iOS 4.3.3 update will address location tracking issue within 2 weeks

Mon, May 2, 2011


Apple last week officially addressed the controversy surrounding the consolidate.db file found in iOS 4. As noted by Apple’s official press release, the data compiled by Apple was not user location data, but rather information regarding Cell Phone towers and wi-fi hotspots to speed along the process of determining a user’s location at any given time.

Now, Apple did concede that their implementation was buggy. Notably, the consolidate.db file logged location coordinates for months on end instead of refreshing and deleting old entries. Also, the consolidate.db file continued to track location information even if a user turned off Location Services. Apple, and subsequently Steve Jobs, promised to fix these bugs in an upcoming iOS update.

Now, BGR has obtained an early build of iOS 4.3.3, an iOS update that addresses the aforementioned location tracking bugs. BGR relays that an official update will most likely be issued in two weeks, if not sooner.

BGR hadn’t yet updated their iOS devices with the update, but they’re typically reliable Apple source noted that it would address the following issues.

  • The update will no longer back up the location database to iTunes.
  • The size of the location database will be reduced.
  • The location database will be deleted entirely when Location Services are turned off.
  • Battery life improvements.
  • iPod bug fixes.

One issue not addressed by the upcoming iOS 4.3.3 build is encryption of the consolidated.db file. Indeed, one of the primary concerns levied when the issue was in full force was the fact that the file was completely unencrypted and accessible to anyone who was able to get their hands on a particular iOS device. Steve Jobs along with Scott Forstall and Phil Schiller explained in a phone interview last week that Apple will begin encrypting the file when they release iOS 5 sometime this fall.

The location tracking scandal, not too surprisingly, turned out to be a whole lot of fluff as pundits and politicians were quick to point the finger at Apple without being abreast of all the facts. The issue even prompted a frivolous lawsuit to be filed against Apple. No doubt, it will probably be dismissed on summary judgment.



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