Apple patches location-tracking bug

Apple has released an update to fix the “bug” that saw its mobile devices record and store end-user location data.

Apple patches location-tracking bug

Apple boss Steve Jobs had promised to adjust the company’s mobile software to store less location data after public outcry out when it emerged that Apple was monitoring the whereabouts of its customers.

The update, which the company is distributing automatically via iTunes, said it “contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache”.

The company had previously blamed the data grab on a bug, and denied it was tracking people’s location, despite logging Wi-Fi hotspots and cell masts.

According to Apple, the update reduces the amount of location data collected, prevents the device from copying the location information to iTunes, and enables iPhone or iPad users to stop collecting data when Location Services are switched off.

Apple’s software update comes ahead of a US senate subcommittee hearing on mobile privacy next week at which both Apple and Google have agreed to testify.

Concerns about tracking came to a head earlier this month when two computer programmers presented research showing the iPhone was logging locations that could be easily mapped.

Apple has denied that it was tracking the movements of its iPhone customers, but has acknowledged that it does keep a database of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers.

This has raised concerns from privacy advocates, who said the process would make it possible, for instance, for someone with access to a person’s computer to retrieve information about their movements.

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