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Apple Answers Questions Regarding iPhone Location Data.

April 27, 2011

Apple answers questions regarding iPhone Location Data through its Press Release page. To summarize Apple’s answers:

  • Apple is not tracking anyone.
  • The iPhone is not logging user’s location.
  • It is the database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around user’s current location. Some are located far away from user’s actual locations.
  • This database is used to triangulate the iPhone location when Locations Services is running.
  • The current database is not encrypted, but protected in a different way. Next software update will encrypt the file.
  • Geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell-tower data are sent to Apple in an anonymous and encrypted form.
    “Apple cannot identify the source of this data.”
  • The Location Data cache is stored longer than expected due to software bug.

Apple also mentions:

Software Update
Sometime in the next few weeks Apple will release a free iOS software update that:

  • 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.

“Next Major iOS Software Release” could mean iOS 5.

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