iOS 17 re-enables iPhone privacy settings like Significant Locations

For some users, Apple’s latest iOS 17 software turns the iPhone’s Significant Locations privacy option back on even though they previously disabled it.

Woman holding an iPhone in front of her face. The tagline reads, "Privacy. That's Apple."
Apple turned privacy into a business advantage | Image: Apple

Two iOS  developers and occasional security researchers shared in a post on X, the social network formerly known as Twitter, that iOS 17 seems to re-enable the Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics toggles for some of the people.

Needless to say, no user settings should change without explicit permission after updating your iPhone to iOS 17, especially preferences related to privacy.

Apple has turned user privacy into one of its stronger competitive advantages, so this is almost certainly a bug rather than intended behavior. According to 9to5Mac,  the Cupertino company is currently investigating this issue.

Has iOS 17 re-enabled Significant Locations on your iPhone?

This issue only happens to some people instead of everyone who has updated to iOS 17. Those affected by it claim the update re-enables the Significant Locations setting and turns on adding location information to iPhone analytics sent to Apple.

If you’ve disabled these two privacy settings before updating to iOS 17 or buying a new iPhone, it doesn’t hurt to check them just in case. The related Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics toggles can be found by venturing into Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services.

As always, you’re free to make your own choices.

Should I disable Significant Locations on an iPhone?

Privacy advocates advise disabling both options, but you’re free to make your own choices. The Significant Locations feature uses end-to-end encryption to prevent anyone, including Apple, from accessing this data.

As for having your location information included in iPhone analytics reports sent to Apple, this information doesn’t identify you.

You can manage the sharing of analytics, diagnostics, and usage data with Apple at any time in Settings > Privacy > Diagnostics & Usage.

How does the Significant Locations feature work?

This feature summarizes locations you frequent the most without giving any personal details. Apple uses this data to improve the experience of using features like Photos memories, predictive traffic routing, and so on.

Your significant locations may include home and office, favorite restaurant, parent’s house, etc. You can view a summary of recent location records that your iPhone has collected and clear this data from the bottom of the Significant Locations screen.

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