How Does My iPhone Know Where My Car Is?

Published on August 16, 2017

For anyone who’s ever had to find their car after leaving it in the middle of a packed parking garage or on a side street blocks away from their destination, there’s a recurring line of dialogue that often comes up: “Why isn’t there some sort of tool to help me with this?!”

Well, it turns out that the folks at Apple were listening (doesn’t it seem like they’re always listening?). And they responded to this all-too common complaint by building a feature called “Parked Car” into Apple Maps for iOS 10 (and up), allowing you to automatically track the location of your vehicle and even pull up handy walking directions to guide you from your current location to your car.

Of course, like location tracking, “Frequent Locations,” and other cutting edge Apple features before it, Parked Car is equally notable for being both extremely helpful and, occasionally, unbelievably creepy.

Even for savvy iPhone loyalists, it’s easy to see the argument against this one. After all, if you can keep track of your car from afar, what’s to stop some outside party from getting access to that information, too?  And then there’s the practical complaints about Parked Car; as Zac Arthur once wrote over at 9 to 5 Mac, the feature’s frequent notifications “can become annoying and spammy” very easily.

So, do you want to disable or enable Parked Car? Do you want to stop your Parked Car notifications? Here’s everything you need to know about Parked Car before you take the wheel again:

How to Disable Parked Car on your iOS Device


Disable Location Services

Parked Car is made possible with Location Services, Apple’s location tracking feature which approximates your position by using information from your cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System (GPS) networks, as well as Bluetooth. Parked Car will not function if you turn off Location Services, which can be done on iOS 8 and up by going to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and adjusting your settings.

Disable Frequent Locations

You may also wish to disable Frequent Locations, which is also required for Parked Car to work properly and is available under Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Frequent Locations > Frequent Locations. This is a list of your most common destinations and routes sourced from your phone’s Location Services data, and may include your home, office, and friends’ houses.

Do note that turning off Location Services entirely will affect the performance of many of your Apple and third party apps, including Maps, and many don’t wish to eliminate location tracking entirely.

Disable Parked Car Notifications

If you wish to leave on your Location Services but disable Parked Car, you may do so quite easily!

You can enable or disable Parked Car alerts by going to Settings > Maps > Your Car. Under “Your Car” you should see a slide bar reading “Show Parked Location.” Toggle this slider to off to disable the feature without sacrificing your ability to use Apple Maps or other location-dependent apps.

Of course, you may find that you’ll miss Parked Car once it’s gone; certainly, it may just be the one app saving you from having to turn on your car alarm or shout “dude, where’s my car?!” in public. (Again.)

Have any other questions about your iPhone’s functionality? Curious about what it takes to really thrive as a brand in our mobile media landscape? We’d love to keep the conversation about smartphones, apps, and digital marketing going! Feel free to drop us a line here, or to reach out via Facebook or Twitter, where we keep the Geek speak going 24/7.

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