Everyone take a deep breath. Read the title again. No, the sensational reports of iPhone’s location logging haven’t been totally false, but I think there has been a serious misunderstanding here and it’s time to clear something up.
While iPhones do in fact store a cache of location data, this data is not sent to Apple. The log is stored on the phone itself, and used to improve cellular service. The distinction here is that Apple is not tracking your location–your phone is. The implication has been the former and it is simply false. So you can stop writing angry letters, or filing frivolous lawsuits now.
I’ve heard the argument that because the log is carelessly unencrypted, a motivated person (such as law enforcement, suspicious employer, or jealous spouse) able to acquire your phone could then potentially track your past movements. First of all, if law enforcement were able to acquire a search warrant for your iPhone, I think you have other problems. Second of all, if you’re going somewhere you don’t want to be reached, leave the cell phone at home, why don’t you? And finally, why’d you let whoever you were hiding your movements from get their suspicious little hands on your smartphone anyway?
Ok, well jokes aside, everyone: stop freaking out. And Apple, even I can’t justify keeping a running cache since the beginning of time. Cut it off at 30 days or something. And encrypt that sucker while you’re at it!
Do you feel your privacy is at risk? No care ever? Leave your comments!
Mike Keller is GeekTech’s resident iOS developer nerd. Catch Diary of a Developer every Tuesday here at PCWorld’s GeekTech blog.