We reported last week that Apple’s iPhone tracking feature could track its users locations, and the company has responded to the allegations. Apple says that it is not tracking the location of its users’ iPhones and “has never done so and has no plans to ever do so,” the company says on its website. In a Q&A format, Apple addresses why users are so concerned about the tracking feature:
“Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite. Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.”
Instead of logging the location of users, Apple admits that the iPhone maintains a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers near where the user is, some of which can be more than 100 miles away. Apple uses the information to accurately determine the phones’ location when the person uses navigation or location-based services.
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Apple plans to release a software update that will reduce the amount of location data stored on the phone and will cease the backup of that information. The update will also address an issue where information is updated even when a user turns its "Location Services" off.
In layman’s terms, Apple isn’t tracking your location or your phone’s location to benefit those working in the Cupertino headquarters, but rather it was tracking the surrounding hotspots and cell towers near your iPhone’s location. It does admit, however, that it was storing too much information and shouldn’t have created a backup for this data.