iPhone Tracker application (plus a 32 bit version for Leopard)

If you haven’t heard yet, your iPhone creates a record of all the places you go, and the information is stored in a database on your computer whenever you sync with iTunes.

See here for more information, and an application that will show you a map with all the locations you’ve ever visited with your iPhone:

http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/

(Note: For a version that works on 32-bit Core Duo Macs, and one that runs on OS X 10.5 Leopard, see further down. For a Windows PC version, see right at the bottom of this post.)

Here’s an example screenshot of the iPhone Tracker application:

Screenshot of the iPhone Tracker app
Screenshot of the iPhone Tracker app

Apple doesn’t seem to be sending this information anywhere, but really, they shouldn’t be storing this much of this kind of information unencrypted in the first place.

The first thing you should do is enable encrypted iPhone backups so that other users and applications on your computer can’t access this information. I’ve been doing this for a while.


iPhoneTracker for OS X Leopard (10.5) and 32-bit Processors

If you have an older Mac with a 32-bit Intel Core Duo processor which can’t run the 64-bit version of the application on Pete Warden’s site, you will get this message:

"You can't open the application iPhoneTracker because it is not supported on this type of Mac."
"You can't open the application iPhoneTracker because it is not supported on this type of Mac."

If you are running Mac OS X Leopard (10.5) you will see this message:

“You cannot use this version of the application iPhoneTracker with this version of Mac OS X”

You can download and try run this 32-bit version I made for Mac OS X Leopard (10.5):

iPhoneTracker_32bit_leopard.zip

MD5 fingerprint for the zip file is: 3977c24e07019e23c987337f9342e684
SHA: 8757eba4a661e22f8b5b366c2dcd06becd90ea17

And this 32-bit build I made for Snow Leopard (10.6):

iPhoneTracker_32bit.zip

MD5 fingerprint for the zip file is: f8d2b4ccf107198a22aef655765d9654
SHA: cd9fce97c2db24515eaa687335c8e5e103a7eba8

For the geeks, you can get my modified version of Pete Warden’s source at this github repository:

https://github.com/julianpistorius/iPhoneTracker


Update: Combined with the fact that police officers in some areas are copying the content from cellphones of people stopped for traffic offences, it gets scarier:

http://thenextweb.com/us/2011/04/20/us-police-can-copy-your-iphones-contents-in-under-two-minutes/

Update 2: Here’s a Windows application that does the same thing. I can’t vouch for it:

http://huseyint.com/iPhoneTrackerWin/

Update 3: The original version of iPhoneTracker now supports 32-bit and PPC machines, and presumably OS X Leopard. You shouldn’t need my custom build any more.

Update 4: I made a build that increases the time and location accuracy. I’m not sure how useful this is, but here you go: iPhoneTracker_32bit_higher_accuracy.zip

Update 5: Apple heard, and have released a version of iOS that fixes some of the security problems:
http://www.macworld.com/article/159643/2011/05/ios433_location_fixes.html

 

(Hat tip Andrew Hedges)

30 thoughts on “iPhone Tracker application (plus a 32 bit version for Leopard)”

  1. Thanks for the 32bit version – one thing I can’t figure out is how the database on my iPhone says I’ve been to a number of locations I’ve never been to. Two cases in point I’m in Chicago and and ride south on my motorcycle and have never road closer to the Indiana/Illinois border than 20 mile but the mapping shows me being about 50 mile inside Indiana. Another one is going to Wisconsin never been west of Stevens Point Wi but the mapping shows me being as far north west as Wausau – any ideas?

  2. Hey LB!

    It’s a pleasure.

    As for the discrepancy in the locations, the iPhoneTracker FAQ has some possible answers:

    From Why did you open-source this code, won’t that make the problem worse?:

    “To make it less useful for snoops, the spatial and temporal accuracy of the data has been artificially reduced. You can only animate week-by-week even though the data is timed to the second, and if you zoom in you’ll see the points are constrained to a grid, so your exact location is not revealed. The underlying database has no such constraints, unfortunately.”

    From Why are some points in places I’ve never visited?:

    “As far as we can tell, the location is determined by triangulating against the nearest cell-phone towers. This isn’t as accurate as GPS, but presumably takes less power. In some cases it can get very confused and temporarily think you’re several miles from your actual location, but these tend to be intermittent glitches.”

  3. Thanks. This is awesome. When tried from iPhone Tracker App it said will not work with my version of OSX I was a bit perturbed, then realized that version only works on newer Macs.

    I tried first with my iPhone backups encrypted and it showed way back to 2009 (excluding recent). When I unencrypted my iPhone backups it showed everything to current. Thank you again, for making this public. I always knew my “phone” tracked my every move-it’s just neat to actually see it.

    Now, let’s take another look at the Patriot Act. Seems cops-and God forbid-the FBI, CIA without discretion.

  4. I get an error saying Couldn’t load consolidated.db file does this mean my backup in encrypted and if so how can i fix that?

  5. Hi Dave,

    That is one of the possibilities, yes. See below:

    https://github.com/petewarden/iPhoneTracker/issues/1

    If the error message in iPhoneTracker is due to encrypted backups, you can try to disable encrypted iPhone backups, by un-ticking the “Encrypt iPhone backup” checkbox on the “Summary” tab for your iPhone in iTunes.

    That doesn’t work on mine for some reason, and you might have the same problem, so check out the following links:

    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2443765?threadID=2443765
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2049760?threadID=2049760
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/12036670?messageID=12036670
    https://discussions.apple.com/message/10511017?messageID=10511017
    https://discussions.apple.com/thread/2525532?threadID=2525532

    Hope that helps, and let me know what happens.

    Cheers
    Julian

  6. Thank you for your 32-bit application of iPhone Tracker.
    I wouldn’t mind to have the information moor precise in the locations and a finer interval of the dates then just in weeks. Our is it possible to control them in the menu of the app?

  7. Hi Martin,

    There is a change I could make to the code to make the information more precise and I have thought about it. Seeing as somebody’s actually asked for it, I will have a closer look and post an update here tomorrow.

  8. I do not have an encrypted backup and still can not get any of the mac versions to work on either 32 or 64 bit. The Windows version works perfectly on the same backup. Any thoughts?

  9. Hi,

    Is there a way to download the app right to my cell phone. It is very important that I get the tracking data from my phone for the past month. Can you help me to understand how to do this?

    Thanks!

  10. Hi Sue,

    No, I don’t think it’s possible without jailbreaking your iPhone and finding an iPhone app that will read the location database. I don’t know of any app that does that, but I haven’t looked into it.

    Do you synchronise your iPhone with a computer (either Mac or Windows) on a regular basis? Just run one of the applications (like iPhone Tracker above) on a computer that you’ve used to sync your iPhone with recently.

    I hope that helps. Let me know if you have more questions.

    Julian

  11. Hi,
    I lost my iphone and badly needs it back. Is there any way to track it or find it? Unfortunately, did not download any apps that could track it. I was thinking if we could use satellite, I could locate my iphone because every iphone has an unique ID and I could use that to find the location of where my phone.

    However, everyone I spoke to told me that once I lost my iphone, its too bad. It is but… it contains lots of family photos and memories…. Can’t bear to lose it.

    Anyone who know how I can locate my phone back, please tell me.

    Thanks,
    FW

  12. Hi FW,

    Unfortunately your information is correct. If you don’t have some sort of tracking application then you won’t be able to track it down. The best you might be able to do is to check with your cellphone provider and see if they can disable the phone remotely.

    In the future, check out this application:

    http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/find-my-iphone/id376101648?mt=8

    All the best, and I hope you find your iPhone.

    Julian

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  14. Can you still use this software? I tried with the most recent iphone and mac operating system and it didn’t work.

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