Apple further clarifies iPhone 11's constant requesting of location data

Cal Jeffrey

TS Evangelist
Staff member

On Tuesday, Brian Krebs, security expect for KrebOnSecurity, revealed that the iPhone 11 continues collecting location data even when the location tracking toggle is switched off for all apps. Apple responded, explaining that this was by design and not a glitch in the software.

"We do not see any actual security implications," said an Apple engineer. "It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings."

On Thursday, Apple followed up to clarify the issue telling TechCrunch that the location tracking going on in the background is part of the iPhone 11's ultra-wideband technology and that it is there to comply with international regulatory requirements.

"Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations... The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data."

Guardian Firewall's CEO Will Strafach, who is an expert on iOS security, confirmed that he found no reason to believe the background location checks are being shared outside the device.

The technology is part of the iPhone 11's U1 chip. This hardware allows users' devices to communicate locally without having to rely on cell towers or satellites. For example, if you wanted to share a file with someone in the room using AirDrop, you would only have to point your device at theirs, then select it on the screen. We may even see it used to power the rumored Apple Tag, which reportedly works like Tile or Trackr fobs.

This chip is also what is doing behind-the-scenes location tracking. It can reportedly be disabled by turning off the master switch in settings rather than just individual apps, but that means users would not be able to use trusted apps like Maps accurately.

Apple said that it would be adding a dedicated toggle to turn off the U1's tracking in a future update, but this leaves the question: What about these "international regulatory requirements" that the spokesperson mentioned?

Image credit: Denys Prykhodov via Shutterstock

Permalink to story.

 

psycros

TS Evangelist
"What about these "international regulatory requirements" that the spokesperson mentioned?"

The requirements by repressive governments to track everyone, of course.
 

QuantumPhysics

TS Evangelist
I wish apple would address apps that FORCE the Facebook video chat to turn the camera off whenever I start browsing something else.

You ever have an insane girlfriend who forces you to watch her when you really wanna be reading TECHSPOT, but the moment you try to cut away, she realizes you aren't watching her cause the camera turns off?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yynxs

Mr Majestyk

TS Maniac
"that it is there to comply with international regulatory requirements."

Would this be to ensure China can track you at all times!
 
  • Like
Reactions: Yynxs