Google’s Locationgate scandal is why I’m switching to the iPhone


When Windows Phone died, like many, I switched to Android. I’ve had 3 Android handsets in total and have been relatively satisfied but things change of course, and this Locationgate scandal is the straw that broke the camels back for me, it’s the deal breaker. I really don’t trust or respect Google and I don’t see how anyone could after this. None of these corporations are our friend but Google is being particularly dishonourable and untrustworthy. Yes I’ll miss some of the things in Android but those are nothing compared to the larger and more important issues. Things like trust and respect are important, having some control over your privacy and data is important.

As an aside, any tips for a first time iPhone owner? I’m getting the iPhone 8

Comments (29)

29 responses to “Google’s Locationgate scandal is why I’m switching to the iPhone”

  1. Minke

    Ha! You are tracked by everyone. Apple, your bank, your credit card companies, places you shop, your browser, your apps, your software, the local police, the state police, Homeland Security, and probably the Russians. They aren't "untrustworthy." This is their business model. You give up privacy in exchange for free services. Apple does it. Microsoft does it. Google does it. They all just do it in different ways. The minute you walk into an Apple store to buy that iPhone you are photographed, your credit card is tracked, your profile is associated with whatever you are doing. That is the modern world! Move to an island in the Pacific, throw your phone in the ocean, and only use barter and maybe you can escape somewhat, but a quick Google search will likely find you. I used to work for a major trade magazine and periodically someone would try to evade questions about their company, but it would only be a matter of minutes before I knew where they lived, their home phone number, usually their cell number, and even where they were likely to be located. That is the world we live in.

    • Minke

      I should add that the good news is that we are all needles in giant haystacks of private data. So, unless you are a famous person, or known to be rich from Bitcoin mining, or are involved in something illegal most of your personal information will never be looked at by any real human being, and you will go about life enjoying the benefits of Google Maps, Google Drive, Gmail, etc. Your payment for those services will be seeing ads that AI believes you are interested in. Ignore the ads and you pay nothing for some really great services!

    • lvthunder

      In reply to Minke:

      It's not Apple's business model to track your location. There business model is to sell hardware and to get you to sign up for a few services like cloud storage and Apple Music.

      • Minke

        In reply to lvthunder:

        Do some Googling--iPhones track everywhere you've been by default and some of that data is available to various apps. Who knows what they do with it? It doesn't matter anyway, if you use a credit card, drive a car, etc. You are still being tracked wherever you go. Our local police in a small town routinely scan every license plate with special cars that just roam around the city, and they also record video at many locations all over the city. Go to a store or airport and you are tracked on camera. The point being, it doesn't really matter what Google or Apple does or does not track because that information is also being gathered by many other sources.

  2. wright_is

    The problem isn't Android per se, it is the fact that even if you turn off tracking on the phone, every Google service you use (search, maps etc.) on that device or PC or iPhone will still track you, unless you go into your privacy settings in your Google Account on their website.

    Luckily that is what I had already done in January, as I started working for a security company.

    But it was still scary, what information they had collected - there were dozens of sound clips the Assistant had recorded, most were just wind and footsteps, the rest were random snippets of conversation, only 2 were "OK Google" initiated requests.

    When the phone was sitting on my desk at work, before I disabled the Google services and Assistant, the screen would turn on ever few minutes, whenever anyone in the office said OK! Not OK Google, just "OK, I'll do that", "OK, that's fine" etc.

  3. Tony Barrett

    Look, if you're prepared to let Google know a lot about you (which they're very up front about), then you get a lot of services - probably the best around - for about zero cost. Google probably protect your data better than anyone else as well - it's their business model after all. The fact you have a problem with one small part of this is ok I guess, but seriously, do you think any of the others are any different? Apple certainly aren't, but they keep what they do with the info they collect very hush hush, and I wouldn't trust MS with one byte of my data.

    So, it's your money, but Apple really don't need anymore, so why don't you just calm down, take a deep breath, and have a think. Is it really that bad? Unless you drop off the Internet completely, or stop walking down streets, *someone* is always watching. Always!

  4. gbwhatsappapk

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  5. maethorechannen

    As an aside, any tips for a first time iPhone owner?

    If you really are switching for the reason you're giving here, you'll want to get into the Location Services settings, because Apple does pretty much the exact same thing that Google is doing.

  6. wunderbar

    Better not get cellular service for the new phone because the carrier also tracks your every movement as well whether you want them to or not.

  7. simmonm

    I am an iPhone user...iPhone 8. For me it seems the lesser of the two evils. I don't like Apple's overall walled garden feeling with their services and messages, but it's a trade off to the security issues I see with Android.

    This article from a few months ago seems realtive to the the discussion. It details how much data one guy found Apple (9 MB), Google (243MB) and Facebook (881MB) had on him.

    Since you ask... my tips:

    If you use RSS, I for one find Unread to be the best RSS client out there.

    Podcasts...I know a lot of people like Pocketcasts, but I like Overcast over it. It's smart speed feature stands it apart from everything else.

    Tweetbot for Twitter...because I want my timeline chronologically

    Fantastical for Calendar (works with Outlook), because of it's natural language feature

  8. yoshi

    I go back and forth on how much this means to me. Sure, it's deceptive of Google, but there was and is still a way to turn all of that off. Most people just didn't take the time to dig into their account settings to learn it all.

    Then there's also the level of convenience. I think the majority of users would rather have stuff that just works. I don't want to search for a CVS and have the result be 900 miles away. I want Google to find the one closest to me. I'd also expect the same of Bing. Up to date traffic in Maps is another big thing along with good navigation. I don't want to go back to the days of having an atlas in my car, or printing directions off of Mapquest before leaving.

    None of these things are possible without data collection. Apple themselves are finally realizing this as well and rebuilding their maps using location data from iPhones. Sure, that too can be turned off, but if you want a reliable system you'll leave it on.

    I guess it's pick your poison. Live a bit in the past, or enjoy the convenience that personal technology is meant for.

  9. jules_wombat

    Out of the Frying pan into …

    Utterly pointless move

  10. Paul Thurrott

    Make sure you download Google Maps. :)

    But seriously.

  11. irfaanwahid

    I recommend iPhone 10.. specially because of ease of using the phone (gestures) and bigger display than iPhone 8 but in same body.

  12. FalseAgent

    I turned off Web & App Activity on my google account a long time ago because I was creeped out by what it was logging. But I had no idea that it continued to pull location data from Google Maps. Ironically, I wasn't aware of this because I use HERE maps.

  13. Tony Barrett

    Just why do people do this? You don't trust or respect Google now - Microsoft are probably even less trustworthy based on their track record. What makes Apple any better exactly? Sure, there business model is primarily based on selling average spec hardware at extremely high prices, then slapping expensive aftercare on top of that, but they still collect reams of data about iPhone owners, have the same security and reliability issues with their services. Are they any more trustworthy - really - or is it just kept very well hidden, or do they just put a gold coat on everything so you don't see it?

    Trust and respect are a waste of time these days. You want a device, but people rarely want to pay for the services, but when they don't get the services, or features, or they don't work properly, they moan. If you want to stay anonymous and hidden, buy a basic feature phone. Did Google muck up here - possibly. Have Microsoft screwed you over? Yes. Have Facebook or Amazon or yes, even Apple, screwed customers over? Yes. It's the way of the modern world. You and your data are the value - the device is just disposable.

    • maethorechannen

      In reply to ghostrider:

      Just why do people do this?

      It gives them the illusion of control. Unfortunately it's only an illusion.

      If you don't want to be tracked, don't use a mobile phone. Even the dumb phones get location tracked, and have been ever since the security services worked out you can work out where a phone is just from cell tower data.

  14. AnOldAmigaUser

    You would have to use Apple Maps then, or it would defeat the purpose.

  15. CoreyP

    I'm honestly considering switching back to the Elite x3 because of this. It has it's own drawbacks, the Bluetooth on it is god-awful, it's massive, and Edge just isn't great on Windows 10 Mobile; but I never worried about privacy as much as I do with my Android device. Maybe when it truly dies I'll switch to iOS. Apple really seems to be the lesser of the two evils.

  16. Bats

    First time iPhone user? You think like a first time smartphone user. You are going to get tracked with the iPhone as well.

    Right now, in NOW....the only phone that's not going to track you is a Google phone.....thanks to this reveal.

    Plus, it's not really a scandal, because no one cares.

    • Bdsrev

      In reply to Bats:

      You think Apple is putting in 'dummy' switches like Google? (meaning, you turn off location tracking on your iPhone but it doesn't actually stop location tracking)

      • maethorechannen

        In reply to Bdsrev:

        Google isn't putting in dummy switches. The switches do exactly what they say they do. The problem is that if you're looking for a single "don't send any location data to Google at all, ever" button you're out of luck. Not helped by some poorly worded documentation.

        If you dig into exactly how much data is shared with Apple by default, I'd be really surprised if there wasn't some location bleed on that platform as well. You can turn Location Services off completely, but then you can do that on Android as well.

  17. F4IL

    That is a nice excuse but no one will believe that someone who is already sharing his data with google (and now apple) is switching due to location tracking and privacy concerns. If you don't want your personal data to be shared, you are free to flash your device with F-Droid and a custom ROM. But we already know you're not going to do that.

    • Bob Shutts

      In reply to F4IL: "you are free to flash your device with F-Droid and a custom ROM". Most users (yes including Android users) are not willing to fart around with all this.

      • F4IL

        In reply to F4IL: "you are free to flash your device with F-Droid and a custom ROM". Most users (yes including Android users) are not willing to fart around with all this.

        Yeah, i know right?! Buying a shiny new gadget is way more exciting. For privacy of course :)

  18. lvthunder

    You don't need to add gate to everything that's a scandal.

  19. dcdevito

    Apple rates their users and give them a trust score, so they're not the model citizen all iPhone users think they are...

    Don't forget your ISP knows just as much about you, hope you're using a proxy server at home to mask all your online activity. Oh and that credit card you use? Yeah that bank sells your purchase data to retailers, a practice going as far back as the 70s. Look I'm not saying Google is the best, but I trust my data more with them than creditors or banks.