Today I saw an article published by the Guardian on a discovery that the Apple iPhone stores location data locally and has done since iOS4, the article can be found here. The article includes a link to some open source Mac software to view your movements, unfortunately “I’m a PC” so I wondered how I could extract the same data and plot it on a map, and it was actually fairly easy, although I didn’t go for the animations or time based stuff of where I was when.
So, if you’re a PC and want to see the data then here are the steps.
First of all you need to find the file that stores this information, to do this I used a utility called iPhoneBackupbrowser, this enables you to map the contents of your iPhone backup to the actual filename. Install this and load your latest iPhone Backup.
Now locate the consildated.db Name under the System Name:
The key value represents the filename, if you double click on the consolidated.db row then the containing folder will be opened. We need to open this file using an SQLite client, I used the FireFox plugin SQLite Manager
Once opened in SQLite export the CellLocation table to a local CSV file.
Now we need to plot the locations on a map, to do this I used Googles Fusion Tables. Import a a new table, selecting the csv file you have just created, the next step is to ensure that the Latitude and Longitude columns are of type ‘Location’, this can be achieved via the “editModify Columns” menu item:
You are now ready to plot your locations, simply select the Visualize menu and then Map:
You should then be able to see your locations stored on the iPhone:
Now have some fun, try and remember why or if you were in those places, I certainly don’t recall a trip to Dundee.
If you wish to see when you were in a location then the timestamp field holds the number of seconds since 01/01/2001 so dates and times can be derived if you wish, this can then be used to model your travels.
The information for this entry has been taken from the Guardian article and this iPhoneTracker blog entry http://petewarden.github.com/iPhoneTracker/
I hope this helps some of you, John C.