iPhone Secretly Tracks: An Anti-privacy Glitch Uncovered

iPhone Secretly Tracks: An Anti-privacy Glitch Uncovered

An unexpected discovery hit headlines a couple of years ago that caused huge privacy concerns for iPhone users around the world. Security researchers from Great Britain found a hidden file in iOS 4 that was continuously recording the current location of iPhone users. This location tracking feature was found to track the whereabouts of the iPhone user, and this information was sent to a hidden file in Apple's system.

While Google Android’s location tracking feature allows the users to select whether to utilize it or not, iPhone’s tracking file was undisclosed to the public. In fact, iPad by Apple also hosts a similar secret location tracking feature. The announcement of the discovery received mixed reactions from the public, including an outrage which made some owners of Apple products file a lawsuit against the company. The demand for explanations continues to grow as people wait for Apple to break its silence.

Apple kept quiet on its secret iPhone location tracking. Even Steve Jobs denied that the iPhone tracks its users. Apple claimed that the iPhone location tracking feature does not track what the user does or where he goes but only records the Wi-Fi spots and cellular phone towers in the area and secures the coordinates to the iPhone. Apple’s representatives further said that this issue was perhaps based on a misunderstanding.

According to Apple, the unencrypted file called “consolidated.db” was a result of a software error. “This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly”, Apple further stated. The said glitch in the system was explained to be the reason for a year’s worth of stored data. To address this problem, Apple stated its plans to release a software update that will cease backing up the cache and on the next major release of iOS software, make the cache encrypted on the iPhone. The company also provided an online Q&A service to address inquiries regarding location tracking.

US researchers, Allan and Warden have created an application that enables users to see the location data from their iPhone. In fact, the app allows the users to visualize the information their iPhone is actuallty recording. Since the new software that Apple promised its users is still unavailable, it is suggested that owners of Apple products should encrypt their backups by clicking on iTunes and then selecting “EncryptiPhoneBackup” under the “Options” area.

Well, clearly the issue has popped a number of concerns against security and privacy of iPhone users. With the onslaught of new technologies and the evolving capabilities of the internet, the public became the regular victim of security threats, scams and the likes. Users need to be vigilant and protect themselves from such security attacks.

Fortunately, users are able to setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN) on their iOS device. A VPN protects users from various kinds of threats including tracking by unwanted authorities. A VPN keeps its users secure on Wi-Fi hotspots and other internet connections while giving them access to geo-restricted content from anywhere in the world, anonymously. So it’s a must that you as an iOS user start using a VPN in order to make sure you are completely secure and anonymous online.

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Neha Gupta

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