Apple applied for a patent to collect the location history of iPhone users in 2009

May 04, 2011 by Katie Gatto weblog

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apple has recently published a patent application, which indicates the company may have plans to collect the location history of iPhone users. Right now, it is not clear if this is related to the recent discovery that iPhones and iPads are able to store historical location information.

The research shows that both iPhones and iPads regularly collect location information and then store the data in an unencrypted file on the devices. This was exposed by researchers from O'Reilly. Currently, Apple has not made comment on the reason behind the storage of this information on the device, but they have said that this is not a security flaw. The discovery has aroused the concern of lawmakers, who question why the data is being collected without the end users permission.

The , which was filed by an Apple engineer named Ronald Huang in 2009, was published in March of 2011. It implied that Apple has several ideas for ways to use this type of data in the future. The patent, which is titled "location histories for location aware devices", may be used in conjunction with GPS, networks and Wi-Fi access points. That data could then be used for mapping location data for users.

The patent application shows off various methods that would allow users to set preferences for collecting data, and therefore manage the size of the location information database. This would allow users to blank out certain locations or times of day when the phone should not collect . At this point, we are unsure how much control users will have over the tracking.

No word yet on when this patent may show up in future versions of the .

Explore further: Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

Related Stories

S. Korea probes Apple about tracking feature

Apr 25, 2011

South Korea's telecoms regulator said Monday it had launched an inquiry into Apple to see whether the US giant's collection of location data from its iPhone and iPad users violates privacy rules.

Apple, Google asked to testify on mobile privacy

Apr 26, 2011

US lawmakers have invited Apple and Google to attend a hearing on privacy next month following claims the iPhone and Android devices regularly track a user's location and stores the data.

Apple gets two new iPhone-related patents

Apr 20, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Apple is spending time with the patent office again, and this time it is for a double header. Apple has been rewarded not one, but two different patents, and they are both related to the iPhone.

Recommended for you

Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

10 minutes ago

Online shopping has become as volatile as stock market trading. Wild, minute-by-minute price swings on everything from clothes to TVs have made it difficult for holiday shoppers to "buy low."

'Interview' ordeal at Sony just its latest crisis

3 hours ago

How do you say "damage control" in Japanese? Sony Corp. is sealed within a hermetic cone of silence as executives try to prevent the slow motion train wreck at Sony Pictures from damaging the rest of the ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.