Apple has a released a new update for its iOS-based products in reply to recent criticism of so-called ‘phone tracking’.
The issue, which was uncovered by two researchers, was that Apple was storing location information on an unencrypted, unprotected file that was transferred across devices when syncing using iTunes.
Last week Apple denied the accusations. It claimed the file contained the location of nearby 3G masts and wi-fi hotspots, not the specific GPS position of the phone and its user, and that any information was anonymous and legally obtained.
However, it did admit that the amount of information (up to year’s worth), the backing up of the file to iTunes, and the inability to turn the function off, were ‘bugs’ it would rectify in a soon to be released update.
That update, iOS 4.3.3, is now available to users through iTunes. It applies to all iOS-based products, including all versions of the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. The update reduces the size of cache to just seven days of data, prevents it being transferred to your PC, and allows the function to be turned off when Location Services are turned off in the settings menu.
Apple has promised a future update will make the location file encrypted, making it more secure.
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