Apple today released an update that fixes the iPhone’s location tracking bug — just one week after it promised a fix for the problem.
The company’s quick response tells us that it’s taking the concerns around the location issue seriously. Apple initially said the update would come in the next few weeks.
The update, iOS 4.3.3, is now available for download from iTunes. For Verizon iPhone users, it will show up as iOS 4.2.8.
As we described earlier, it will stop the iPhone from backing up its location database to iTunes, and it will also reduce the size of the database on the iPhone. Apple referred to those two issues as “bugs” in its response last week.
Additionally, the update will delete the location database completely from the iPhone when Location Services are turned off — which may net you a bit more privacy but will severely slow down your iPhone’s GPS tracking.
Apple previously said that it’s not actually tracking iPhone locations, instead it’s been compiling a crowdsourced database of cell tower and WiFi hotspot locations — “some of which may be located more than one hundred miles away from your iPhone,” Apple stresses — to speed up GPS services on the iPhones. After this latest brouhaha, we can certainly expect Apple to be more careful about how it handles user data.
VB's research team is studying mobile user acquisition... Chime in here, and we’ll share the results.