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iPhone 11 Pro Found Collecting Location Even When Told Not To, Apple Says 'Expected Behaviour'

A security researcher claims it is not possible to turn off location-based system services for certain services when using the iPhone 11 Pro.

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iPhone 11 Pro Found Collecting Location Even When Told Not To, Apple Says 'Expected Behaviour'

iPhone 11 Pro seeks GPS data even when an app's Location Services switch is set to "never" request

Highlights
  • When questioned about this issue, Apple said the behaviour was expected
  • Location icon appears in status bar when Location is enabled: Apple
  • The icon appears for system services, said Apple

Apple's iPhone 11 Pro has been found to continuously collecting and transmitting its users location data even when the user has blocked it from doing so. Security journalist Brian Krebs wrote about this on his blog recently, with an accompanying video revealing that the new iPhone continues to collect GPS data for certain apps and system services despite manual disablement of individual Location Services in iPhone Settings.

iPhone 11 Pro seeks GPS data even when an app's Location Services switch is set to "never" request said information.

Krebs thinks it might be the result of new hardware brought in to support Wi-Fi 6, but he couldn't confirm this was the case.

Apple's privacy policy for the iPhone's Locations Services says the iPhone "will periodically send the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers (where supported by a device) in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting this crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations."

Krebs claims it is not possible to turn off location-based system services for certain services when using the iPhone 11 Pro.

"Apparently there are some system services on this model (and possibly other iPhone 11 models) which request location data and cannot be disabled by users without completely turning off location services, as the arrow icon still appears periodically even after individually disabling all system services that use location," Kreb wrote.

When questioned about this issue, Apple said the behaviour was expected.

"We do not see any actual security implications, it is expected behaviour that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings," an Apple engineer said.

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Further reading: Apple, iPhone 11 Pro
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