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iPhone 11 may be leaking location data – even if you’ve blocked it

Apple’s iPhone 11 Pro handset is attempting to collect location data from users, even when they have the settings turned off, according to a noted security researcher.

According to a video posted by KrebsOnSecurity‘s Brian Krebs, the handset (and perhaps others in the iPhone 11 range) is still attempting to access the user’s location even when they have explicitly instructed every application and system services “are set never to request this data.”

In the video below (via 9to5Mac), Krebs turns off all of the settings one by one, but leaves the Location Services main setting switched on. The result, it seems, is the location icon still appearing invariably in the status bar on the iPhone.

In a response to the post, an Apple engineer called this behaviour there were no security implications for this. The icon appears because there are some Location Services that do not have an individual system setting.

However, as Krebs points out, this seems to contravene Apple’s own this appears to go against Apple’s own privacy policy which states: “You can also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off each location-based system service.”

The long and short of it is, if you want to completely ensure that your phone isn’t attempting to access your location for any reason at all, then you’ll need to ensure the main Location Services switch is toggled to off.

The unnamed Apple engineer in question wrote: “We do not see any actual security implications. It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled. The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.”

However, the company has not made additional comments in an official capacity. Is this a storm in a teacup that comes down to semantics, or do iPhone 11 users have something to be concerned about?

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