April 27, 2011
Responds to the hysteria with a 10-part Q&A and the promise of a software update
“Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”
So begins Apple’s AAPL response to the controversy that has been mounting since last Wednesday when two British researchers released an open source application that let Apple’s customers see — in the form of multicolor maps — the location data stored on their iPhones and 3G iPads.
In a press release issued Wednesday, the company took pains to explain exactly what data it is and isn’t recording and transmitting back to headquarters.
“Users are confused,” it says, “partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date.”
In the spirit of providing said education, Apple says in several different ways that the maps that show where your iPhone has been are not really maps of where your iPhone has been.
The fact that this location was being saved for more than a year is described as “a bug we uncovered and plan to fix shortly.” The fact that it is being collected even when your location services are turned off is another bug they plan to fix shortly.
Meanwhile, to get ahead of possible future controversies, Apple used this opportunity to tell customers what other kinds of information it is collecting and sharing:
- road traffic information, with an eye to releasing improved traffic services in a couple years
- crash logs, which it provides to third-party developers to help them debug their apps
- your current location, which it shares, if you explicitly approve it, with iAd customers to help them target their pitches
Below: The full text of the press release.
Also on Fortune.com:
[Follow Philip Elmer-DeWitt on Twitter @philiped]