Apple: we're not tracking your location, it's just a database

Apple has come under heavy scrutiny lately over their iPhone and iPad tracing peoples locations. The iPhone and iPad were both saving your location to a database within the phone; saving information like GPS location and hotspots.

Apple confirmed that the company is not tracking your location, has never done so, or ever plans to. The database is simply to make finding your location faster and more accurate (Apple Announcement),

Why is my iPhone logging my location?
The iPhone is not logging your location. Rather, it's maintaining a database of Wi-Fi 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. Calculating a phone's location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements). These calculations are performed live on the iPhone using a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by tens of millions of iPhones sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple.

According to Macrumors.com, Apple was only receiving anonymous data that was encrypted and doesn't link back to your identity.

Apple is already working on an update for iPhones which is expected to release in the coming weeks that will address the location issues. The iOS update will reduce the amount of WiFi hotspots and cell towers recorded to the phone and will delete the location cache completely when location services are disabled.

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Man it looks like 95% of the people posting here have no clue how to read. It isn't track the phone, it is tracking cell towers and WiFi hotspots. It is very clear if you open your own database that it has data in the database for hotspots you have never even come within 600miles of. The locations in the database aren't all generated by your own phone. That is clear too. My database has 2.6MB worth of cell towers and 14MB worth of hotspots. My entire city is full of yellow pushpins in Google Earth. WiFi doesn't reach far at all and there is data in my database for placing in town that I would never drive through for risk of getting shot. According to Apple the phone puts in a request for all the hotspots/towers in your area and then caches them on the phone. Sure they probably don't need to keep hotspots in the database for a location on the other end of the country that you haven't visited in the past 6months though. That is what they plan to fix though.

ermax said,
Man it looks like 95% of the people posting here have no clue how to read. It isn't track the phone, it is tracking cell towers and WiFi hotspots. It is very clear if you open your own database that it has data in the database for hotspots you have never even come within 600miles of. The locations in the database aren't all generated by your own phone. That is clear too. My database has 2.6MB worth of cell towers and 14MB worth of hotspots. My entire city is full of yellow pushpins in Google Earth. WiFi doesn't reach far at all and there is data in my database for placing in town that I would never drive through for risk of getting shot. According to Apple the phone puts in a request for all the hotspots/towers in your area and then caches them on the phone. Sure they probably don't need to keep hotspots in the database for a location on the other end of the country that you haven't visited in the past 6months though. That is what they plan to fix though.

Thank you for actually reading and understanding!

I understand that the discussion here is biased a bit against Apple but that's really no excuse for people to make fools of themselves.

ermax said,
Man it looks like 95% of the people posting here have no clue how to read.

Looks like 5% of the people posting here have no clue on what the dictionary definition of "tracking" is. Looks like they may need to read some more...

PlogCF said,
Looks like 5% of the people posting here have no clue on what the dictionary definition of "tracking" is. Looks like they may need to read some more...
Your iPhone will send anonymous location data to Apple. That's not what's in the consolidated.db file though. What in holy hell don't you get about that?

Sorry, but I have to believe Apple on this one. Why would they be tracking you, when they're simply triangulating your position using the nearest cellphone tower, logging your current location in a database (or cache), and compiling your newest location on top of all of your previous locations into a conveniently-accessible file? Seriously, their behavior is not location-based tracking--it doesn't even associate itself with the dictionary definition of!

Taken from WordIQ.com:


In logistics, tracking is the process of uniformly building a track of objects that are forwarded to, processed for, applied in or disposed of usage. The obtained track hence is a map depicted or coordinates listed in real-time of the reckoned locations of the respective object.

I really think people should leave Apple alone. They are not tracking anyone, as they are simply recording their location in real time.

[/sarcasm]

PlogCF said,
logging your current location in a database (or cache), and compiling your newest location on top of all of your previous locations into a conveniently-accessible file?

But your location (the actual location of the device after the calculations) isn't what is being saved.

I highly suggest everyone download an app to extract the data from their iPhone and see that clearly it isn't tracking your location. There are several apps out there for doing this now. For Windows and OSX. If you haven't seen this data yourself then stop spreading FUD or voicing an uneducated opinion.

ermax said,
I highly suggest everyone download an app to extract the data from their iPhone and see that clearly it isn't tracking your location. There are several apps out there for doing this now. For Windows and OSX. If you haven't seen this data yourself then stop spreading FUD or voicing an uneducated opinion.

Regardless a file exists in the iphone and whether it means something or not is beside the point. The only thing that matter is there's this 2 engineer/IT/expert guy run thru the files and gotten location / coordinates / triangulation etc etc..... I don't think apple is telling us the whole truth here and I suspect advertising. I seem to recall Apple is moving towards advertising at 1 time maybe called "iAD" or something.

minster11 said,

Regardless a file exists in the iphone and whether it means something or not is beside the point. The only thing that matter is there's this 2 engineer/IT/expert guy run thru the files and gotten location / coordinates / triangulation etc etc..... I don't think apple is telling us the whole truth here and I suspect advertising. I seem to recall Apple is moving towards advertising at 1 time maybe called "iAD" or something.

2 guys who couldn't be bothered to Google search the file they were creating a tizzy about, apparently since they didn't get much right and there was already plenty on the internet about it. Please explain to me how I can be tracked by something that is off by miles, that actually frequently provides 4 to 10 different locations for any time stamp (all available cells in the area)? I will happily send you a copy of my consolidated.db; come and find me! I live in the littlest state... it should be easy to find me, about as easy as finding any random person with zero data in a small state of a million people.

dp123 said,

2 guys who couldn't be bothered to Google search the file they were creating a tizzy about, apparently since they didn't get much right and there was already plenty on the internet about it. Please explain to me how I can be tracked by something that is off by miles, that actually frequently provides 4 to 10 different locations for any time stamp (all available cells in the area)? I will happily send you a copy of my consolidated.db; come and find me! I live in the littlest state... it should be easy to find me, about as easy as finding any random person with zero data in a small state of a million people.

That database is not for you or anyone else to see or understand, except from apple themselves. I am saying that apple probably using it for their advertising campaign. Please explain to me why can't apple create database on their server instead of locally on the phone.

Let's just say I don't want to be found, so someone looking for me hire a hacker and just using my phone #, he knows the last place I've been using google map and whatever that 2 guys been using.

minster11 said,

That database is not for you or anyone else to see or understand, except from apple themselves. I am saying that apple probably using it for their advertising campaign. Please explain to me why can't apple create database on their server instead of locally on the phone.

Let's just say I don't want to be found, so someone looking for me hire a hacker and just using my phone #, he knows the last place I've been using google map and whatever that 2 guys been using.


Not even Apple sees this data; it's on the phone and it doesn't ever leave.

So Apple isn't tracking anyone, they just provide the database for anyone to do so.

Glad that's all cleared up.

Aergan said,
So Apple isn't tracking anyone, they just provide the database for anyone to do so.

Glad that's all cleared up.

Please tell me what is in this database.

Apple: we're not tracking your location, it's just a database said,

The iPhone and iPad were both saving your location to a database within the phone; saving information like GPS location and hotspots.

And what's Neowin's source on that?

Apple says: "a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location"

Locations of cell towers and hotspots that are then used by the phone to find your location. Not your actual location.

lol, they are kidding right?. We should starting to boycott their products since they lie and dont notify what they are doing.

DigitalE said,
I'm going to post my location log right here for all to see. "Tracking"? I think not.
http://imgf.tw/494669968.png

But,,but,, apple is bad and tracking you down to a 3 miles square of where you were in the past.... Doesnt, matter that you just tweeted you are enjoying a latte at starbucks..

People are just stupid. But nice to post the img of where it posts, the only thing i saw if it was a text layout, nice to know that it is even less of an issue because it seems more like a general grid of signal quality

well, of course everything is being tracked, even things "they" dont let us know of, what do you expect? apple is just a minor spy

Funny people here saying "its just a bug" If it was Google, then it would be something intentional.

Maybe someday people will remove the blinders and see that Apple's **** stinks like everyone elses.

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