Apple Says Ultra-Wideband is Why New iPhones Access Location Data Even When Settings Are Toggled Off

Apple Says Ultra-Wideband is Why New iPhones Access Location Data Even When Settings Are Toggled Off

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Apple has revealed that ultra-wideband technology is why new iPhones access Location Data even when the all the toggles for system services are set to off.

Earlier this week, Krebs noticed that the iPhone 11 Pro appeared to be accessing a user's location even when each app and system service is set to 'never' request location information. At the time, Apple told Krebs it was 'expected behavior'.

"We do not see any actual security implications," an Apple engineer wrote in a response to KrebsOnSecurity. "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."

Krebs concluded that "It seems they are saying their phones have some system services that query your location regardless of whether one has disabled this setting individually for all apps and iOS system services."

Now that the story has received widespread attention, Apple has provided a more detailed explanation to TechCrunch.

Newer iPhones feature ultra-wideband technology that gives devices spatial awareness, helping them understand where they are or where other ultra-wideband devices are located. It's rumored that Apple will launch a new AirTags feature that makes use of this technology. Due to regulation requirements, the feature must be turned off in certain locations.

“Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations,” an Apple spokesperson told TechCrunch. “iOS uses Location Services to help determine if iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations.”

“The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data,” the spokesperson said.

Apple says that it will provide a new dedicated toggle for the feature in an update to iOS.

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Apple Says Ultra-Wideband is Why New iPhones Access Location Data Even When Settings Are Toggled OffApple Says Ultra-Wideband is Why New iPhones Access Location Data Even When Settings Are Toggled Off

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