The worldwide media has blasted Apple after the discovery that the iPhone stores a “secret file” that records data about the owner's whereabouts.
The finding has been damaging to Apple’s reputation, so the company has moved to calm users' fears, saying it will be making changes in an iOS software update soon that will 'fix' certain bugs relating to the unencrypted file.
Apple releseased a Q&A document on Wednesday in order to explain the reasons for the file’s existence. Apple did admit that placing the file inside the iPhone proved to be a mistake and that they are going to change it for upcoming versions of the iPhone. The company conceded that the file shouldn’t store that much information and it shouldn’t save location data subsequent the location services being disabled.
“Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date,” Apple remarked in the press relese. Apple’s explanation for the secret tracking file, was that the iPhone was collecting data on nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi access points to id customers and find their location more quickly than GPS alone.
“Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes. iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites, and even triangulate its location using just Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data when GPS is not available (such as indoors or in basements)”, Apple also mentioned.
Apple said that a software update would be arriving within weeks that; reduces the size of the crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower database cached on the iPhone, ceases backing up this cache, and deletes this cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
The company also stated that in the next major iOS software release the cache would also be encrypted on the iPhone.