The iPhone 11 May Be Tracking Your Location Even After You Turn Off Location Service

Dhir Acharya - Dec 05, 2019


The iPhone 11 May Be Tracking Your Location Even After You Turn Off Location Service

Apple touts a lot about its privacy, but according to a new report, the iPhone 11 lineup doesn’t seem to offer users much control as it promised.

Apple touts a lot about its privacy, but according to a new report, the iPhone 11 lineup doesn’t seem to offer users much control as it promised.

The report came from KrebsOnSecurity’s Brian Krebs discovered that although Apple’s Location Services says users are able to disable Location Services anytime, the company will continue tracking users’ locations even if they have turned off all apps and settings manually. Krebs found the problem on a new 11 Pro that runs iOS 13.2 although there have been reports from users on this matter in Apple discussion forums.

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In a video, Krebs turned off Siri, Maps, and individual System Services settings manually from the menu for Location Services under Settings. However, he turned on the setting that shows the Status Bar Icon while enabling the Location data tab. Krebs then headed to Control Center and turned on Airplane Mode. when disabling Airplane Mode, Krebs noticed the arrow-shaped icon in the Status Bar though no other apps were open than Settings.

According to Krebs, he didn’t have the same problem on an iPhone 8 although it also ran iOS 13.2, meaning the issue might have something to do with the hardware of the iPhone 11 and its WiFi 6 support.

In August, ahead of the launch of the iPhone 11, Apple updated its Privacy Policy, which says that the tech giant:

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However, it was noted by Kreb that the Location Services’ privacy policy on the phone appears to suggest that users can turn off this data collection completely.

The policy states:

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The iPhone maker didn’t respond to a request for comment immediately regarding this issue. But after Krebs contacted Apple about the problem, a company’s engineer said the Location Services icon shows up for system services that don’t have their switches in Settings. This likely means that users can’t truly disable location system services as suggested by the company’s privacy policy.

The fact that an iPhone lineup is tracking users’ location after they prevent that activity raises questions, especially when the company constantly says how much it protects user privacy.

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