In a statement, Apple claimed the outcry over the iPhone’s location files was fuelled by public confusion and that it would move to fix the problems.
The Curpertino company denied it was logging iPhone owners’ location and claimed the device’s location-tracking files where used to maintain a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and mobile phone masts.
“Calculating a phone’s location using just GPS satellite data can take up to several minutes,” read the statement. “The iPhone can reduce this time to just a few seconds by using Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower data to quickly find GPS satellites.”
In the Q&A-style statement, Apple also claimed the database was anonymous and encrypted, meaning it can’t use the service to locate specific individuals.
“When I turn off Location Services, why does my iPhone sometimes continue updating its Wi-Fi and cell tower data from Apple’s crowd-sourced database? It shouldn’t. This is a bug, which we plan to fix shortly,” the statement said.
The planned update will include reducing the size of the Wi-Fi hotspot and phone mast database stored on the iPhone and wiping the database after a user switches off location services.