Turned off this iPhone data-sharing setting? Apple is still collecting it, says lawsuit...

iPhone Home Screen
(Image credit: Future)

Apple has been slapped with a second class-action privacy lawsuit over claims that one of its iPhone privacy settings doesn't actually work.

The lawsuit alleges that the iPhone Analytics privacy setting, which claims to prevent Apple from collecting usage data, doesn't do that at all. It's said that Apple continues to collect data even after the setting has been disabled.

Apple was already the subject of a class-action suit relating to the privacy setting after one was filed in California last year. Now, a new one has another to deal with — this time filed in Pennsylvania.

Privacy matters

This latest lawsuit, reported by Gizmodo (opens in new tab), alleges that Apple's ineffective setting equates to "systematic violations of state wiretapping, privacy, and consumer fraud laws.” The lawsuit goes on to say that "quite simply, Apple unlawfully records and uses consumers’ personal information and activity on its consumer mobile devices and applications (‘apps’), even after consumers explicitly indicate through Apple’s mobile device settings that they do not want their data and information shared.”

The iPhone Analytics setting claims to disable all sharing of device analytics, but research by Mysk shows that not to be the case.

Further, it's claimed that while Apple says that any device analytics data isn't personally identifiable, the data appears to be transmitted with an ID number that is tied to individual iCloud accounts — accounts that include information like a user's name, address, and contact details.

All of this, if true, is particularly embarrassing for Apple, a company that continues to advertise its iPhones as the best option for privacy-focused users who want to control who has access to their data. Apple is also yet to comment on whether the iPhone Analytics feature is behaving as intended, or not, and we've reached out to the Cupertino company for comment. 

Apple often touts privacy and security as one of the best iPhone features of all, but this and other class-action lawsuits don't help its case — not does the radio silence, for that matter. 

Oliver Haslam
Contributor

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too.

Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.