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Apple Still Records Location Even After Location Service Is Disabled

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A report reveals that apple is able to still record your location data through a loophole in its location services on IOS 13. Meaning that the latest generation of iPhones may not give users as much control over their privacy as Apple would have them believe.


iPhone 11 Pro


Research from Brian Krebs of KrebsOnSecurity reveals that despite onscreen language in its Location Services privacy policy that tells users they can “disable Location Services at any time,”.  Apple, however, will continue to record a user’s location when the settings and applications are off.


Krebs discovered the issue on a new iPhone 11 Pro running the latest version of iOS 13. Users have reported issues with always-on location tracking in Apple discussion forums.


In a video, Krebs disabled Maps, Siri, and individual System Services settings manually from the Location Services menu in Settings. He also enabled the setting to show the arrow-shaped Status Bar Icon and left the Location data tab enabled.


Krebs then put the phone in Airplane Mode in the Control Center. Afterward, the arrow icon appeared in the Status Bar despite there being no apps open apart from Settings.

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Location Debacle Related to iPhone 11’s Hardware

Krebs says this wasn’t the issue on an iPhone 8. This is despite the phone running the most recent version of iOS 13. He further suggested that the issue might be related to the iPhone 11’s hardware and support for WiFi 6.


Apple’s Privacy Policy, states that the company:


“may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”


This was the August update ahead of the iPhone 11’s launch.  As Krebs notes, the on-device privacy policy in Location Services appears to insinuate that this data collection can be switched off entirely.


“You can disable Location Services at any time,” the privacy policy states. “You can also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off each location-based system service.”


When Krebs contacted the company about the issue, one Apple engineer said that the Location Services icon “appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.” This suggests that users cannot, disable all location-based system services as Apple suggests.


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