So everyone is up in arms over the revelation that the iPhone (and 3G iPad) collects and stores information on every place it has been. More accurately, it stores information and location on every cellphone tower it has connected to. The longitude/latitude data that is being stored is obtained by cellphone triangulation, which iOS uses to determine location when no GPS hardware or signal are available.
The iPhone stores this information without your consent on both your iPhone and on your computer, if you are syncing your iOS 3G capable device to your computer and letting it create a backup of your devices data.
Pete Warden and Alasdaid Allan have crafted an app that scans this information, and places the coordinates on a map, along with a date scrubber to see where your device has been.
Looking over my data, it showed what I already knew – that apart from trips over the last year to Minnesota (business), Florida (family) and North Carolina, I lead a pretty boring life.
However, there is one anomaly that was odd.
I bought my iPhone 4 new last year on the day it launched, June 24th. However, the location data on my iPhone shows that it traveled down US95, right outside Las Vegas on June 23rd. I’m assuming this where the iPhone entered the country on it’s trip from China, and then was routed to a plane that took it to the Apple Store in Buford, GA.
The odd thing is the phone wasn’t activated until the next day. I had assumed that for the phone to log the location data, it needed an activated SIM card. Apparently, that isn’t the case.
So apparently your 3G iOS device will log it’s connection to each and every cell tower it connects with, even if it hasn’t been activated yet.
Either that, or my iPhone spent the night before it’s launch having a grand old time in sunny Las Vegas.