Stung by allegations that iPhones and iPads are logging users' locations and transmitting said info back to Cupertino, Apple has quietly gone on the defensive and released a Q&A/public relations statement regarding iDevices and location data. Here's the Reader's Digest version:
- "Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so."
- iPhones are not logging the user's location, but rather "maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location…to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested."
- The location info feeds "a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple."
- The actual CSD is too large to be stored on any one iPhone, so a localized subset/cache is downloaded onto your handset. This cache is what's backed up onto your PC via an iTunes sync-up.
- Any geo-tagged Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that IS sent to Apple is done so in an anonymous and encrypted form.
- The fact that iPhones have been found to store up to a year's worth of location info is a software bug. Apple feels a week's worth of location info is more than enough. To that end:
- There's a free iOS upgrade due that will reduce the size of the cache file, cease the backing-up of said cache, and delete the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.