iOS 4.3.3 Up Next to Fix Location Tracking 'Bug', Apple Pundit Indicates

By Filip Truta on April 21st, 2011 17:11 GMT

Weighing in on the iOS location tracking issue that’s recently causing a huge stir in the Apple blogosphere, pundit John Gruber of Daring Fireball threatens to inadvertently do a Glenn Beck number on everyone who continues to speculate more than necessary on the subject.

Admittedly, the ‘iOS 4.3.3’ in the headline spells exactly that - speculation - but we'll proceed to quote the blogger on his informed take on the matter, including his belief that Apple is likely working on a new software update for iPhone and iPad users alike.

“The big question of course, is why Apple is storing this information,” Gruber writes.

After talking to his well placed sources, the pundit asserts, “I don’t have a definitive answer, but my little-birdie-informed understanding is that consolidated.db acts as a cache for location data.”

This source allegedly informed Gruber and that “historical data should be getting culled but isn’t, either due to a bug or, more likely, an oversight."

"I.e. someone wrote the code to cache location data but never wrote code to cull non-recent entries from the cache, so that a database that’s meant to serve as a cache of your recent location data is instead a persistent log of your location history,” he elaborates.

The post ends with Daring Fireball's author concluding, “I’d wager this gets fixed in the next iOS update.”

Apple undoubtedly has solid reasons to let iOS continue storing location information for the various services its mobile OS offers, but Softpedia agrees that said information should not be as easily accessible as researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden say it is.

The fact that this data remains stored in iOS backup files may also need to be looked over by Apple.

Following their discovery, the security experts released iPhone Tracker, a tool that maps the information your iPhone is recording about your movements.

Jailbroken users can clear their cache (so to speak) by installing a utility called 'Untrackerd', downloadable from Cydia.
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