Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 with location tracking fixes

By on May 4, 2011, 3:30 PM

Responding to the furious backlash of its customers, Apple has promptly addressed the controversial tracking function of its mobile devices with a software update: iOS version 4.3.3 for the GSM iPhone 4, 3GS, iPads and the fourth-generation iPod touch, as well as iOS 4.2.8 for the CDMA iPhone 4. The update was released exactly one week after the company said it would take a "few weeks." Although Apple hasn't completely eliminated the feature, its functionality has been trimmed down.

The release notes say that iOS 4.3.3 shrinks the size of the location database cache -- we aren't sure by how much, but Apple previously said it doesn't believe the iPhone needs to store more than seven days of data. By comparison, some users reported that their device had logged a year's worth of location data. Additionally, that information will no longer be backed up via iTunes when you connect your device to a computer and the cache will be deleted when you disable Location Services.

Apple officially wrote some of the issues off as bugs, saying that the cache shouldn't have been as large as it was and your iPhone shouldn't have been able to update that data with Location Services disabled. Location information your device relays back to the company is anonymous and encrypted, and it's being used to build a database to provide iPhone users with improved traffic services. A future update will encrypt the cache on your device to ensure a third party can't use it for malicious purposes.

The topic exploded late last month when two researchers discovered that Apple's mobile devices stored location information to the "consolidated.db" file. That spawned lawsuits, worldwide government investigations and a scheduled congressional hearing on mobile privacy involving both Apple and Google. The search giant's Android OS also records such information. However, the database is limited to a smaller list of entries than iOS (prior to 4.3.3 anyway), and it's regularly wiped by the system.




User Comments: 12

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Guest said:

Good on you for jumping on it and doing the right thing. Too bad it had to get to that point but at least you responded quickly and professionally (unlike others....)

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I still don't understand why they need to track the location of an iPad that never leaves anyone's home, and is never connected to anything besides the person's own WiFi server.

And clearing the cache is not the same thing as disabling it.

matrix86 matrix86 said:

But...but...Steve Jobs said the iOS doesn't keep that information. He lied! HOW DARE HE! WHY WOULD HE EVER DO THAT?! I can't believe Jobs lied to me. But it's ok. I'll still buy from him.

/sarcasm

:P

Guest said:

" Furious backlash of its customers", ah the rhetoric of hit ***** journalist and their pin headed readers, what ever would we do without them.

Raswan Raswan said:

Guest said:

Good on you for jumping on it and doing the right thing. Too bad it had to get to that point but at least you responded quickly and professionally (unlike others....)

Except for the part where they claimed some of it was the result of "bugs." Real professional. And insulting. And insultingly professional. And professionally insulting.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Guest said:

" Furious backlash of its customers", ah the rhetoric of hit ***** journalist and their pin headed readers, what ever would we do without them.

I dunno, troll random web sites with stupid comments?

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

+1 & he/she sounded like an iSheep.

I don't see much wrong with the wording here, because almost everywhere people were pretty disgusted about this. Perhaps this would stop them (?) and others from doing this in future.

foreverzero89 said:

let me translate that for you guys. by "fixed" he meant that its now buried deeper so that its harder for the normal person to find. ill bet the farm it still tracks you.

mario mario, Ex-TS Developer, said:

Is everyone for real? This problem/bug was most certainly caused by an oversight, no information was ever sent to Apple or any other company it was only stored on your local computer and only people with physical access to your PC could read it (if they knew how to). I'm sure the iPad was also recording locations because of the 3G network coverage.

Know let me get this straight, someone found a bug on iOS, Apple fixed ir within 2 weeks and people still have the nerves to complain about it. Yes it should have never been this way but the problem existed and they fixed it, Apple doesn't know more or less information about their customers because of this. The only thing they know is that if they make great products people will buy them, and if they are successful there still be people hating for their hard earned success.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

foreverzero89 said:

let me translate that for you guys. by "fixed" he meant that its now buried deeper so that its harder for the normal person to find. ill bet the farm it still tracks you.

Exactly. The only oversight was that they didn't hide it well enough in the first place.

aj_the_kidd said:

marioestrada said:

Is everyone for real? This problem/bug was most certainly caused by an oversight, no information was ever sent to Apple or any other company it was only stored on your local computer and only people with physical access to your PC could read it (if they knew how to). I'm sure the iPad was also recording locations because of the 3G network coverage.

Know let me get this straight, someone found a bug on iOS, Apple fixed ir within 2 weeks and people still have the nerves to complain about it. Yes it should have never been this way but the problem existed and they fixed it, Apple doesn't know more or less information about their customers because of this. The only thing they know is that if they make great products people will buy them, and if they are successful there still be people hating for their hard earned success.

When company like apple, who put themselves on such a high pedestal, makes even the smallest mistake (or oversight) you best expect people to pounce on it. I'm surprised, that you're surprised, about peoples reactions, its kind of a given these days.

Archean Archean, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This problem/bug was most certainly caused by an oversight.

Beliving in any corporation's statement without an 'indendepent evaluation/investigation' is like believing in horse's s##** is good for people. They have only one objective, that is to mint money no matter which means they have to use to achieve it. 'Ethics' in business are just like 'sugar coating' a tablet to make it easier for its subjects to shove it down their throats.

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