After about a week of silence, Apple has finally spoken up about the whole debacle surrounding the iOS tracking issue. In a press release today, the company has come clean about what the iOS does and how it obtains your location data.
Firstly, they made it clear that nobody is being tracked – the location data discovered on a database file in iOS doesn’t refer to where a user has been, rather it points out cell towers and WiFi hotspots within the vicinity where the user has been. The cell towers and hotspots can even be over a hundred miles away from the iOS device. The reason that iOS stores the location of the cell towers and WiFi hotspots is to make it easier to triangulate the iOS device’s location in times where GPS is unavailable (i.e. indoors).
Apple has also confirmed that location data is sent to Apple anonymously and in an encrypted form – they won’t be able to identify the source of the data, and neither will they be able to track you. As for your iOS device storing location data even when location data services are turned off – it is a bug. Apple has announced that they will be releasing an iOS update in the coming weeks.
- reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone,
- ceases backing up this cache, and
- deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
In the next major iOS software release the cache will also be encrypted on the iPhone.
There you have it, an answer to your iOS location data worries. Are you guys satisfied by the answers that Apple has given, and news about the upcoming update?