iPhones, iPads running iOS 4 are quietly recording your location data, researchers find

Alex Wagner
Editorial Director of News and Content from Omaha, NE
Published: April 20, 2011

iPhone 4 tracking data

Heads up, iPhone and iPad owners: your device is quietly tracking your location and logging your every move in a file stored inside the device as well as on your computer. The issue was discovered by two security researchers, who claim that Apple's devices have been tracking their owners' locations ever since the release of iOS 4 last year. The iDevices reportedly use cell tower triangulation to record longitude and latitude coordinates at any given time, along with a timestamp, and store it in a file called "consolidated.db" in a location that's easily accessible on the device and on the computer where your backups are stored. Apple wouldn't comment on why this file exists or whether or not the tracking can be turned off, but it appears that none of the info stored is actually sent to Apple. if you own an iPhone or 3G iPad and want to see how much it knows about where you've been, you can download this app created by the two researchers that outed the issue.

This news is definitely a little unsettling, especially since you can't opt out or avoid having your location tracked by turning off the GPS on your device. Luckily, the researchers point out that you can encrypt your iDevice's backups in iTunes, making it more difficult for anyone to access your location file should they somehow gain control of your computer.

Via Engadget, O'Reilly Radar