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Earlier this week, security researcher Brian Krebs found that the new iPhone 11 Pro models access user location data even when all apps and system services on the iPhone are set to not request the data.

Krebs told Apple that he had found a possible privacy bug as this presumably should not happen, but Apple told him that there were no concerns and the iPhone was operating as designed. "It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings," Apple said.

iphone-11-and-11-pro-no-background.jpg

Krebs came to the conclusion that Apple has certain system services that check for location regardless of whether the setting has been disabled individually for apps and system services, which, as it turns out, is accurate.

Apple today provided more context in a statement to TechCrunch, explaining that the new iPhone models that have a U1 ultra wideband chip are using location data to make sure they're not in restricted areas.

As Apple explains, there are some areas where ultra wideband technology is not allowed because of international regulations, so the iPhone must make sure it is not in these locations.
Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations.

The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.
Apple says that the location checks are done on device and no data about location is being sent to Apple's servers.

In the future, Apple plans to provide a dedicated toggle that will turn off the ultra wideband technology and thus disallow the background location tracking that's currently going on.

Article Link: New iPhones Access Location Info When Settings are Disabled Due to Ultra Wideband, Toggle Coming in Future Update
 

1144557

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I dont care either way really. The explanation seems to jive with what was found and isnt "spying" on you but using the location for other things like to see if a feature can be used in a region (versus doing what say Pixel 4 did and just not sell the phone there)

I dont see that as a legit privacy concern if it stays on device; the chip says am I in this region? No. Ok. Am I i this region? No. ok.
 
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1144557

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Prohibited locations? What possible use could this have unless the owner was working out of a classified military base?

Other countries and band licensing. Its still a radio wave and needs government approval to use that spectrum. Some governments wont approve it or it takes a long long time to get approval.

The same way the Pixel's Motion Sense (the hand radar) cant be used in say like India. Except they just dont sell the phone there instead.
 
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Ahmed7

macrumors member
Oct 10, 2017
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The other day when I went to pick up a friend from the airport, I got a notification from the Flight Radar app that said ”welcome to ‘my country’s airport” even though I had location disabled for the app. I haven’t even opened the app in days.
 
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simonb76

macrumors member
Jun 5, 2007
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Hmm. Sorry, I had to read the title header 3 times to understand it.... and it still doesn’t make sense.
 
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Auren

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Dec 5, 2019
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"Hmm. Sorry, I had to read the title header 3 times to understand it.... and it still doesn’t make sense."

Same could be said for the article.
 
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1144557

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And all this for a useless chip. Come on Apple, what are you waiting for?

What is your legitimate privacy concern being griped about? Explain with facts not Apple opinion this or that.

If the ultra-wideband chip can only function in certain countries due to licensing issues, and the chip says to the processor, check gps location, am I in country x? No? Ok good I will stay on. And keeps doing that to check status to turn the UWB chip on or off.

If all of that stays on device, what is the legitimate privacy concern there?
 
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SamuraiArtGuy

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2010
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Forking details....

But this seems consistent with the general patterns of tech firms often, (or typically) doing improper, or not-entirely-proper things, then stopping once they are revealed to users. Seems like half the Apps on iPhone sell user data till they get BUSTED. Almost like it's the default.

Apple is better than most (lookin' at YOU, Google, Facebook) but they have a dodgy trackrecord on "what users don't need to know."
 
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jermwhl

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Sep 29, 2014
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What is your legitimate privacy concern being griped about? Explain with facts not Apple this or that.

If the ultra-wideband chip can only function in certain countries due to licensing issues, and the chip says to the processor, check gps location, am I in country x? No? Ok good I will stay on. And keeps doing that to check status to turn the UWB chip on or off.

If all of that stays on device, what is the legitimate privacy concern there?
Playing the devil's advocate here - I think the concern is that you're under the impression that location services are turned off. And while it's mostly true, it's not entirely true. There should be some disclaimer and/or prompt the reminds you that location services will still be required for the U1 to remain on, or probably the better alternative, to just disable the U1 wideband when location services is completely turned off. With that said, I don't see the big deal either, assuming Apple's response is accurate and not hiding anything.
 
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1144557

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Playing the devil's advocate here - I think the concern is that you're under the impression that location services are turned off. And while it's mostly true, it's not entirely true. There should be some disclaimer and/or prompt the reminds you that location services will still be required for the U1 to remain on, or probably the better alternative, to just disable the U1 wideband when location services is completely turned off. With that said, I don't see the big deal either, assuming Apple's response is accurate and not hiding anything.

I dont disagree handling it better. But the usual phrases are coming out oh Apple this or that is not helpful at all to the discussion. And the usual headlines of Apple lies they are spying on you they really dont value your privacy etc. have already appeared misleading the public further; considering the stories cant even explain what is going on accurately.

The could handle explaining it better but there is legitimately zero harm here as there cannot be a privacy issue if the data doesnt leave the device by definition
 
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xalea

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Jan 12, 2017
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Come on, do people really not think Apple doesn't know where every iPhone is at all times, who it's registered to, etc.? Even with it off I assume they can turn it on remotely, listen, you name it. To think otherwise is just naive. I have an iPhone and couldn't care less what they track on me, but I guess if you're paranoid or cooking meth or having affairs then it might bother you.
 
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spazzcat

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Jun 29, 2007
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This is where we are headed: location will be required for more and more features subject to government restrictions. Past a point, any toggle will be meaningless since the choice will be effectively stop functioning or allow location data.

The toggle turns off the radio band.
[automerge]1575570642[/automerge]
No data is sent to Apple so this is a non-issue.
 
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I7guy

macrumors Penryn
Nov 30, 2013
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Gotta be in it to win it
Come on, do people really not think Apple doesn't know where every iPhone is at all times, who it's registered to, etc.? Even with it off I assume they can turn it on remotely, listen, you name it. To think otherwise is just naive. I have an iPhone and couldn't care less what they track on me, but I guess if you're paranoid or cooking meth or having affairs then it might bother you.
Sure Apple knows where you are but that isn’t about what the article is about.
 
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DavsDue

macrumors newbie
May 16, 2010
11
2
Lol. My Apple watch have been in airplane mode for days, but can still unlock notes on my mac, control Music on my iPhone X e.g.
Have been able to do that at least a month :S
 
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Dave-Z

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Jun 26, 2012
858
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It's discovered that Android devices use location services when those services are set to disabled. iPhone users laugh and mock.

It's discovered that Apple devices use location services when those services are set to disabled. iPhone users nod and accept.

The fact that Apple releases a statement after they are caught (just like with those Siri recordings) shows their true nature. If privacy was truly a priority for Apple, this information would have been disclosed before the fact and a toggle provided when such hardware was released.
 
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mi7chy

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Oct 24, 2014
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Ultra wideband sounds like precision indoor tracking as much they try to downplay it.
 
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