Tags: Apple | Wired | bug | iPhone

Jobs Moves to Debug iPhone Spying Glitch

Thursday, 05 May 2011 04:36 PM

By Martin Gould

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Apple moved today to fix the location-tracking application that thrust the Steve Jobs’ company into a controversy about whether it is spying on iPhone and iPad users. The computer giant issued a software update for its mobile devices, fixing what it has described as a bug, Wired reports.

iPhone, Apple, spyThe patch will reduce the size of the file that stores location data and will delete it completely when customers disable the location services setting, Apple said.

The update comes after software hackers Peter Warden and Alasdair Allen revealed that an unprotected file in the iOS software stores a log of so-called “geodata” creating a trail of everywhere the device had been over the period of a year.

“Ever since iOS 4 arrived, your device has been storing a long list of locations and time stamps,” the pair wrote. “We’re not sure why Apple is gathering this data, but it’s clearly intentional.”

Jobs insisted at the time: "We haven't been tracking anybody. Never have, never will," but privacy advocates were still unconvinced.

The original program was installed on Apple devices to improve the company’s location services — for instance, when a customer asks his phone to find a nearby restaurant, explained Wired — but now the company admits the data file should not have been so big.

The new update is free and is available through iTunes.


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