iPhone Stores Location Data Even When Disabled

WSJ finds that it's impossible to turn off location tracking

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As if last week’s reports of a secret file on the iPhone that tracks its user's location wasn’t disconcerting enough, now, the Wall Street Journal has discovered that the iPhone collects and stores location information even when the phone’s location services are disabled.

Last week, the WSJ reported that Apple's iPhone and cell phones running on Google’s Android software transmitted their locations back to Google and Apple, respectively. Both Apple and Google have claimed that any data they receive is anonymous and that data collection can be turned off by disabling location services. But the WSJ tested that claim and found that even if it disabled location services on an iPhone, the phone kept recording location data, including coordinates and time stamps. (However, the locations were inexact.)

Growing concerns over cell phone tracking have led to responses from government officials. On Saturday, Massachusetts Rep. Edward Markey called for a congressional investigation into the iPhone’s location storage, saying that the phone’s unprotected data could endanger children by allowing predators to hack their phone and access their location.

@adweekemma emma.bazilian@adweek.com Emma Bazilian is Adweek's features editor.
Publish date: April 25, 2011 https://dev.adweek.com/digital/iphone-stores-location-data-even-when-disabled-130966/ © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT