You can’t turn location services off for everything (on the iPhone 11 Pro)!
Image: Xinhua/Li Muzi via Getty Images
The new Apple iPhone 11 Pro has an interesting issue: it’s collecting mysterious location data from its users, even when it technically shouldn’t be.
Security researcher Brian Krebs of recently discovered that the iPhone 11 Pro was displaying the small arrow icon, which denotes the use of location data on iOS devices, even though he had turned off location data for all apps and system services individually.
This issue does not appear to affect any previous models of the smartphone or other devices using iOS 13.
Krebs reached out to Apple thinking it was an error. Apple support have been about this issue as if it was a bug since September.
However, Apple’s response confirmed to the security researcher that this was actually not a mistake. The location data remaining on after each individual apps location data was turned off was intentional.
“It is expected behavior that the Location Services icon appears in the status bar when Location Services is enabled,” said an an Apple engineer in a statement to KrebsOnSecurity “The icon appears for system services that do not have a switch in Settings.”
The engineer added that they did not see any security implications with the issue. They did not specify what location data services could be toggled off.
To be absolutely clear, it is possible to turn off location data for the mystery system services. If a user goes to settings and clicks the privacy tab, there’s an option to toggle off location services completely. No more mysterious data collection! However, this shuts off location data for everything.
If a user wants to shut off location data individually, as shown in the video above from Krebs, but still leave it on for a few apps of their choice, they’re out of luck. This means there are some system services that collect location data that aren’t listed in the devices’ settings.
It’s unclear if other iPhone 11 models deal with location data in this way as well.
Mashable has reached out to Apple for more information and will update this post when we hear back.