How to turn off iOS 9's automated traffic helper

The newly updated OS seems to think you want traffic updates when you go certain places. If you don't, here's the fix.

Rick Broida Senior Editor
Rick Broida is the author of numerous books and thousands of reviews, features and blog posts. He writes CNET's popular Cheapskate blog and co-hosts Protocol 1: A Travelers Podcast (about the TV show Travelers). He lives in Michigan, where he previously owned two escape rooms (chronicled in the ebook "I Was a Middle-Aged Zombie").
Rick Broida
2 min read

Every since I updated to iOS 9, my iPhone has been spying on me.

OK, maybe not "spying," but it seems awfully interested in where I'm going. Or where it thinks I'm going. Because now, whenever I'm out and about, the Maps app coughs up notifications about traffic.

In other words, after I'm done at, say, the post office and I get into my car -- wait, how does it know I'm getting into my car?! -- it tells me what the traffic is like between there and home:

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

These alerts draw on iOS 9's Frequent Locations feature, which the Maps app uses to provide what Apple calls predictive traffic routing. Your iPhone keeps track of places you've visited recently and often, then guesses where you're headed next and provides a corresponding traffic update.

Whether or not you find this a cool feature depends on how much driving you do -- and how often iOS 9 guesses wrong about where you're headed. (That gets annoying pretty quick.) If you decide you don't want your iPhone stalking you, here's how to disable the virtually impossible-to-find setting that controls it:

Step 1: Tap the Settings icon.

Step 2: Tap Privacy > Location Services.

Step 3: Scroll all the way to the bottom and tap System Services.

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

Step 4: Tap Frequent Locations, then toggle the setting to off.

You could also disable Location-Based Alerts, but it's not necessary, and it would prevent certain other useful features, like your iPhone reminding you to do something when you get to a particular place.

What do you think of predictive traffic routing? Incredibly handy, incredibly annoying, or somewhere in between?