How to view iPhone location data with Google Earth

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Viewing iPhone location data using Google Earth

If you're curious to see exactly what tracking information your iPhone contains, then you can follow our simple guide below to extract the location data from your iPhone and plot it on a map using Google Earth.

Accessing your iPhone location data

Once Google Earth has been installed, download and run iPhone Backup Extractor. Choose your backup and wait for a short period whilst the software analyses the backup file.

At that point you'll then be able to see if there is any location data available to extract from that backup file. If so, click the "Extract" link next to the "Location Data" label and choose a folder to save the resulting location information into. We recommend using the desktop as it makes it easier to find the resulting KML file.

Extracting location data using iPhone Backup Extractor
Extracting location data using iPhone Backup Extractor

Viewing your iPhone location data on Google Earth

Once you have extracted the location data, go to your desktop (or wherever you saved the data) and then double-click the Locations.KML file. This will open Google Earth and import your iPhone location information.

The resulting KML file on the desktop
The resulting KML file on the desktop

Once within Google Earth you will see the iPhone location information as a series of yellow pins. Move around the map, zooming in as appropriate to find the location you are interested in. Click a pin to see the date and time the iPhone stored that location. Bear in mind that the iPhone only updates the location data once or twice a day, so any dates and times are only approximate.

Using Google Earth
Using Google Earth

That's all there is to it. We hope you've found this tutorial to be useful and that you aren't too alarmed by what you find when you start analysing your location data... 🌍

About the author

Andrew Dancy co-founded Reincubate in 2008 and pioneered techniques with recovery of location data from iOS. He sits on the company's board, with a law-tech background and a particular interest in privacy and security.

Reincubate's CEO at Buckingham Palace

Pictured above are members of Reincubate’s team meeting HM Queen Elizabeth Ⅱ at Buckingham Palace, after being awarded the UK’s highest business award for our work with Apple technology. Read our position on privacy, safety and security.

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Jonathan Zdziarski picture

This is iPhone Backup Extractor, think of it as a "personal forensics" utility. It's pretty awesome.

Jonathan Zdziarski

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