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iPhone Location Services Stays On When Turned Off

Posted by Kyle Flanigan on April 25th, 2011

Location Services is a necessary component of iOS, used to determine your location for applications like Maps and Compass. Without it, these applications would be unable to function to their best ability (for example - the blue ball telling you where you are in Maps). Third-party applications can also make use of Location Services, provided you offer your consent by tapping "OK" when a request message pops up. It can be turned "off" by tapping Settings > General > Location Services. But does it really turn off?

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that "Apple Inc.'s iPhone is collecting and storing location information even when location services are turned off" by way of nearby cellphone towers and Wi-Fi hotspots. Although the data "[doesn't] appear to be transmitted back to Apple," it opens new questions with regards to privacy and technology on Apple's flagship mobile device.

The test device was an iPhone 4 running iOS 4, the latest software released by Apple in June. "Over the span of several hours as the phone was moved [with location services off], it continued to collect location data from new places." The data comes in the form of GPS co-ordinates and time stamps, but WSJ note "the coordinates were not from the exact locations that the phone traveled, and some of them were several miles away." Apple has not yet responded for a comment.

MacRumors reports that one of its readers mailed Apple CEO Steve Jobs for clarification on the issue, to which Jobs replied: "We don't track anyone. The info circulating around is false." Technically speaking, Apple does not collect location services data, but it now appears as if the iPhone does. The data is not encrypted.

The issue has sparked controversy on both a national and international level, with Senator Al Franken writing an open letter to Steve Jobs including nine questions related to the matter. Representative Edward Markey has called for a congressional investigation. Bloomberg reports that South Korea's communications regulator has opened an investigation into whether Apple is breaking Korean law by storing the data. And France, Italy and Germany are following too.

So what does all this mean? For those who use Location Services constantly, like Google Latitude users or those travelling by way of Maps, it means little. But for those who don't use Location Services frequently, or have turned the feature off altogether, it puts into question how private the location data really is. On a computer that an iPhone has been synced on, the unencrypted file can be opened.

All eyes are on Apple now.

[WSJ, MacRumors & Bloomberg]

The Portable Podcast, Episode 47

Posted by Carter Dotson on August 24th, 2010

We will never force obsolescence on you. We love you.

On This Episode:

  • Carter and co-host Brett Nolan talk about iOS4's performance on iPhone 3G and iPod touch 2G, and if iOS 4.1 could really improve it.
  • Carter and Brett talk about Game Center, and what impact it could or could not have on the iOS gaming scene.

  • Who We Are:

  • Host: Carter Dotson
  • Guest: Brett Nolan, AppAddict.net Editor in Chief

  • Music Featured In This Episode:

  • "beatnes7 (The Portable Podcast's Theme)" by The Eternal

  • Where To Listen:

  • Click Here to Subscribe in iTunes:
  • Listen on WRGT Radio every Friday at 4pm Central
  • Listen Here: [powerpress]
  • Byline Updated To Make Use Of iPhone 4 Retina Display

    Posted by Ben Harvell on June 25th, 2010
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    Joining the swathe of apps updated for iPhone 4, Phantom Fish has enhanced its Byline newsreader app to make use of the iPhone 4’s Retina display. The app also takes advantage of multitasking in iOS4.

    Byline takes news from sites listed in your Google Reader account and makes them available on your iPhone using their RSS feeds. The app allows users to view pages without an internet connection with its offline browsing feature and syncs with your Google Reader account so that your news is always up-to-date. The app is also compatible with Twitter, Instapaper and Read It Later.

    Version 3.2 is available now on the App Store and brings high-resolution graphics for optimum viewing on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display and uses multitasking to complete syncing and caching of feeds in the background.

    Byline is available for free with advertising or at $4.99 for the advertising-free version.

    I Am T-Pain (auto)Tuned For iPhone 4

    Posted by Ben Harvell on June 25th, 2010
    + Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad

    Smule, developers of exciting and sometimes unusual music apps for iPhone, has updated the popular I Am T-Pain app for iPhone 4. The 1.5 update is free to all users and takes advantage of the video services available to developers in iOS4 and the new front-facing camera on the iPhone 4.

    If you’ve not tried the app before, I Am T-Pain is a novel tool that alters a user's voice using the popular Auto-Tune effect found in modern pop music. The new version now allows you to capture video on the front-facing camera as you sing into your iPhone to a backing track chosen from a number of T-Pain’s own songs.

    Once recorded, songs and video can be shared to the web to sit alongside the over 29 million recordings by I Am T-Pain users so far.

    If you fancy sound at least a little bit like the current chart toppers, the app works with the iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS and is available for a very reasonable $0.99

    Check out the big man himself showing off the new app features in the video below

    TomTom Updated for iOS4, Background Voice Navigation

    Posted by Jeff Scott on June 22nd, 2010

    TomTom today released version 1.4 of their iPhone application. This version adds the ability to continue to get spoken turn-by-turn navigation instructions while having other applications on your screen.

    In addition to the iOS4 compatibility updates, TomTom have added a slew of other new features. This update also allows you to continue to talk on a phone call while using the TomTom application. A likely usage scenario when you are driving in the car, getting directions to a location from TomTom, and talking to someone on your iPhone. In addition, the maps in the application have been updated and include over 1 million miles of roads in the US that competitors don't have.

    Grab the update now or download TomTom USA now.

    Navigon Shows Off New Multitasking Features In MobileNavigator App

    Posted by Ben Harvell on June 22nd, 2010
    + Universal & Apple Watch App - Designed for iPhone, iPad and Apple Watch
    Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: YOU HAVE REACHED YOUR DESTINATION :: Read Review »

    With the launch of iOS4 (the new name for the iPhone’s latest operating system), Navigon is promoting how its GPS software will make use of the iPhone’s new multitasking features that allow apps to run in the background.

    The video below sees Navigon’s head of iNavigation (great job title!), Bernd Hahn, showing how the MobileNavigator app doesn’t need to be quit when receiving a call or using other iPhone features and apps.

    Navigon’s offering is one of many apps that will be making use of the new multitasking feature in iOS4 that is set to include music apps like Pandora among others.

    iOS4 (iPhone OS 4) is Coming: New Features Galore!

    Posted by Bonnie Eisenman on June 8th, 2010

    Steve Jobs has spoken, and the fourth iteration of the iPhone OS is finally here. Except it’s no longer the “iPhone OS.” Instead it’s called, succinctly enough, iOS4.

    Naturally, iOS4 brings more than just a name change. There’s a slew of new stuff that you can do with iOS4, and we’re going to explore most of it here in this article. Hopefully by the end of it, you’ll be salivating and anxiously awaiting June 21st, iOS4’s release date.

    A word of warning before we begin: iOS4 will only work fully for the iPad, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, and third-generation iPod Touch. Second-generation iPod Touch and iPhone 3G users will still be able to use OS 4, but will not benefit from multitasking. If your device is older, sorry, but you’re out of luck; if you want the new firmware, you’ll have to upgrade. But for those of you who are eligible, the upgrade will be free, even for the iPod Touch.

    We’ve been begging for this for a long time, and finally, Apple has delivered…for some devices, at least. According to Apple, they had refrained from implementing multitasking due to concerns about reduced battery life and performance, but this system seems like an elegant solution.

    When you double-click the home button, a slider will pop up with the icons of currently running applications. From there, you’ll be able to quickly launch those applications. When not running, applications are frozen in a suspended state; though they won’t be running, they’ll be preserved.

    But while they won’t be completely active, applications can still perform certain activities in the background. Applications like Pandora can stream music; you can receive VoIP calls even when Skype or a similar app is closed. Apps can work on tasks like uploading files in the background; location data is also accessible in the background, which is useful for apps like Foursquare.

    Also, you can now receive notifications from an actual app—as it stands now, push notifications are sent from servers, so when it’s my turn in Words With Friends, their servers tell me, not the app on my iPod. Now apps can send you notifications, telling you that a task is complete, for example. And because of the way apps are frozen in their current state when you switch out of them, you can easily jump between different applications.

    Hallelujah! Finally, we can organize our apps. Drag one app icon onto another, and your iPhone will automatically create a folder. Then you can edit the folder’s name (up to 13 characters) and the apps within it from either your iPhone (drag ‘em in!) or from iTunes on your PC/Mac. So, now you can group all of your eBook apps or your puzzle games together, for example.

    We’ve been waiting for a better way to organize our apps for a long time, and folders are a welcome addition. Apple says that you can now have up to 2,160 visible apps thanks to folders—up from the 180 possible with OS 3. Gee, 148 apps seems like so long ago…

    Better Email
    iOS4 introduces a unified inbox, which will pull messages from your various accounts into a single inbox. Also, conversations will now be grouped together, or “threaded,” much like Gmail does. Yes! Additionally, you can open email attachments with compatible apps, quickly switch between inboxes, and have multiple Exchange accounts. (Currently, you’re limited to one Exchange account.)

    As an avid reader, I am personally excited by this development. iBooks for the iPhone / iPod Touch is the same gorgeous eReader app that we’ve seen on the iPad. Your purchases from the iBookstore will carry over between devices, of course, and notes and bookmarks will sync as well. Additionally, iBooks now supports PDFs, giving them a separate section within the app.

    HD Video & iMovie
    This mostly applies to iPhone 4 users. The iPhone 4 will be able to shoot HD video. Better yet, you’ll also be able to download iMovie from the App Store for $4.99 and edit that HD video straight from your iPhone. Yup, you read that right; mobile movie editing just got a lot more serious.

    This one is only for iPhone 4’s. FaceTime is a WiFi-based video-calling feature. It’s pretty neat and uses the iPhone 4’s front-facing or rear camera, allowing you to make and receive video calls using your iPhone. Unfortunately, it only works between two iPhone 4 devices right now, and only when both are on WiFi. Apple says it’s in talks with its cellular carriers to bring FaceTime to cell networks, too, but that won't be in 2010.

    Background Wallpaper
    You can now change your background wallpaper from the boring ol’ black screen, if you want. Pretty self-explanatory, no?

    Netflix & Farmville
    During Jobs’ keynote speech, we also learned of a few other apps that are coming to the iPhone. One of them is Netflix. Another is Farmville. Farewell, productivity; it was nice knowing you…

    Did Someone Say Bing?
    You can know chose your default search engine in the Settings app: Google (the default), Bing, or Yahoo.

    The End
    That covers most, though certainly not all, of the major new features in iOS4. Multitasking, improved email, iBooks, folders, video calling, Netflix streaming movies…it’s one awesome update with a lot of new stuff to digest. Happily, we’ll have all this at our disposal shortly—iOS4 hits on June 21st! Don’t forget to update!

    (Pictures taken from apple.com.)