Apple speaks! One week after two researchers revealed that your iPhone is storing your movements, the company has finally broken its silence. Here’s the headline: “Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”
Apple says it’s not logging your location. “Rather it’s maintaining a database of Wifi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone, to help your iPhone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested.”
However, Apple says the iPhone shouldn’t keep updating your location data when you have turned off your “location services” option on your phone. “This is a bug,” the company says, “which we plan to fix shortly.” Any location data sent to Apple is anonymous and encrypted, and part of what it calls a “crowd-sourced database” generated by tens of millions of users. Still, expect the use of the word “bug” to go viral.
Does Apple share data collected from iPhones with third parties? It’s complicated.
Apple notes: “Our iAds advertising system can use location as a factor in targeting ads. Location is not shared with any third party or ad unless the user explicitly approves giving the current location to the current ad. For example, to request the ad locate the Target store nearest them.” (They are our italics, not Apple’s.)