Published: Sat, December 07, 2019
Tech | By

Disabling Your iPhone 11’s Location Services Doesn’t Stop Apple from Tracking You

Disabling Your iPhone 11’s Location Services Doesn’t Stop Apple from Tracking You

Earlier this week, cybersecurity expert Brian Krebs announced that the latest generation of iPhone is collecting location data, even when the user has barred the device from doing this. However, the way iOS's location and privacy settings are set up, it's easy to assume a user has complete control over all location data access.

Having initially dismissed this as "expected behavior", Apple has now gone into more detail about what's actually happening.

For the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max, users who want to restrict Location Services have fewer options. As Krebs points out, though, "there are some system services on this model (and possibly other iPhone 11 models) which request location data and can not be disabled by users without completely turning off location services".

"You can also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off each location-based system service", the policy continues.

However, Apple has comeback with a new answer - its latest iPhones come standard with ultra-wideband technology that 'is subject to worldwide regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations, ' according to TechCrunch who received the statement.

As security researcher recently found that Apple's iPhone 11 periodically seeks the user's location even when all applications and system services are set to never request.

An Apple engineer told the researcher the company does "not see any actual security implications" related to the flagship handsets intermittently collecting location information.

In plain English, some of the iPhone features, like sharing files over AirDrop, require devices to be spatial-aware. It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled.

Krebs claims it is not possible to turn off location-based system services for certain services when using the iPhone 11 Pro. However, the answer is so mundane it doesn't make sense that Apple didn't provide it immediately, other than it possibly contradicts the company's advertised promise of the iPhone delivering simple privacy.

Ultra Wideband can be seen as a refined version of Bluetooth where it can precisely locate other Ultra Wideband equipped devices.

Apple will likely offer an on-off switch for the feature in an upcoming iOS update.

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