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Ratted Out! How Do I Convince My Wife That I Really Wasn't in Vegas Last Summer When My iPhone Says I Was?

There's been a lot of news this past week about iOS devices keeping a log of our locations, which is available for easy viewing with the right software, such as iPhoneTracker. While I do understand the privacy concerns, at the same time, I thought it was pretty fascinating to see a visual map of where I've been in the last few months:

My travels over the last nine or so months. Click on the image for a larger view.

Some have called this "feature" a bug, but really, I was surprised at the furor over this. I mean, I just assumed that with a GPS in my phone, I was being tracked everywhere. Plus, it seems like every other episode of any Law & Order series feature a person's cell phone as part of evidence: "Well, according to the data on Mr. Smith's cell phone, he was across the river in New Jersey on the night of the murder."

However, one has to ask if any of the data on a map such as the one above can be incorrect? I look at the locations on the map, and I can't quite remember when I went to some places—such as Cincinnati—in the past nine months, although I'm sure I probably did.

The biggest surprise, though, came when the map displayed another location. Look at this expanded view map below:

Notice the location points in the southeast corner of Nevada. Click on the image for a larger view.
Close-up of my supposed visit to Las Vegas. Click on the Image for a closer view.

Here's kinda how our conversation went yesterday:

Me: "Hey, my iPhone's reporting I was recently in Las Vegas."

Kathy: "What? When were you in Las Vegas? I wasn't with you in Las Vegas!"

Me: "I don't know! I promise I wasn't there! Really!"

Kathy: "That's not what your iPhone says. Why would it lie? What is it you need to tell me?"

So there I was—somewhere between "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" and my own personalized version of the movie The Hangover (which I actually haven't seen, but I think I understand the gist of the plot)—trying to defend myself against the data reported from this cold, unfeeling machine that had seemingly now turned on me.

Then I happened to notice the date which my iPhone was reporting that I was in Las Vegas: June 23, 2010. That was a relief because I had the perfect alibi! That was the very date of our 20th wedding anniversary, and we were both together at Dinosaur World in Cave City, Kentucky (don't ask).

On that day, I didn't even own my current iPhone 4. I still had the older, MUCH slower, iPhone 3G. Kathy had a newer iPhone 3GS, but for reasons I cannot remember now, she asked to borrow my phone. When she gave it back, she proclaimed, "Ugh. Your phone is so slow! You really need a new one" to which I said, "Well, it just so happens the iPhone 4 is being released this week..."

So, on June 23, 2010, I didn't even have this phone, which is claiming it (not me!) was in Las Vegas. I can only guess that perhaps the phone was turned on somewhere in Vegas before being shipped to the Louisville Apple Store where I bought it. I really have no idea. But at least I'm in the clear with Kathy—at least on this particular matter.


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Reader Comments (4)

Not that it solves the mystery, but apparently, the data is carried over from old phones, if you've restored an old iPhone onto a new iPhone etc.

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

None of my data was carried over. Rather, as I explain in the post, it was reporting information from before I had the phone in hand. And I was able to prove it because my wife was with me in Kentucky on the day that the phone was claiming I was in Vegas.

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterR. Mansfield

Wow, this is interesting. Also, you travel a lot! By my count at least ten states in the past nine months...

April 23, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNathan Stitt

My old iPhone 3GS gave me weird GPS locations at times.

April 24, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEdward

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