How Apple Plans to Stop iPhone Location Tracking

Apple has finally addressed complaints that its mobile devices including the iPhone and iPad are tracking users by recording cellular tower triangulation data. The company issued a Q&A document to explain exactly what's happening on the devices they manufacture and how they plan to remedy the issues that even some members of Congress have expressed concerns over.

iPhone Tracker open source application

Apple is already facing lawsuits over the tracking issue, which was revealed by security researchers. Although individual devices have locally stored logs of location data going back as far as the installation of iOS 4.0, Apple insists that the company can't track individuals as any data it collects is anonymous and encrypted. According to the Q&A document, the purpose of these transmissions is to build better location based services and individual iPhones are never tracked at all.

3 Ways to Prevent iPhone Location Tracking

Questions surrounding iPhone tracking have exploded recently thanks to the revelation that cellular-capable iOS 4 devices have been recording their location accurately and consistently since the firmware installation date. All of this location information is logged in a single file that can be parsed and mapped by the new iPhone Tracker application. Although some users don't care about this kind of thing, others are concerned and will want to stop their mobile device from logging location data.

iPhone Tracker Cydia app stop tracking

As it turns out, turning off Location Services under Settings will not help, as this only controls the GPS chip inside the iPhone. Security researchers Pete Warden and Alasdair Allan have discovered the location data comes from cellular network tower triangulation, which doesn't require communication with satellite GPS.

Storm Over iPhone Tracker Prompts Questions from Congress

Reports that iPhones are tracking and storing your every move are causing some Congressional leaders concerned about privacy to question Apple's motives. Reactions to yesterday's revelations that a single unencrypted file on iPhones has been recording location data since the installation of iOS 4 has been mixed.

iPhone Tracker open source application

Some have reacted with amusement, looking at maps of their whereabouts using the open source iPhone Tracker software posted on the web by researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden. Others are wary of Apple's purpose and concerned that this location data is routinely backed up to computers using iTunes.

Your iPhone Apps are Watching You

You've probably never asked the question, "What is an Apple UDID?" This acronym stands for Unique Device IDentifier, and every iOS device has one. The UDID itself is a 40-character string including numbers and letters that is unique to your iPhone hardware. Apple sets standards for how the UDID should be used by application developers to protect user privacy.

apple iphone app privacy security UDID

A new study by Bucknell University security researcher Eric Smith has found that third-party app developers may not be following the rules. Some apps send private data such as name and location data from your iPhone in plain text along with the UDID. Some secure the transmissions with SSL, however this also means that the data being sent to external servers is unknown.


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