Is Apple Tracking Your iPhone Whereabouts?

Apple Inc. recently denied that it is tracking its iPhone customers’ movements when concerns over the logging of location data on the iPhone and iPad happened and made iPhone users worried.

In an issued statement, the company said that Apple is not tracking the location of iPhone users and has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.

“The iPhone is not logging your location,” the statement went. “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 one hundred miles away from your iPhone.”

However, some of that location information is stored on each iPhone, and is backed up in iTunes, meaning that it would be possible for someone with access to a person’s computer to retrieve information about their movements.

Concerns about tracking began earlier this month when two computer programmers presented research showing the iPhone was logging locations. Privacy advocates have sharply criticized Apple, while the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Sen. Al Franken have asked the company to explain its policy.

Apple claims that the database that is being used helps iPhone users rapidly and accurately calculates its location when requested. Calculating a phone’s location using GPS satellite data can take several minutes. With the database, iPhone reduces this calculation by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data that is generated by 10 million iPhones that are sending the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. Apple assures its iPhone users that the process of sending information remains anonymous and encrypted.

Instead, Apple said that it will provide a software update that stores less information about iPhone whereabouts in response to public complaints over privacy issues. Apple says that the software update would cut the size of the wireless hotspot location database stored on its iPhones, and stop backing up that information. It said that the software will be released in the next few weeks.