Apple Explains Unauthorized Location Data Collection on iPhone 11 Pro

Yesterday (plus) a small polemic fell on Apple's lap when security researcher Brian Krebs discovered that his iPhone 11 Pro was collecting location data even after manually turning off access to this type of information. Krebs speculated that the activity might be related to Wi-Fi 6 deployment in the device, but without evidence; because now we know that is not good.

In statement to TechCrunch, Apple commented on the issue and stated that everything revolves around a specific element of the new iPhones: the U1 chip and the emission / reception of ultra wide band, as we have explored here.

Apparently, the emission of this type of wave is still not a matter of course in all countries, and the local regulations of some territories do not allow the action of the U1 chip in them. As a result, Apple is forced to regularly enable location data capture on iPhones 11 Pro (Max) precisely to make sure that the device is not in an area where the ultra-wideband is not yet regulated.

Ma notes that the management of this activation / deactivation totally done on device, and no user location data collected by Apple or sent to external servers. The company also said that in a future iOS update, adding to the system a option to turn off chip U1, so that the most fearful users will be confident that their location data is not being captured at any time.

All resolved, though, though all the hubbub could be avoided anyway if Apple had put the cards on the table more transparently, for the sake of conversation.

Image: Tokuyuki Matsubuchi | Nikkei Asian Review