Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iOS 4.2.8 for Verizon iPhone - location data fix

Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch - location data fix

Apple has just released iOS 4.3.3 for iPhone (AT&T/GSM), iPad, and iPod touch and iOS 4.2.8 for V. This point update, as expected, changes the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache. Apple says it:

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs the cache up to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off

As always, if you're Jailbroken stay clear until it's confirmed safe and/or Jailbreak tools are updated to support it.

If you download and install it, let us know how it works for you!

[Thanks everyone!]

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

Apple releases iOS 4.3.3 for iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, iOS 4.2.8 for Verizon iPhone - location data fix


In typical Apple fashion, first they say there is no problem, then they say everybody does it, and then finally fix the problem that allegedly did not exist in the first place.

Yeah it sucks that it took them to be called out for it to be patched but kudos for turning around a fix so quickly after the fact.

They never denied anything. They made a very clear public announcement regarding the issues. Everyone, including you, has completely misunderstood the technical issues.
There was no tracking of user's locations going on, only recording data of cell tower and wifi locations nearby. There was no data transmitted back to Apple for nefarious purposes. In short, this was a false alarm; a non-issue.
Of the things they "fixed", none were really necessary.
It's nice that they limit the max size of the file now, but that just means that sometimes it will take longer to find your position now since your cache is smaller.
Backing up the cache to iTunes will save time on backups (the only positive aspect of this patch), and if you happen to have to do a restore, it will take longer for the iPhone to find your location afterwards.
Deleting the cache when turning location services off will also make it take longer to find your location when you turn it back on.
Overall, these "fixes" make the location feature worse and only serve to placate people who don't understand the technology.

Take it easy fanboy. Steve Jobs, on April 27 said "We haven’t been tracking anyone". Nevertheless, using Peter Warden's iPhone Tracker you can clearly see where your phone was for as long as you have it, therefore yes, Apple have been tracking your phone.
If it was transmitted back to Apple or not is not the issue. As Warden showed, anyone with access to an iTunes backup could access the full location data for the user, it was not encripted and was easy to find.
You say that there was no tracking, just "recording data of cell tower and wifi locations nearby". Well my friend, it seems that you have completely misunderstood the technical issue here, because tracking is exactly what this is. If you drive from NY to DC and there is a file with the location of every cell tower and wifi spot that your phone recognized, along with a time stamp, you have indeed been tracked.
You, as a good fanboy, choose to believe that everybody is wrong and only you are right. Well, it seems that even Apple disagrees with you, since they took steps to fix the problem. Remember that Apple is not the only one that might be interested on this data, and although there might be some legitimate used for it, leaving that file up for grabs gives everyone else access to your personal life.
Would you not mind if your teenage daughter's file was published on Facebook? All it would take was a friend with five minutes access to her computer.

Key phrase you seem to be overlooking is "with access to an iTunes backup". If someone has access to that file, many other, more important security issues have been breached. Apple patched it because the phone should have been clearing out the data. I don't think they patched it to "placate people", though the speed with which they patched it may have been. It was an unintended bug, not a designed hole where we've caught them with their hand in the cookie jar, and now there is a patch for it. Story is over.

Exactly!!! I'm a fanboy of all things regarding technology and its so ridiculous how much Crap apple and google get for the littest things. Now we are going to get everyone complaining that they cant get there directions fast matter what its always a loss for these companies.

The database, on my phone anyways is only 14MB. Sure it is a waste to have data older then a month or so, but it isn't like it is filling up your phone. Also, syncing will not be that much faster as it doesn't take long to sink 14MB. But then again, I don't travel much. For people that are all over the country, their file may be bigger. The thing about this database is it isn't only cell towers and hotspots that you yourself have spotted but also those that others have spotted in your area. So the database can grow fast if you travil. This fix shouldn't reduce the phones ability to locate you quickly unless you are visiting a city you haven't visited in a long time and the database has been purged for that location. But the phone will simlpy request the data for that area and then cache it again. You shouldn't have lag in that area for the rest of your trip.

Disagree, it could be incremental through OTA and cummulative on tethered, this way OTA would not be as big.

what about iphone 3G? was it affected by location data issue or not? is there an update for that?

If you are jailbroken, then ssh into your phone and do this to completely disable the location reporting. That is what I did on my unsupported iPhone 3G.
cd /var/root/Library/Caches/locationd
echo 'asdfasdf' > consolidated.db
chmod 000 consolidated.db

I think it is pretty clear we Verizon iPhone users will not be getting iOS 4.3 (although we only have room for one more update). I have to assume that we get iOS 5 to unify the line. I was an early complainer, but come to terms with it. I do want the Home Sharing and Apple TV support, but other than that, we aren't that far off.

Exactly!! Still having issues with very fast depletion of battery even though I've done EVERYTHING suggested on the user forums,i.e. Closing each app from multi-task window, etc.

Hopefully this also helps with battery. I was looking forward to better battery life after report broke of "battery improvements."

there is nothing wrong with the battery..... you should try doing a full cycle, as this will help with battery life... you buy a car and get 28mpg, your not going to ask the car company to give you an update so you can get 32mpg? so get off the whole battery issue

If you didn't notice a battery drop from 4.2 to 4.3, you're in the minority. And, in response to your noobish suggestion, yes many of us have tried a full cycle reset, restoring, etc. Go troll another site and try not to be a douche to everyone in the comments.

Yes, just like all the others. You will never see a smaller updated unless Apple changes how the phone is updated and that would be a major shift.

i downloaded 4.3.3 and now none of my apps work..i click them then they just shut off..why is that

This happened to me before. You have to delete all your apps of the iPhone and from iTunes. Then re-download all the apps from iTunes and re-sync your phone. You will not be charged again for re-purchasing. You'll get this message "you have already purchased this app would you like to download it again for free". Hope this helps.:)

Hope this update doesn't mean it takes any longer to determine location, because in that case it's not worth it :/

Whether it's really that hard, I don't know; my guess is that the GSM and CDMA versions of the iPhone are different enough to where the software has to be likewise different for now, until iOS 5 is released (whenever that'll be). In the meantime, it's 4.2.8 for the VZW iPhone 4.

I'm not upgrading, I want to be tracked, and followed. The attention makes me happy...
:::Waves at the sky, just in case someone is watching:::

A ridiculous update anyways. Apple shouldn't of had to fix this. The phones have gps on them the only way not to be trackable is to shut the phone off. And apple wasn't even tracking people. People just lime to whine cry and sue about anything and everything. Pathetic.

Oh no! You had to plug your phone into your computer just because a ton of people didn't like the fact that all their locations were being logged! What a huge amount of trouble for you!
Seriously, just because you have zero concern for your privacy doesn't mean you need to get your knickers all twisited because other people do. If this update bothers you so much, how about you just don't install it?

Dang it!!! I was about to jail break my phone but I haven't updated to precious iOS! Do I have to wait for 4.3.3 to be jailbroken till I'm able to do it?

Anybody know why the iPod Touch was included in this update? It obviously has no cell tower data, and doesn't have a GPS receiver. Was (is) there a cache of the locations it gets by wifi triangulation?

Just upgraded from iOS 4.2.x to the new 4.3.3 version. Now all my apps do not open. I Tap on any app and for a split second it seems to want to open then quits automatically.
Any suggestions would be appreciated

You have to make sure you have your apps authenticated (same apple id on itunes and on the phone) when you sync otherwise applications will not work.