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Home / Tech / Apple explains why users think iPhone 11 Pro collects and shares location data

Apple explains why users think iPhone 11 Pro collects and shares location data

Responding to the claim, Apple said that the location beaconing Krebs documented in a video was related to ultra wide-band technology on the iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and iPhone 11 Pro Max.

tech Updated: Dec 07, 2019 17:17 IST
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
Indo Asian News Service
A woman holds an iPhone 11 Pro Max while giving a live broadcast after it went on sale at the Apple Store in Beijing, China, September 20, 2019.
A woman holds an iPhone 11 Pro Max while giving a live broadcast after it went on sale at the Apple Store in Beijing, China, September 20, 2019.(REUTERS)
         

Dismissing reports that iPhone 11 Pro continuously collects and transmits its users location data even when the user has blocked it from doing so, Apple has said that the confusion arose because of its ultra wide-band technology.

In a blog and an accompanying video, security journalist Brian Krebs this week demonstrated a potential privacy leak in the new iPhone line that appeared to continue to collect GPS data for certain apps and system services despite manual disablement of individual Location Services in iPhone Settings.

Responding to the claim, Apple said that the location beaconing Krebs documented in a video was related to ultra wide-band technology that “provides spatial awareness allowing iPhone to understand its position relative to other ultra wide-band enabled devices (i.e. all new iPhone 11s, including the Pro and Pro Max).”

Ultra wide-band is a radio technology that uses a very low energy level for short-range, high-bandwidth communications of a large portion of the radio spectrum without interfering with more conventional transmissions, krebsonsecurity.com reported on Thursday.

“So users can do things like share a file with someone using AirDrop simply by pointing at another user’s iPhone,” Apple was quoted as saying in the statement.

Krebs said he found the behaviour of the device at odds with Apple’s own privacy policy and with its recent commercials stating that customers should be in full control over what they share via their phones and what their phones share about them.

Apple explained that the location information indicator appears because the device periodically checks to see whether it is being used in a handful of countries for which Apple has not yet received approval to deploy ultra wideband.

“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,” said the statement.

“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 Ultrawide Band compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data,” it added.