Apple to address iPhone location concerns with quick release of iOS 4.3.3

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple promised last week to release a software update to address a location tracking bug in its iOS mobile operating system, and a pre-release build of iOS 4.3.3 indicates the company is acting quickly to release the update.



The early build of iOS 4.3.3 was sent on Monday to Boy Genius Report. The site said that the update will likely be issued within the next two weeks, but possibly even sooner.



Sources reportedly told the site that after installing the update, iOS 4 will no longer back up the location database file, "consolidated.db," to iTunes when a user syncs their iPhone or iPad 3G. Apple will also, as promised, reduce the size of the file and limit the length of time that location data is stored.



Also as promised, the update will reportedly delete the database file when users choose to turn off Location Services on their iOS-powered device.



In addition to addressing the location data controversy, the update is also said to include battery life improvements, and fixes for bugs related to the iPod software.



Last week, Apple issued a statement in response to growing concern over a bug in iOS 4 that stored a database of up to a year's worth of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations. Apple said they don't think the iPhone needs to store more than seven days worth of such data.







The company also said that the data should not be collected when users turn off Location Services on their iPhone, and the fact that it was being stored was a bug. The company said that it would release a software update "in the next few weeks" to fix the bug, stop backup of the database file, and reduce the size of the file and scope of the information stored.



Apple also promised that its next "major" iOS software release would encrypt the file on the iPhone, ensuring that the data could not be obtained by a third party for illicit purposes.



The iPhone maker was forced to speak out on the issue after concern over the location data reached a fever pitch. The controversy prompted lawsuits, government investigations around the world, and a scheduled hearing on mobile privacy in the U.S. Senate, set to involve both Apple and Google on May 10.



The issue gained attention after two security researchers publicized their findings related to the "consolidated.db" file stored on the iPhone. Though the file created by iOS 4 is not sent to Apple or anyone else.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 30
    cy_starkmancy_starkman Posts: 652member
    ..and what if you actually like the idea of a years worth of location data being cached, cause if you move round a bit that seems like a bonus if you ask me.
  • Reply 2 of 30
    al_bundyal_bundy Posts: 1,525member
    i like it



    my new ipad new my location when i opened the TWC app for the first time. when i visit people it knows the new location as well and it's a wifi model.
  • Reply 3 of 30
    danacamerondanacameron Posts: 337member
    I'm not too concerned with the location data bug. I just hope 4.3.3 addresses the WiFi connectivity bug frustrating some of us iPhone 4 users.
  • Reply 4 of 30
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,740member
    Hey, Apple! While you're at it, how about a "quick release" of a fix for the crappy battery life issue?



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post


    ..and what if you actually like the idea of a years worth of location data being cached, cause if you move round a bit that seems like a bonus if you ask me.



    Good point. This should be user configurable, with something like a "7 day" default.
  • Reply 5 of 30
    stourquestourque Posts: 355member
    Apparently Osama Bin Laden had an iPhone.
  • Reply 6 of 30
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Oh and screenshot fail. Blur out the build number, but quickview totally runs the blur.
  • Reply 7 of 30
    AMcKinlay21AMcKinlay21 Posts: 120member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    Apple promised last week to release a software update to address a location tracking bug in its iOS mobile operating system, and a pre-release build of iOS 4.3.3 indicates the company is acting quickly to release the update.



    The early build of iOS 4.3.3 was sent on Monday to Boy Genius Report. The site said that the update will likely be issued within the next two weeks, but possibly even sooner.




    Does anyone know if this update or a special iOS 4.2.2 will be made available for iPhone 3G users, running iOS4?
  • Reply 8 of 30
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ombra2105 View Post


    Does anyone know if this update or a special iOS 4.2.2 will be made available for iPhone 3G users, running iOS4?



    I am willing to bet the answer is no.
  • Reply 9 of 30
    daharderdaharder Posts: 1,580member
    Yea... yet another long, drawn-out iDevice sync!



    Anyway... At least they're trying to resolve this mess.
  • Reply 10 of 30
    rob55rob55 Posts: 1,280member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    ...In addition to addressing the location data controversy, the update is also said to include battery life improvements...



    I sure hope so, because my battery life has been crap since I upgraded to 4.3.
  • Reply 11 of 30
    malaxmalax Posts: 1,598member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post


    I sure hope so, because my battery life has been crap since I upgraded to 4.3.



    Same here. I had been thinking it was just my aging battery. But it went from a reasonably 6-10 hours to a horrible 3-8 hours.
  • Reply 12 of 30
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Nice turn around time on getting this release out. Good work Apple.



    * thumbs up*
  • Reply 13 of 30
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,363member
    Big question is what will they do with the iPhone 3G, abandon it for security updates just like the original iPhone -- what a terrible practice, Apple.
  • Reply 14 of 30
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by John.B View Post


    Hey, Apple! While you're at it, how about a "quick release" of a fix for the crappy battery life issue?



    Word! There is also some intermittent, split second staling of apps as they load or switch Ui views.



    Quote:

    Good point. This should be user configurable, with something like a "7 day" default.



    I don?t see why. It?s a cache of a subset of data to get a faster GPS location, not a service the user needs to directly control and not a list of your locations. If we give the user access to that then why not everything in the /cache folder?





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    Big question is what will they do with the iPhone 3G, abandon it for security updates just like the original iPhone -- what a terrible practice, Apple.



    What a terrible practice to offer updates to their phones. They should just follow devices running Android and leave it for dead soon after it launches unless they are adding SW features and drivers for HW they promised months earlier.
  • Reply 15 of 30
    blah64blah64 Posts: 986member
    I have a question that I still don't think I've seen answered (although I may have missed it among the many hundreds of comments I have read on this topic).



    We know now that the data stored in this particular file that grabbed the media's attention is not your phone's specific location, but other locatable devices in the vicinity. And the size of the vicinity ranges widely, dependent on where you are, from very tight to many miles. And the data comes from Apple, from their crowd-sourced data, not from your own specific location data.



    So now the prevailing opinion of bloggers and commenters at this point of understanding is: "Hey everyone shut up, Apple does NOT get your location information, period!"



    However... for Apple to send you that particular set of device locations, they need to base it on your current location, right? Doesn't this imply that your device is actually sending it's location to Apple on a regular basis? Otherwise how would they know which cell tower and WiFi data to pass back to your phone? They may perfectly well dispose of this data immediately (or not), but I can't see how the system works without Apple "tracking" your real-time location in some way or another.



    I'm happy to be corrected, but please don't just spout nonsense or address some other issue/aspect.
  • Reply 16 of 30
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by libertyforall View Post


    Big question is what will they do with the iPhone 3G, abandon it for security updates just like the original iPhone -- what a terrible practice, Apple.



    Apple shouldn't have to spend time worrying about updating gen 1 and 2 products. Apple doesn't update 10.4, nor any safari version before 4.0....why should iOS be different?



    If you're stuck on a gen 1 iPhone with 128 megs of RAM or a gen 2 iPhone....that's all on you.
  • Reply 17 of 30
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Blah64 View Post


    However... for Apple to send you that particular set of device locations, they need to base it on your current location, right? Doesn't this imply that your device is actually sending it's location to Apple on a regular basis? Otherwise how would they know which cell tower and WiFi data to pass back to your phone? They may perfectly well dispose of this data immediately (or not), but I can't see how the system works without Apple "tracking" your real-time location in some way or another.



    That?s not how I read it. It sounds like your iPhone is recording the nodes, or access points you?ve connected to, sending that to Apple and getting a subset of the DB that replaced the Skyhook service.



    I don?t see how your phone could send an exact GPS location to Apple so it can send back the subset DB so your phone can get faster GPS connections. Your location changes even though we do tend to stay in the same general areas, which is why the subset of the DB needs to contain more than a point of reference.



    At least that is how I understood it.
  • Reply 18 of 30
    djintxdjintx Posts: 454member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    In addition to addressing the location data controversy, the update is also said to include battery life improvements, and fixes for bugs related to the iPod software.



    For those of you that missed this the first time (including myself), it looks like there will finally be some help on the horizon for battery issues. At least according to the article anyway. Hopefully it is true.
  • Reply 19 of 30
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,018member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by cy_starkman View Post


    ..and what if you actually like the idea of a years worth of location data being cached, cause if you move round a bit that seems like a bonus if you ask me.



    What you like and want is irrelevant. Only the likes and wants of the paranoid tinfoil hat crowd counts in this scenario.
  • Reply 20 of 30
    libertyforalllibertyforall Posts: 1,363member
    Such nonsense, Apple still provides iTunes, Security and QuickTime updates for 10.5.x, so why should ONE iOS VERSION BACK (3.1.x and still current 4.2.x) be any different?!



    Last year Apple also STILL provided Safari & iTunes updates for 10.4.x, and other updates! Further, Safari 4.1 added a lot of the Safari 5.x features back on Safari 4.x for Tiger users! Apple's iOS strategy is MUCH quicker abandonment of older products, which I deplore!





    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Apple shouldn't have to spend time worrying about updating gen 1 and 2 products. Apple doesn't update 10.4, nor any safari version before 4.0....why should iOS be different?



    If you're stuck on a gen 1 iPhone with 128 megs of RAM or a gen 2 iPhone....that's all on you.



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