Apple speaks, says it doesn't track iPhone locations

Company claims it only maintains database of Wi-Fi hotspots, cell towers

It turns out that Apple is not trying to track your every move -- at least not on purpose.

Addressing the claims that its iPhones are gathering location data, the company said in a statement on April 27 that the extent of Global Positioning System information being gathered is the result of a recently uncovered.

After the fix, the company says it won't need to store more than seven days' worth of information to maintain a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers around a user's current location. This information helps the iPhone calculate locations quickly.

Related stories:

Franken sets hearing on iPhone tracking

Researchers debate iPhone tracking, as a jailbreak solution appears

"The location data that researchers are seeing on the iPhone is not the past or present location of the iPhone, but rather the locations of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers surrounding the iPhone's location, which can be more than one hundred miles away from the iPhone," the statement said.

Critics browbeat the company last week over claims that the data stored was not protected or encrypted. Apple said whether a user's backup is encrypted depends on the device's iTunes settings.

"This cache is protected but not encrypted, and is backed up in iTunes whenever you back up your phone," Apple said in the statement, adding that the iPhone cache will be encrypted in the next major iOS software release.

In the next few week's Apple will release free iOS software that will enable users to reduce the amount of location information cached on the iPhone. It also will not backup the cache and will delete it when Location Services is turned off.

About the Author

Alysha Sideman is the online content producer for Washington Technology.


  • business meeting (Monkey Business Images/

    Civic tech volunteers help states with legacy systems

    As COVID-19 exposed vulnerabilities in state and local government IT systems, the newly formed U.S. Digital Response stepped in to help. Its successes offer insight into existing barriers and the future of the civic tech movement.

  • data analytics (

    More visible data helps drive DOD decision-making

    CDOs in the Defense Department are opening up their data to take advantage of artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that help surface insights and improve decision-making.

Stay Connected