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Apple outs iOS update to curb tracking data

Apple has reacted quickly to the media storm over revelations that its iDevices were tracking user movements using cellular tower data collected by iPhones and other GSM-connected devices.

The Mac maker has released an update to its iOS mobile operating system which changes the way Location Services crowd-sourced tracking data is collected, uploaded and stored in a single issue point release which brings iOS to version 4.3.3.

The update reduces the size of the cache - which for many users included tracking data related to nearby mobile phone masts over many months - and no longer backs up that data to iTunes, meaning that the information will no longer persist when a new device is paired with the media-player software, and completely deletes all traces of the offending database file from the device when Location Services are turned off.

The update is available via iTunes, is compatible with iPhones from the 3GS onwards, all iPads, third- and fourth-gen iPod Touches, and contains no other bug or security fixes.

If rumours are to believed, Apple will soon be seeding such minor point releases to iOS as Over-the-Air (OTA) downloads.