Center and on the Lock screen on how long it would take you to get to your next destination, whether it’s home, work, or something else nearby that you visit often.

For example, this feature might tell you:

  • Right now, it would take you about 10 minutes to drive home, or
  • Right now, it would take you about 37 minutes to drive to work

Also read: How to use Frequent Locations and Traffic Conditions features on iPhone

Why you would want to disable it

Since Significant Locations would essentially be plotting your every move on a map and tracking your most likely destination from there, it raises the eyebrow of just how much personal information we’re giving to our computers and mobile devices these days that could easily get hacked into or snooped on.

By keeping this feature on, you’re a walking keylogger of every location you’ve ever been to. You should consider disabling this feature if you want to keep your location and private life with yourself and not with the internet, which is being used to map and track your location.

What’s more is the constant use of your location in the background will have an impact on your device’s battery life, which may be yet another reason you might want to disable the feature.

How to disable Significant Locations in iOS

So by now you’re probably wondering what you can do to turn the feature off; you’re in luck, because it’s actually pretty easy. You can simply follow these steps:

Step 1: Launch the Settings app and navigate to Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations.

Step 2: Toggle off the switch for “Significant Locations” and your device will stop actively logging your location for this service.

In some cases, your device may have been tracking your location in the background for some time. If this is the case, you may also see a log of location histories and a “Clear History” button that you can use to clear the history of Significant Locations. We’d suggest using it if you see it. The button won’t appear if your device hasn’t been tracking your location long enough to keep a record.


Disabling Significant Locations is a good privacy step to take for all of your iOS devices, and not just one of them. Keeping this kind of information off of your device helps ensure that your privacy is secured even in the event that your device gets compromised – hacked or stolen.

Not only is the feature creepy overall, but its usefulness raises a lot of eyebrows and its methods of helping you find your way home are questionable at best. After all, if you wanted to know how to get home, you’d probably just launch your Maps app and query for yourself without iOS tracking you in the background.

If you found this tutorial helpful, leave us a comment below!

  • David Pomerleau

    First thing I do when family and friends get new iPhone. When I tell them what I’m doing they can’t believe it’s on by default. Privacy is biggest issue but for me the battery drain is biggest concern. Surprised article doesn’t mention this.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      Good point!

  • Edgar Barrios

    I Like to leave it on, So Apple will know how many times i go to the strip club.

    • HA! Made me smile!

  • Martynet

    I have it on, I have google tracking on too… Because I have absolutely NOTHING to hide and it really doesn’t bother me if someone knows where I am. Maybe, one nice day it will be handy, as alibi for example and thanks to that I don’t end up in the prison like the guys in making the murderer… 😀

    • Martynet

      What bothers me much more is iCloud photos library. For months I had issues with mobile data leaks… Even when my phone was on wifi at home. Suddenly, 1,5 GB of data GONE… for no reason. Took me a while to figure out it’s iCloud Photo Library. Going to call apple soon and hopefully they’ll refund me every penny I was charged for extra data usage because of that. And no, I don’t have the wifi assist on, if someone wonders. Since I turned my icloud photo library off the data consumption is really low.

  • Rupinder

    Just a heads up – if you’re on iOS 9.3, turning off “Setting Time Zone” will not allow your phone to automatically turn on Blue Light Reduction when the sun sets.

  • I don’t think this is a privacy concern since to my knowledge the information stays on the device and is encrypted. If your location history was plastered all over the Internet then I could understand how it would be a violation of people’s privacy. I think it might be a good idea to disable it to save on battery life though.

    • Chris

      The only reason I did disable it was to save a little of my battery life each day, this feature actually made a nightly news show in Australia back in 2013 which basically put the fear into people without truly explaining how it worked.

    • Anthony Bouchard

      You’re right about the information staying on the device, but it becomes a problem if someone knows your passcode or is able to bypass it. Then they can see the whole map of where you’ve been.

  • Out5poken

    Frequent locations is one of the reasons which pushed me to rid my phone of the 8.4 jailbreak on my iPhone 6 and update to 9.2… For some reason it just stopped working! But i love the feature and think it’s really useful.

  • Blip dude

    This is a privacy concern?? The hell should I care if Apple knows I visit t****bars often (I don’t). Simply put, it’s there for convenience which of course always comes at a price (in this case battery life). It doesn’t bother me so I simply leave it on. It is always nice to know the traffic on the way to work.

  • J™

    This IS a privacy concern…
    Just imagine what will happen when your wife picks up your phone and finds out u have been visiting the gentlemen’s club everytime u tell her u have to work late

    • Blip dude

      That’s more of a moral issue (for lack of a better term) than a privacy concern. The hell are you doing visiting the gentlemen’s club when you have a wife at home?? What the hell is your wife doing picking up your phone and looking through it. Don’t blame Apple, Google, or anyone else for the wifey problem, blame the apparent crappy sex and marriage.

      P.S. – no, none of this is my business but to blame a feature for the way one chooses to conduct themselves is simply stupid and cowardly.

      • J™

        OK Mr. Righteous…
        Some people just don’t have any sense of humor

  • Sleetui

    Wonder how much this impacts battery life…

  • Frankie

    I done all the steps here.
    Hope it be useful… I think yes! 🙂

  • Tiffany Ford

    Hi, I have a question I’m trying to find the feature Frequent Locations in my settings so I can turn it off. I don’t know since the new update it’s not on my phone but I don’t see it anywhere. As well as I don’t see WiFi calling. I only see WiFi networking. Could someone please help?

  • Wayne Smith

    Mine quit working and I can’t figure out why. Started after one of the updates. I have frequent locations on. I have location based alerts on. I went into apple maps and turned on “show traffic” as an experiment. I used to have the “20 minutes to home” alerts and loved it. Now nothing every pops up. Am I missing something else to toggle? Thanks.