IPhone 11 Pro collects location data even when it shouldn't, researcher says

Yolanda Curtis
December 7, 2019

Apple's privacy policy claims the iPhone's Location Services "will periodically send the geo-tagged location of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form", but said users can systematically disable these services. "It seems they are saying their phones have some system services that query your location regardless of whether one has disabled this setting individually for all apps and iOS system services", he wrote.

It recently came to light that even with Location Services disabled, iPhone 11 Pro handsets appeared to be checking for location data, sparking concerns about privacy.

"Apparently there are some system services on this model (and possibly other iPhone 11 models) which request location data and can not be disabled by users without completely turning off location services, as the arrow icon still appears periodically even after individually disabling all system services that use location", Kreb wrote.

Krebs reached out to the iPhone maker in November after he found out conflicting behavior with the intention of reporting it as a bug.


With UWB, you can share a file to another user via AirDrop more effectively.

"Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to worldwide regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations", an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch.

The engineer added that they did not see any security implications with the issue.

"You can also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off each location-based system service", the policy continues. They did not specify what location data services could be toggled off.


"Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to worldwide regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if an iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations", Apple said in a statement.

And to follow the worldwide regulations, the iPhone 11 tracks location data to turn off the ultra-wideband technology where it isn't legally allowed to run.

In a future iOS update Apple will include a dedicated toggle in System Services to disable the UWB activity.

Apple blames the tracking as a necessity with blame laid squarely at the feet of the new Ultra wideband chip used in the 2019 iPhones.


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