Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 with fixes for location database controversy

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple on Wednesday released iOS 4.3.3 for the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, addressing issues related to location data stored in a database file on devices running iOS 4.



Apple quickly released the update in response to growing concerns over the "consolidated.db" file that gained attention in recent weeks. The issue gained so much attention, in fact, that Apple was forced to issue a statement on the matter a week ago.



Apple said the iOS 4.3.3 update contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache including:

Reduces the size of the cache

No longer backs up the cache to iTunes

Deletes the cache entirely when Location Servcies is turned off.

The iOS 4.3.3 update is available now through iTunes. It applies to the GSM-based iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. Also availble is iOS 4.2.8 for the CDMA iPhone 4.



Apple promised last week that the location database issues would be addressed in a software update in a matter of weeks. But the company acted quickly to release the iOS update, making it available just a week after the company publicly spoke out on the matter.



The update aims to calm 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 admitted 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. 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.



Before Apple spoke out on the issue, it 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 35
    mj1970mj1970 Posts: 9,002member
    Faster than anyone could convene a Congressional hearing.
  • Reply 2 of 35
    rokradrokrad Posts: 143member
    Oh how the media likes to blow things out of proportion. To be honest I had no care about this tracking location crowd sourcing thing, didn't bother me at all.
  • Reply 3 of 35
    matrix07matrix07 Posts: 1,993member
    I won't waste my time updating this.
  • Reply 4 of 35
    noirdesirnoirdesir Posts: 1,027member
    Question: What about the iPhone 3G running 4.2.1? Does it create that database and does it keep creating it with the same time horizon and the same synching?
  • Reply 5 of 35
    asciiascii Posts: 5,941member
    So turning location services off is all you need to do now? And no location information (even of nearby routers) is stored or cached on the phone in any way?
  • Reply 6 of 35
    lafelafe Posts: 252member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Rokrad View Post


    Oh how the media likes to blow things out of proportion. To be honest I had no care about this tracking location crowd sourcing thing, didn't bother me at all.



    Same here. The media are really, really getting out of hand in this country (US). Next we'll have a week-long expose on how the iPhone allows the person you're calling to hear an actual digitized version of your own private voice, which might allow them to steal your soul!



    What makes me doubly-sad is that A) the media makes money scaring people over nothing, and B) such a ridiculously large percentage of the population laps it up and runs in circles waving their hands in the air (judging from the idiotic comments I read on Facebook and news sites, anyway).



  • Reply 7 of 35
    addicted44addicted44 Posts: 822member
    The irony of course was that all this attention was in a period of weeks where:



    1) Sony's networks were miserably hacked, and it was revealed they were saving private data (not financial though) in plain text.

    2) Sony's networks were hacked again, and it was revealed that they were saving data for accounts created before 2007 (not sure about the exact year/date) in plain text, and that those credit card details were stolen.

    3) TomTom was revealed to have sold location data to the Dutch government, which in turn used it to issue speeding tickets to people.

    4) Google's Android saved the same data, but moreover, it was revealed a Google VP said that this was extremely valuable data that needed to be collected in emails a year ago.



    etc...



    And the one the biggest ruckus was created was about a bug that stored a LOCAL file on your own computer, and wouldn't even reveal location very accurately.
  • Reply 8 of 35
    bloodlinebloodline Posts: 16member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    I won't waste my time updating this.



    +1



    Total waste of Flash write cycles.
  • Reply 9 of 35
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Off topic, but why is it that the Verizon iPhone 4 is still stuck on 4.2.X? The CDMA firmware info is obviously in 4.3.X, since the Verizon iPad 2 has 4.3.X, but the phones do not for whatever reason. That just bugs me. I would like to have the faster Javascript engine in Safari as well as the enhanced AirPlay features, but I guess I'll just have to wait until iOS 5 (hopefully).
  • Reply 10 of 35
    ghostface147ghostface147 Posts: 1,629member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by noirdesir View Post


    Question: What about the iPhone 3G running 4.2.1? Does it create that database and does it keep creating it with the same time horizon and the same synching?



    Yes, that's why it's so slow.
  • Reply 11 of 35
    hittrj01hittrj01 Posts: 753member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by ghostface147 View Post


    Yes, that's why it's so slow.



    That's why it's so slow? And here I thought it was 4-year-old hardware trying to run software that it was never designed for. Silly me.
  • Reply 12 of 35
    gunslingergunslinger Posts: 61member
    It is a little funny that people are all excited about this "problem". Tracking on phones is the least of our worries. The government has satellites that can count the number of hairs on our heads and they are worried about phones?
  • Reply 13 of 35
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post


    The irony of course was that all this attention was in a period of weeks where:



    ...



    3) TomTom was revealed to have sold location data to the Dutch government, which in turn used it to issue speeding tickets to people.



    ...




    I was under the impression that TomTom had sold aggregate speeding data to the government and the government used it to position speed cameras.



    As long as individuals were not named I don't see a human rights or privacy issue and if it helps catch speeding drivers at a later date then it's doing more good for the taxpayers euros.
  • Reply 14 of 35
    pxtpxt Posts: 683member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by hittrj01 View Post


    That's why it's so slow? And here I thought it was 4-year-old hardware trying to run software that it was never designed for. Silly me.



    4.2.1 was the last legitimate update for the 3G and was partially created to alleviate the damage apple had done to the 3G experience with their previous iOS version. It's still very slow and that's no-one's fault but Apple's.
  • Reply 15 of 35
    maccheechmaccheech Posts: 15member
    What bugs me the most is having to download 666Mo to fix something I didn't care at all...
  • Reply 16 of 35
    anakin1992anakin1992 Posts: 283member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by matrix07 View Post


    I won't waste my time updating this.



    agreed. it takes just too long to have a update on i-devices. for this bug, not worth the time.
  • Reply 17 of 35
    chabigchabig Posts: 624member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by MacCheech View Post


    What bugs me the most is having to download 666Mo to fix something I didn't care at all...



    I'm not bothered at all. I can plug my iPhone in, walk away for 5-10 minutes without suffering any withdrawal symptoms.
  • Reply 18 of 35
    macslutmacslut Posts: 514member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    I was under the impression that TomTom had sold aggregate speeding data to the government and the government used it to position speed cameras.



    As long as individuals were not named I don't see a human rights or privacy issue and if it helps catch speeding drivers at a later date then it's doing more good for the taxpayers euros.



    Not so fast...



    TomTom itself, let alone their customers, wasn't even aware the data would be used this way.



    The aggregate use excuse may not exactly apply here. Essentially data was being collected that indicated exactly where the law was being broken and then sold to the government who in turn placed cameras at those spots to nail drivers. So if you drove to and from work every day on the same highway and went over the speed limit say while going downhill/merging at a particular spot, that might show up in the database numerous times, and you might have a camera installed solely because of your data.



    In other words, you may have purchased a device that gave the company data about you which was sold to the government telling them where to set up a camera to observe you breaking the law.



    Now, it's easy to get distracted with the thought that the answer is "well, don't break the law", but the problem here is that we (at least most in the US) want to live in a society with reasonable enforcement of the laws and not law enforcement as an automated for-profit system where 24/7 any infraction however minor, victimless, or insignificant results in a penalty steep enough to generate a profit for the corporations involved.
  • Reply 19 of 35
    magicjmagicj Posts: 406member
    Good job by Apple recognizing the seriousness of the problem and quickly getting a fix to customers.
  • Reply 20 of 35
    john.bjohn.b Posts: 2,720member
    How about a fix to craptastic battery life controversy?



    Or maybe the slow-to-respond home button controversy?



    iOS 4.3 took way all of teh snappies from my iPhone 3GS.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by PXT View Post


    4.2.1 was the last legitimate update for the 3G and was partially created to alleviate the damage apple had done to the 3G experience with their previous iOS version. It's still very slow and that's no-one's fault but Apple's.



    This!
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