Business, Economics and Jobs

Apple fixes iPhone, iPad "bug" that tracked users


A model uses her Apple device backstage ahead of the Nookie Beach show during Rosemount Australian Fashion Week at the Overseas Passenger Terminal in Sydney, Australia on May 3, 2011.


Lisa Maree Williams

Apple has released a software update to fix a location-tracking "bug" that saw iPhones and iPads secretly record owners' movements. Apple denied that it has used the information to track user location.

Permission for the tracking was given by users, albeit hidden away in the terms and conditions for the iTunes store, according to the BBC.

The data was logged via cell towers and wi-fi access points.

Security researchers Alasdair Allan and Peter Warden brought the data storage to light in April in a blog explaining that the bug, used with certain software, could generate a map of all a person's movements with the phone.

However, Apple said: "The iPhone is not logging your location, rather it's maintaining a database of wi-fi hotspots and cell towers around your current location, some of which may be located more than 100 miles away from your iPhone to help your phone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested."

Apple has now released the iOS 4.3.3 Software Update which "contains changes to the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache,” reads an explanation posted on the Apple iTunes service, according to eWeek.

Meanwhile, recent news reports have suggested that smartphones running Android are transmitting location data to Google.

Both Apple and Google have reportedly come under government pressure in recent days to reveal how they collect and store location data.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan asked to meet with executives from both companies to discuss privacy issues; that followed letters to letters to Apple CEO Steve Jobs from U.S. Rep. Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.), asking for greater clarification on news that the iPhone and 3G-enabled iPad running iOS 4 have been saving location data.