October 24, 2014

Apple Releases iOS 4.3.3 to Fix Locationgate Bugs

iOS 4.3.3 has been released to fix the so-called Locationgate tracking bugs that have caused Apple so much recent controversy. This update fixes the bugs which caused iPhones to store up to a years worth of cell tower information which is then synced with iTunes.

A few weeks ago Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden released a proof-of-concept application for Mac OS X that demonstrates how the iPhone is tracking its location.

Apple responded with a press release saying that the iPhone is not logging its location. Rather, it’s maintaining a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers to help the phone rapidly and accurately calculate its location when requested. In other words a cache. They also promised a software update which is what has been released today.

The update contains changes to how iOS manages this crowd-sourced location database cache. Specifically the update:

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs up the cache to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when location services is turned off
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