A rather interesting revelation has appeared regarding iPhone and iPad data storage. According to a new app called iPhone Tracker, made by security researchers Alasdair Allan and Pete Warden, your iPhone and iPad tracks and stores your movements from the moment you start using it (via The Guardian). The iPhone Tracker app can access this data on your iOS device and use it to display where you have been and when you have been there.
The data is apparently stored on an iOS device in a non-encrypted file structure and uses the location of the cell towers that support a device to determine the location. The data is stored as latitude and longitude and is accompanied by a timestamp. This obviously has massive implications for privacy particularly if your device is stolen or if someone ‘borrows’ it, to gain access to the data.
It is unclear what the reasons behind the storage of this data are. The data storage was apparently inititated with the release of iOS 4 and, in a surprising twist, is migrated when you get a new device which is synced to an existing backup in iTunes. However, the researchers are quick to point out that the data does not seem to be transmitted anywhere, including to Apple itself.
It is known that cell towers and wireless providers can inherently track and store user location data via cell towers but this is the first time that it has been demonstrated that the data can be accessible via a device, rather than through the cellular provider.
Apple have not yet commented on the issue.