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iPhone 11 Pro collecting location data despite user settings, says report

Apple’s latest handsets are trying to collect user location data even when expressly told not to

The Apple iPhone 11 Pro is ignoring user privacy preferences and attempting to collect location data without permission. A recently published report reveals that the new handset is randomly requesting access to user location data even if the user in question has explicitly changed their settings to prevent applications or Apple services from accessing said data.

According to the report in question, this unauthorised activity contradicts Apple’s own privacy policy, which states that iPhone owners can deactivate ALL location services via a single option in the settings menu. Turning location services off will permanently remove the location services indicator, the small arrow that appears on the information bar at the top of the screen.

The report explains that in some instances, this “blanket ban” on location service access simply doesn’t work. Report author Brian Krebs found that even after manually preventing location service access for every installed app, the iPhone 11 Pro would still occasionally display that small indicator icon. In other words: the handset was still attempting to access user location data.

A thread on the Apple Support forum, moreover, reveals that other users have noticed the same issue.

When pressed for comment, Apple stated that it “did not see any actual security implications,” explaining that “the icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.” The implication here is very clearly that users are unable to adjust location data collection settings for some behind-the-scenes services.

The iPhone 11 Pro used to demonstrate this privacy flaw was running the latest version of iOS 13, an operating system marketed for its enhanced security and privacy features. Using the latest iOS, users are now able to toggle things like location data access for individual apps, choosing whether an app can access location data all the time, only when open or not at all.

It seems odd, then, that certain services have no such options. According to the KrebsOnSecurity report, Apple did not immediately respond when pressed for further comments.

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