If you’ve been keeping up with the latest iPhone news, you’ve most likely heard about the infamous location database. At first, everyone thought that Apple was stalking your every move through a saved database of your GPS coordinates, but then some experts weighed in and said that simply wasn’t the case.

The iPhone’s GPS is operated through a system called Location Services. There was reason to believe that turning off Location Services would disable Apple’s location database form storing your information, but that turns out to not be true.

Apple is going to collect your location data whether you like it or not, and your location gets sent to Apple at least twice a day…

The Wall Street Journal conducted an experiment with the iPhone’s Location Services to see when the iPhone collects and stores location information.

“Apple Inc.’s iPhone is collecting and storing location information even when location services are turned off, according to a test conducted by The Wall Street Journal.

The location data appear to be collected using cellphone towers and Wi-Fi access points near a user’s phone and don’t appear to be transmitted back to Apple. Apple didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Still, the fact that the iPhone is collecting and storing location data—even when location services are turned off—is likely to renew questions about how well users are informed about the data being gathered by their cellphones. The fact that the iPhone stores months’ worth of location data was disclosed by two researchers last week.”

The iPhone still stores location data when Location Services is turned off. That seems a little shady. Apple is gathering your location data through Wi-Fi access points.

“The Journal tested the collection of data on an iPhone 4 that had been restored to factory settings and was running the latest version of iOS. They disabled location services (which are on by default) and immediately recorded the data that had initially been gathered by the phone. They then carried the phone to new locations and observed the data. Over the span of several hours as the phone was moved, it continued to collect location data from new places.”

Although The Journal does note that the coordinates gathered were not exact, this finding still raises questions about why Apple continually collects location data.

F-Secure reports that Apple collects user coordinates twice a day. They do this to aggregate their global location database of Wi-Fi networks. Apple uses these networks to get an estimate of your location without using the iPhone’s GPS. Google collects their location database by driving Maps Street View cars throughout the world. Apple simply crowdsources its already-existing database of iPhone users.

When you first setup your iPhone, you actually agree to Apple’s location collection methods.

If you feel uneasy, you can install a jailbreak tweak that clears the iPhone’s location database file of unneeded location data. Another jailbreak tweak will automatically toggle Location Services for you as well.

What do you think about The Journal’s findings? This is all starting to feel like over-sensationalized news to me.

  • theComer

    So what? let them get whatever they want. we are not criminals, so why should we worry about it.

    • Jjlasvegas

      So true, who knows maybe if I get kidnapped or lost hiking the police could track my phone and find me.

    • Justin

      It’s seems a liitle like invasion of privacy, but I can’t imagine how knowing if I’m in this building, or that building, or on the road could benefit Apple. I’m not too worried unless someone can give an example of what problems it can cause.
      What bothers me more is how much performance/battery life I’m losing because of communications I am not aware of.
      Or, let’s go off the deep end and say that with each location update that is sent to Apple, they are also getting a screenshot from each camera! Throw in audio clips too!
      (anyone seen the movie Antitrust?)

    • qwertyu

      I am

  • theComer_is_a_apple_whore

    FUCK APPLE!

    • toniDM

      if you are so pissed then don’t use offense language, stay away from this giant company

    • theComer

      theComer is what? looool you are so cheap!! I’ll take that as a complimentary. MY LOVELY APPLE! Get pissed off till u burn! looool

      • sas

        hahahaha u just pwned that dick

    • sas

      eat a dick noob

  • Darnel

    Isn’t location services need to be running periodically to use the MobileMe find my iOS device?

  • Isn’t location services need to be running periodically to use the MobileMe find my iOS device? Just a thought!?!

  • BossWaw

    hayz,, 3 consecutive post r posted about this matter!! r u kiddin me!! its absurbd!!
    “0ver-sensationalized newz?!!,, r u kidid me!!
    or best to say its just
    0ver-reactd!!
    0ver-tribulized!!
    0ver-tantalizin new!!
    dont get me wrong!!
    do i?!!!
    0ver

  • BoNzY

    This could be a good idea if they were passing on the data to mobile carriers to find “no signal areas” crappy in the UK if your on the 3 network, but hey follow me… not a whole lot going on lol

  • chico

    I’m completely against this.
    It sucks to say but if apple keep doing this on the new iOS I’ll be trying other mobile.

    I know it sounds stupid but I do believe in most conspiracy theories so I prefer not to be tracked.

    Cheers

  • JoBerlin

    I’m not sure what I clicked there for the first time. Is there a way to see this info and be sure that I opted out?

    • JoBerlin

      Found it: Open iTunes’ Settings click on the advanced tab. Click the button labelled “Reset warnings”.
      When connecting your iPhone the next time you’ll see the dialog.
      Problem solved!

  • BossWaw

    okkee, up to u guyz,, but i wana mean,,
    fo wat?!! fo what reaZon!! i ddnt see any reasonable reason to link my iDevice on this unnecesary tweak!! (am i right?) hash!!

    i mean,just use common sence men!!
    wana hide fo wat?!! fo wat porpose?!!
    think of it!! brain-fish!!!

    • Pedant

      This is how they can provide location services on devices without GPS.

      Google does exactly the same thing, collecting wifi+(x,y) information from GPS enabled phones and storing them in a huge database which it can then query from non-GPS phones.

  • Ras

    Illuminati guys.starting of the new world order.fuck apple

  • QuarterSwede

    It sends anonymous location information twice a day. It’s anonymous. Big whoop.

  • babeh

    i think there a lot of president, spies and terrorist, ninja also cheating couples will throw away their iphone, hahaha

  • Justin

    ‘Twas Billy, and the Shyguy Clones
    Did Grax and Grumple in the Kraid;
    All Lizzie were the Hanger Zones,
    And Phanto Renegade.

  • james016

    I ticked Disagree to that box in the article.

  • justpassingthru

    Comeon, let’s get real. We all knew this when we first activated our phones. Could be helpful if I get lost or something. Isn’t that the real idea behind cellphones, to be always findable ?

  • Too much paranoia these days I blame it on the high THC content.

  • Way too much paranoia these days I blame it on the high THC content.

    • jp

      Your and ignorant fool just asking to have his identity stolen. Sent my your location file and I’ll determine where you live & work. When your at those locations and the best time to empty your house of your most prized items. I want to decide if I want apple or anybody else to know my location information not apple or some crook who hacked my computer or phone.

      • jp

        *You’re

  • Chris

    Sounds like many of you are not attorneys. Take it from one…to allow ANY entity to unbeknownst track your location not only is an invasion of privacy, but if public acceptance is the norm, opens the door for MANY entities to do it legally through public acceptance…which will eventually set precedent cases and law.

  • RENEE

    I LOVE APPLE FOR MY TEENAGERS AND IF SOMEONE IS A CAR ACCIDENT OR DONT SHOW UP ITS A GREAT TOOL AND IF YOU READ WHEN YOU SET YOUR PHONE UP YOU SHOULD KNOW ALL ABOUT THIS IT IS LIKE PEOPLE LOOKING FOR A WAY TO MAKE MONEY IF YOU CANT READ THE SET UP OF THE PHONE THATS YOUR FAULT IT HAS A BOOK AND ALSO ON THE SCREEN UNDERSET UP I COULD CARE LESS IF YOU ARE WERE YOU ARE SUPPOSE TO BE KNOW ONE WOULD CARE AND IF YOU DO GET ANOTHER PHONE BUT NOW ALL PHONES EVEN THE SAMSUNG HAS THIS SO NEXT WE WILL BE HEARING ABOUT IT YOU AGREE OR NOT WHEN YOU SET YOUR PHONE UP WE HAVE 4 AND EVERYONE OF THEM GIVE US A OPTION AND ALSO THAT GPS IN YOUR CAR WILL TRACK YOU TO FYI SO GO GET ALL THE GPS SYSTEMS AND IT DONT GIVE YOU A YES OR NO IT DOES IT GARMIN AND SO ON SO MANY DEVICES TRACK YOU KNOW AND YOU DONT KNOW IT

  • RENEE

    Too much paranoia these days