After numerous reports surfaced over the past week claiming that the iPhone stores location information on a secret file in the phone, Apple has finally released an official statement denying that it tracks iPhone users.
“Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone,” the company said on Wednesday. “Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so.”
Apple explained that it doesn’t actually record the specific location of its iPhones. Instead, it estimates the phones' whereabouts based on proximity to nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers. That data is then stored on the phones so that users can access the information when needed.
Each phone also has a database of these hotspots and cell towers, which is backed up whenever the user syncs the phone to iTunes. Apple said that it will stop backing up this database.
Apple also plans to offer a free software update that will reduce the amount of data stored on the iPhone and will delete cell tower and hotspot information on the phone when location services are turned off.