Location iPhone: your phone is indiscreet - Paul Courbis



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Home > Various (and summer) > Computers > Around the Iphone > Location iPhone: your phone is indiscreet

Location iPhone: your phone is indiscreet

Wednesday 15 September 2010, by Paul Courbis

Did you know your iPhone keeps your last geolocations in cache? In other words, by getting an iPhone, you can know in what corner it’s user went .... Demo!


You must first retrieve the file consolidated.db located in the directory /private/var/root/Library/Caches/locationd . This requires a jailbroken iPhone and an SSH connection (to retrieve the file via sftp) or an utility like Iphone Folders.

Update: you can also get this file from an non-jailbroken iPhone using a backup made by iTunes and a tool like "iphonebackupextractor". Choose "expert mode" and extract the file "consolidated.db" located in Library/Caches/locationd. Thus, even an non-jailbroken iPhone may reveal where you went!

This file is a Sqlite3 database that contains the table CellLocation . This table contains the following fields:

  • MCC
  • MNC
  • LAC
  • CI
  • Timestamp Date and time of acquisition in seconds since 1 January 2001 (GMT);
  • Latitude Latitude of the point;
  • Longitude Longitude of the point;
  • HorizontalAccuracy Location accuracy - 1 if the location is invalid);
  • Altitude Altitude (not provided in the examples recovered);
  • VerticalAccuracy
  • Speed Speed (not provided in the examples collected)
  • Course
  • Confidence
  • MNC
  • LAC
  • CI

It’s relatively easy to draw the data on a map to get an idea of places visited by the owner of the iPhone (careful, it gives an indication of the location, but the accuracy may be misleading, however, the multiplication points in a given area can be quite revealing).

Here is a demonstration that shows the most recent valid points. Default display is a basic example, but you can upload your own data file ...

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