It looks like the privacy hippies were finally right about something, your mobile phone really is a pocket sized tracking device.
Turns out that as of iOS 4.0, iPhones have been tracking your physical movements and logging it along with the phone’s backups.
A small team of researchers have discovered these logs in iTune’s backup files, they’ve released a handy little app that collects all the data from your user folder and plots it on a map. iPhoneTracker.app and further information available here.
Here is the visualization of everywhere I’ve been since Sept 28, 2010:
You can see lots of activity in and around Winnipeg (including trips up to the Gimli and Victoria Beach), a flight to Toronto and subsequent travel around southern Ontario and a road trip to Minneapolis. It’s fascinating.
I’m not sure if this is a terrifying privacy hole or a neat little hidden feature. I’m leaning towards neat feature, since the data is stored locally on your computer and can be encrypted automatically by iTunes.
At this point in time a method for disabling the “feature” does not exist. I expect Apple will be responding in short order.