Apple is not tracking the location of your iphone
If you haven't yet enabled encrypted backups for your iPhone or iPad, now's definitely the time to start. Two security researchers have discovered a simple way to map out where you've been almost anywhere in the world—without any hacking involved. The information comes from a location cache file found within your iPhone's backups on your Mac or PC, bringing out serious privacy concerns and opening the door for a jealous spouse, thief, or even a crafty trojan to take a detailed look at your whereabouts. And it's information that no one should have access to—not even law enforcement, barring a court order.
Researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden revealed their findings on Wednesday ahead of their presentation at the Where 2.0 conference taking place in San Francisco. The two discovered that the iPhone or 3G iPad—anything with 3G data access, so no iPod touch—are logging location data to a file called consolidated.db with latitude and longitude coodinates and a timestamp. The data collection appears to be associated with the launch of iOS 4 last June, meaning that many users (us at Ars included) have nearly a year's worth of stalking data collected.
In order to drive the point home, the two developed an open source application called iPhone Tracker that lets anyone with access to your computer see where you've been. For example, my log appears to start on June 23, 2010 (one day before the launch of the iPhone 4) and shows nearly every trip I've ever taken since then and when. You can see that I seem to spend most of my time in Chicago and occasionally the suburbs, with road trips down to Indianapolis, Cincinnati, Springfield, and Wichita. I also fly to New York City and San Francisco, and I have a few dots at the Tokyo Narita airport when I traveled through there in October.