iPhone's Free Private Detective

06/05/2015 12:16 pm ET | Updated Jun 04, 2016

If you are married or in a relationship and suspect that your spouse or partner may be unfaithful to you, this article is going to make you very happy and scurrying to get a quick peek at your beloved's phone. Conversely, if you are presently engaged in conduct that your other half would not approve, you will probably get a knot in your stomach and want to get out your iPhone and adjust some settings immediately.

Commencing with iOS7, Apple added a feature to the iPhone that literally tracks not only every place that you visit while you are with your iPhone, but it also records exactly how long that you are at each location. The degree of specificity recorded is actually quite chilling once you see it. You will easily be able to see on a map every restaurant, bar, hotel or location where you (or whoever's iPhone it is that you are peeking at) has been. There is also a list of each location visited with the exact amount of time that was spent at each location.


Apple's explanation for the collection of this highly personal information is to "provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing." While conspiracy theorists may argue that this information is being used for other purposes, Apple assures us that "This data is kept solely on your device and won't be sent to Apple without your consent." Whatever the truth is, here's what you need to know to spy away, or alternatively, to erase or prevent the recording of some of your digital tracks.


First, if the iPhone you desire to examine has a Touch ID or Passcode, you obviously need to know the Passcode. If you don't know the Passcode of the person's phone you are trying to examine, it is either because you should not be looking at their phone, or the person you are in a relationship with does not trust you with access to his or her iPhone. If the latter is the case, I can tell you as a litigator that does significant divorce work, your relationship lacks trust and is probably already in trouble. Assuming you have the Passcode, the rest of the steps to obtain the information you seek are quite easy.

On the iPhone proceed to the Settings icon. On the menu, select Privacy and then Location Services. Scroll to the bottom of the list and then select System Services. Again, proceed to the bottom of the menu and select Frequent Locations. You will see a list of all of the locations where that iPhone has been under the History section. You may next select any location, then any particular visit, and see exactly how long the iPhone was at that particular location on any given date.

In the event that you are unable to see any information, there may be several reasons: First, Location Services must be in the on position to record this data. If that feature is not enabled, you will not be able to view any locations that were visited while the feature was not on. Second, there is a Clear History function that can be selected at the bottom of the location, which deletes the History.

This iPhone feature is a wonderful spy tool, which depending on what type of activity is being engaged in and by whom may provide solace or fairly disturbing and incriminating evidence. Reviewing this information is not subject to detection by the iPhone, and the information can easily be preserved by a photo. Obviously, garnering this type of information is far more cost effective than the utilization of a private investigator and avoids the risk of installing what might be illegal software. This feature also is much more detailed and effective than traditional GPS systems, which are usually affixed to a vehicle and are in many cases, very illegal.

The bottom line: If you are engaging in improper conduct, turn off the Location Services on your iPhone. If you do turn it off, be prepared to offer an explanation why it is off. And yes, the feature can be disabled so that it is turned off while you are at the place you should not be, but it better be turned off before you head to that location. Finally, it does not take much sleuthing to see glaring gaps is your History, so don't think that will be an easy out for anyone carefully examining your conduct.

Of course, being faithful obviates any need for concern at all, and you will probably be amused about what this feature reveals about you and your daily travels. Regardless, I am guessing that after you read this article you will probably be examining your own iPhone and that of your spouse or partner-- as well as sending this to a few friends that would love to have access to this information.