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Concering the recent privacy hype, can one shut off Faces and locations in iPhoto?

1395 Views 24 Replies Latest reply: Apr 1, 2013 1:22 AM by Terence Devlin RSS Branched to a new discussion.
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Ptit Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Currently Being Moderated
May 6, 2011 3:55 PM

Hello again


Is it possible to shut of faces and locations completly off in iPhoto, (not suggesting apple is collecting this data )  lol

iPad2, iMac 24, iOS 4
  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,520 points)

    As far as Locations is concerned just don't assign any to any photos.  But if your photos have GPS data then that will be registered in iPhoto.


    As far as faces, you can "somewhat" turn off faces as follows:


    1 - open the library like this in the Finder.



    2 - in the Database folder move this file to the Trash: Faces.db.

    3 - close the package/folder and launch iPhoto.  Close again it after a brief moment.

    4 -  open the package, find the new version of the file and lock it via the Info window for the file.


    5 - while viewing the contents of the package type Command+F to start a search.

    6 - set the criteria of the search to:  Kind is Image and Name Contains "face".

    7 - select all of the files in the search results window and drag to the Trash.

    8 -close the package and launch iPhoto. 


    You will get the faces spinning wheel as it tries to index the library the first time it's opened but it won't be able to write to the database file if you should try to add a face and won't create any new jpeg faces files. Of course make a backup of your library before trying this and no guarantee implied.


    Although I haven't tried it you might try doing the following for Locations:


    open the Places folder inside the library package and empty it.

    lock the folder as you did the faces.db file.


    This may deactivate the location feature of iPhoto.  But be sure to make a backup of the library before trying. I've not tried it. 



  • Old Toad Level 10 Level 10 (113,520 points)

    It's a hack, yes, and not really a sophisticated one at that.  There's no reason to turn them off because no one can access the information unless you specifically give them access to your Mac and account.  As far as I'm concerned it's a non issue.

  • MadisonP Level 5 Level 5 (4,485 points)

    A follow-up to Old Toad's point:


    Faces only works if you choose to label people's faces within iPhoto.  Don't want someone labeled?  Ok, don't label them.


    Places (location information) only works if you give iPhoto pictures that have GPS data attached by the camera you took the picture with or by adding location information to the picture by hand in iPhoto or a program that edits the metadata of the image.  In the case of images with GPS data attached, that location information is part of the image.  Anyone that has that image can see the location data embeded in the image.  Nothing to do with iPhoto.


    In both cases it is you the iPhoto user that is choosing to either add labels or use images that have location information embeded.  iPhoto is simply reading the information you give it.


    If you are concerned with the security of the information on your computer there are a variety of ways to secure your data:

  • LarryHN Level 9 Level 9 (55,090 points)
    Places (location information) only works if you give iPhoto pictures that have GPS data attached by the camera you took the picture with or by adding location information to the picture by hand in iPhoto or a program that edits the metadata of the image.  In the case of images with GPS data attached, that location information is part of the image.  Anyone that has that image can see the location data embeded in the image.  Nothing to do with iPhoto.

    Any GPS enabled camera including most current smart phones include GPS with the photo - iPhoto has nothing to do with it - it only shows the data that your camera palaces inside of the photo



  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,900 points)

    Apple doesn't store locations in Photos. Your Camera/ Phone does. If your camera doesn't, and you don't assign a place, then there is no location on the photo. So there is no security risk.


    Similarly, if you don't assign faces then there is no data for anyone to steal. So there is no security risk.


    So, simply, don't use a GPS enabled camera/phone, don't use the Faces or Places features, no security risk. If there is no data to steal then it cannot be stolen, right?


    There is really nothing to be concerned about here.






  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,900 points)

    You're confusing the location db cache issue with GPS positioning. There are entirely separate things. The location db was fixed in the update this week and was accurate to within, oh, 100 miles or so. GPS is a feature offered on some phones and some cameras. If you're worried about the privacy implications of these features then it's really simple. Don't use them.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,900 points)

    Ptit wrote:


    Your confusing free social networking sites with a device and application people PAID for?,  sounds wierd now that i think of it,


    No, what's weird is how you manage to make that statement when I made no mention of social networking sites free or otherwise. So, frankly, I haven't a clue what you're talking about here.




    I just looked more into this privacy law suite over at macrumors and found it astonishing and paralel to the way iPhoto does not allow you to shut off Faces, Locations,



    Well that's that then, isn't. Macrumours is a pinnacle of legal opinion, after all. Now, I'm not a lawyer, so I won't even guess at the legalities of this matter, but my point still stands. If there's no data there then it cannot be stolen. Not using Faces and Places is precisely the same as turning them off.


    Now there is so much inaccurate in this paragraph that it will take a few goes to correct it all:



    I understand what you mean by portable devices possibly been the issue with keeping track of locations but Spotlight does more, it will scan everything on your hard drive, even the Finder's sidebar shows you the same photos inside your iphoto Application even if you deleted it,, the recent folder in the side bar does, i just looked., Ofcourse you can also advise people how to remove the side bar,



    But what proof do you have that Apple also does not keep track of these photos, locations


    Again, I'm not sure why you're talking about portable devices. I referred cameras and phones that record GPS information to the photo. That's all.


    Spotlight does not scan "everything on your hard drive". For a start, it does not scan System Folders unless you specifically set it to and a lot of folks complain about that. Further, it doesn't even index the entire document in many cases, but limits itself to the first couple of thousand indexable terms. (Another source of complaint.)


    Next: the Finder's sidebar shows you nothing but a couple of icons. Again, if you set it to, it will show you some saved searches.


    Those saved searches can contain references to items that have been deleted because there is a lag between the deletion and the updating of the index. That should not be more than a few moments. If the lag is longer all you need to do is force a re-index, a process that takes a couple of moments.


    And what makes you think that Apple are accessing your Spotlight indexes anyway? Have you a shred of proof?


    I have no proof that Apple isn't stealing all the information on your hard drive. How on earth could I do that? How can you prove a negative? Let's not let paranoia get in the way of logic now.


    And why would Apple bother? What possible benefit can they gain from knowing 'GrandMa' was photographed at 'the Southwest corner of Main St., Some Town, Somewhere'?


    Because you know, most people don't name the people in their Libraries with their entire name, address etc., mostly they just call them 'Grandma' 'Mike' 'Karen'. So, what can they tell from accessing the Library? 'Karen' is cute, Mike is ugly and that's about it.


    Another: why would Apple do this? What would be the reputational damage to the Apple brand if this was discovered?


    Even more importantly, if you suspect that Apple is doing this, then it's incumbent on you to offer some proof. "They might be doing this" is not proof that they are. I can say that you might be an idiot, but it's not proof that you are


    No, I do not work for Apple. I am not a shareholder, I have never received any payment of any kind from Apple. I benefit in no way from Apple's business practise or model. I'm not worried because I know the following:


    You, Apple, the Government, Hackers, ne'er do wells nor anybody else cannot get the pin number to my Credit Card from this machine. You can take the machine and dig, scratch, poke at it any way you want. But you will not find that number on it for the simple reason that it just isn't on the machine.


    Similarly, if you do not put the information into the machine, whether it be Face information or Place information, then it cannot be got out of it.


    It really is that simple. Common sense.


    EDIT: and of course, you don't have to use iPhoto, you know. It's not at all compulsory and there are many alternative.

  • Terence Devlin Level 10 Level 10 (121,900 points)

    For the benefit of other folks who might read these thread:


    If you don't use these features then there is no security concern at all.


    Even if you do there is no evidence that Apple or anyone else is tracking that information or has access to it unless you allow them to. None. Zip. Nada.


    I have no further comment to make to Ptit, the original poster on the thread. S/he can offer no evidence to support his/her concerns, won't deal with any of the points raised to reassure him/her and, frankly,  any one who can compare not being able to turn off Faces with "SS style pervets" is obviously quite beyond the reach of rational conversation.


    Oh, but as you're so concerned about security best to avoid the Internet entirely. Have you any idea how much information Google has on you?






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