Last month the whole world went a little mad when it was revealed that Apple was secretly tracking all iPhone and iPad users without their knowledge.
Of course it turned out that Apple wasn’t really tracking everyone and trying to take over the world. And everyone who ticked the box on the Terms of Service of iTunes had effectively permitted Apple to store some location data for use in, of all things, location-based services. Today Apple has pushed out the iOS 4.3.3 update to fix a couple of bugs it admitted were in the software following the revelations. The stored information is not of the location of the iPhone or iPad themselves but of cell towers and WiFi hotspots near the devices. Previously, up to a year’s worth of data was stored in the file but with this update the amount of data will be cut to a week.
Another issue which was raised by the research was that the unencrypted file was automatically synced with your computer when you connected your iPhone or iPad. The update means this will no longer happen and Apple has said in a forthcoming update it will encrypt the file on the mobile device to make it more secure. The update applies to the iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and the 3rd and 4th iterations of the iPod Touch. However the iPhone 3G will not receive the update and Apple has not said what will happen for those users. The update is as usual a whopping 666.2MB in size and you just need to connect to iTunes to get the update.
In additional iOS news reports today in 9to5mac suggest that the iOS 5 update may be pushed out over-the-air (OTA) rather than only through iTunes. The report quotes various sources from Verizon in the States that this OTA update will be coming this autumn and while the sources talk only of Verizon, surely this innovation won’t be limited to one carrier. However given the massive size of iOS updates, we’re not sure how many carriers would be relishing the prospect of pushing an update of over half a gig per customer.