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Monday, May 9, 2011

No More ‘Locationgate’ After iOS 4.3.3 Update.

It’s been the talk of the town, the location tracking issue and the backlash on Apple Inc. As we told you earlier that the new version of iOS firmware 4.3.3has fixed the locationgate issue, there was always a need to re-confirm and inspect Apple’s claims. Our technology comrades at PCMag have done the scrutiny and found out that the locationgate issue has really been fixed.
According to Apple’s claims the gigantic log file formed by iDevices holding a database of locations was nothing but a bug. So PCMag went the detective way, using a couple of tech-savvy methods which are discussed below.
Firstly, they went for the popular iPhoneTracker app.
When we tested this a few weeks ago, the results were clear: while rogue location points peppered the map, for the most part, results appeared surprisingly accurate, showing that the iPhone tracked us to and from work and followed us on vacation. This time, however, there was nothing. Neither of the iPhones we tested showed any evidence of location data being collected and stored in the backup files.
PCMag team also scrutinized the stuff the manual way by searching out for the log files themselves. What they ended up fining out is quite interesting: The log files that were close to 380KB in size were now just 24KB – totally in line with Apple’s claims that the last version of iOS was logging too much data and iOS 4.3.3 is devoid of any unnecessary tracking. And yes, the rest of the data that was there in the 24KB file, wasn’t related to tracking.
But what if Apple came up with a more white-collar strategy to track users? PCMag went deeper to dig that out by bringing in use, iOS forensic app, Lantern.
While Lantern did an outstanding job retrieving everything from voicemails to text messages from the devices, post-iOS 4.3.3, it found no location-based information on either phone, with or without Location Services enabled. This leads us to conclude that iOS 4.3.3 has either hidden, encrypted, or moved location-based information in such a way that it is either invisible to even dedicated forensics software or, more likely, that it is no longer tracking that information.
So you got it now. Seems all are safe for now. The location tracking issue has really been fixed after the iOS 4.3.3 release. We’ll keep you posted for any update.


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