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A couple of ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from tracking you

Posted: , by Nick T.

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A couple of ways to stop your iPhone and iPad from tracking you
Only moments after we discovered how iPhones and iPads were secretly tracking your every step, ways to prevent the disturbing iOS “feature” from operating started popping up on the internet. Sure, logging positional data on your smartphone is not necessarily cause for an alarm, as long as your dossier is immaculate, but we are absolutely convinced there are people simply too paranoid to live with the fear that Big Brother is constantly looking over their shoulder.

Even though a way of completely disabling the logging feature has not been found yet, wiping out the logs themselves is already possible thanks to a little app named untrackerd. The only catch is that it requires a jailbroken iPhone in order to run. Once loaded, untrackerd remains hidden in the background and deletes any positional information that may get stored on the device without your approval.

However, there is a way of being 100% sure your privacy is protected – a last resort, brute force solution that totally cuts off your iDevice from any wireless network. It is called the Standard Black Hole Faraday Bag, and any wireless device placed inside it – a cellphone, tablet, even a pocket FM radio, will be unable to send or receive any radio signals. Unfortunately, that makes any cellphone inside it pretty much unable to make or receive calls until you finally decide to take it out, but hey, it is the price that absolute privacy comes at. Oh, and did we mention that it costs 80 bucks?

If you can think of better ways of stopping iOS from logging your footsteps, feel free to share them with us in the comments below. Or maybe people that truly value their privacy should resort to a different brand instead?

source: 9to5 Mac, Faraday-Bags via TUAW & SlashGear

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posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:34 3

1. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3866; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Wow so you need to jailbreak your iPhone so Apple can't track you or use Standard Black Hole Faraday Bag which makes your phone totally useless. I am so glad I have Android. This is going to be a nightmare for so many people. Apple just needs to come clean & say sorry because this is just not right. That map they have there is scary. In the right hands or wrong hands someone can get hurt or even worse. I don't get the arrogance of Apple not even thinking of its customers well being. Again Apple....... just in it for the money, who cares about the people!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:46 10

4. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Google is the undisputed king of deep data mining. How do you think they make their money? Ad impressions? Hahahahaha! A company with virtually no material product, whose stock trades at over $500/share, with a market cap of $170B has the next most valuable commodity: information.

You think Android doesn't do the same thing, I'd like to sell you some beach-front property in North Dakota.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:00 5

7. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


Not that I want to get into this.... but Google is polite enough to tell you they are spying on you.... how many knew apple did that? now with that same argument yeah apple makes tangible products now... why they need to do this?

also Google allows you not to give them your location info.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:06 5

10. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3866; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Data mining, every company does it. Your local grocery store does it. To pin pointing your location so that anyone that has access to your iPhone or PC can get your location history is a totally different thing. If you read the post from before anyone can get this info. They can see your patterns and be there waiting for you or anyone. So your point is a little weak. You are comparing Apples (no pun intended) to Oranges. They are 2 different beasts. My Android gives me a choice, it clearly says do you want us to track yes or no. Apple doesn't even ask. Apple has no respect for you. They only want your money. They don't care for your well being! Are you too blind or brainwashed to see this. Are you really going to defend Apple on this. Really?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:46 2

20. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


I'm not defending Apple, I'm simply pointing out that aside from the third-party or GPS data on an Android OS device (or RIM, or whatever), a record is kept of what system the device registers on. If not GPS data then SID data.

From a marketing standpoint, it's simply a way to gather user data. How that information is used is another argument.

You stated you were "...so glad I have Android" as if location data weren't gathered regardless of GPS, or third party app use. Throw in carrier bloatware, manufacturer overlays, OS fragmentation, and I'll argue your location data is more prone to malicious intent than a hidden file on iOS which uses data to ensure geo-tagging, or use by MobileMe as well as other applications.

All of these OS-es use and gather data like this. Apple is not so stupid as to state that it doesn't gather data without notice to the user. It may be fine print, but they're hardly doing it without permission per se...

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 12:03 3

22. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3866; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Gawain you say "Apple is not so stupid as to state that it doesn't gather data without notice to the user. It may be fine print, but they're hardly doing it without permission per se..." If you notice you say "may". That is the difference. Google is upfront, Apple is not. Now you see what I am saying. Apple needs to be forth coming, not fine print or whatever it is you are saying. My wife is disturbed by this. Nowhere is it upfront that this is happening. We know she has had the 1st iPhone to come out & all the others since. That is all I am saying. With Android I can clearly opt out. Simple as that. Apple just can't say the same. Another reason why Apple controls while Google puts it in the customer hand!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:18 1

27. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


I may not be conveying what I mean correctly. What I am saying is this: The hardware of your device, regardless of OS, regardless of manufacturer, gathers, and retains data at a minimum to include some portion of call activity, SIDs registered (including triangulated location if GPS is not being used).

What appears to be getting everyone's nickers in a twist is that with the iOS version, it apparently tracks data at a surprisingly granular level.

If you got pulled over in Michigan and cop hooked up one of their fancy Cellebrite forensic devices to your Android device, you think they aren't going to be able to see where you've been? Who you've called? Regardless of whether or not you "opted out"? Seriously, this beach front property in North Dakota is going to sell like hotcakes...get in while you can. ;-P

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:56 2

31. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


*groan* ...after reading what I wrote, I still didn't write what I wanted to...

Even if you're opting out of passing data, the OS is still gathering it. See the rest about how "forensic" data can still be retrieved, even if you delete information off your phone.

It's just like the computer on your desk.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:57 1

32. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3866; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


Yes the point is understood. Google has respect and at least asks you. Apple has no respect they just shove it down your throat. You get me now. If you have a phone yes you "CAN" be tracked. Apple iPhone is not a "CAN" it's a "WILL BE" tracked. Get the point! At least nobody can go on my PC to get the history location as they can from iTunes. It's not hard to see what I am saying!

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 09:43 1

65. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


It appears even I was giving Google more credit than it deserved...

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703983704576277101723453610.html?mod=WSJ_hp_MIDDLETopS tories

Don't choke, it is what it is...

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:07

25. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Every time we use an app with our iphones that uses a tracking feature, we are always asked, "do you allow us to use your location?". So yes, the user does have the option to say yes or no. Also, in settings, you can easily turn off "location services" if you don't want any apps with tracking features to locate you. So again, there is an option for the user if they want to be tracked or not.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:51

29. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


thats the issue.... its not working it will log even if its off thats what I've head... you can test it if you have a jail broken iPhone, turn the service off and see if it tracks you anyways.... I would ask my friend to hepl out with this but He is out of town and i canr reach him

also phonearena... you have a jailbroken iPhone please do some test and give us some feedback on what you found... it would help clear this a lot

thanks in advantage

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:05

33. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


It was never mentioned anywhere that it logs your location even when it's turned off. It was mentioned that it is DEFAULTED to "on". Apple has not released a statement yet on this matter.

The tracking features can be turned off in settings simply by turning "location services" off. You can even pick and choose which tracking apps to turn on or off.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:52

30. Jaroniemo (Posts: 11; Member since: 21 Apr 2011)


So your saying that by agreeing for your GPS service to track your location while you use it, then you are also at that same time giving Apple permission to track you even after you close that application?

I don't have an iPhone, but it sounds like that option you have is only for applications that have the abillity to track, and not Apple and their OS specifically.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:14

35. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


I can turn location services on or off whenever I want to on my iphone. But it's a hassle for me, so I always have it on.

Under location services in settings on an iphone. It will show you a list of apps that have tracking capabilities. Each app you can either set to on or off, or, you can turn all of them on or off by turning location services off, vice versa.

I guess the issue here is, Apple has DEFAULTED location services to "on". So unless, you didn't bother with it when you first purchased your iphone, location services have been tracking you since day 1 when your purchased your iphone. That's the issue.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 16:10 2

41. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Gemini, you need to do some research. I can't remember if it was mentioned here on Phonearena, but it was definitely mentioned on CNN that the software runs off of tower triangulation and CANNOT BE DISABLED BY SHUTTING OFF LOCATION SERVICES.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 18:00

45. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


If what you say is true, then why are they singling out Apple? How can the others turn off their location services then if you say that it cannot be turned off?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 19:59 1

54. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Seriously, Gemini? How do you not get this? Okay, let's break it down. Other devices only track your current location if you're using certain features, and Android devices allow you to disable the location service, or pick only certain ones.

This thing from Apple is new; it's software not related to normal location services and which cannot be disabled. It logs your location with timestamps in an unencrypted file folder. It is unlike anything seen before on any device, so it's a useless question to ask why other phones give you the choice to disable software that they don't have.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 21:57

60. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


The concern is the log not being deleted. Not about the tracking feature whether it can be turned on or off. You're making it seem like Apple has a location service unique to idevices alone, that Apple actually invented?

Don't make assumptions that might embarrass you later when Apple releases their statement on this matter.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 23:22

63. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


You mean like Antennagate?

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:00

68. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Yes, like antennagate. Glad you're catching on :)

Turns out all phones have antennagate.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:34

72. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


Except most phones have antennagate in spots you normally don't touch with your hands, whereas the iPhone 4's antennagate is in exactly the right spot to rest your pinky. :P

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 17:59

89. agent7 (Posts: 19; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)


Seriously? Embarrass? I think that is very unlikely. You sound like a complete idiot right now and literally made me Laugh Out Loud when I read that.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:25

74. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


See? I told you not to make assumptions. Android devices are doing it as well :)

http://www.bgr.com/2011/04/22/android-gathering-location-data-too-researcher-develops-harvesting-too l/

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 15:12 1

86. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


One Android device seems to have it, but knowing HTC phones I'm not surprised. HTC comes default with a weather widget which tries to match your current location. Key differences: the information is encrypted and hidden unless you gain root and command line access, and the phone doesn't store all of your information ever, just most recent info
.

READ AN ARTICLE BEFORE YOU TELL SOMEONE THAT IT PROVES YOU COMPLETELY RIGHT.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 21:40

59. ogre150 (Posts: 22; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)


You're talking about an App having to ask for permission. The problem is that Apple itself is doing this and not giving you a choice. The Apps run on IOS, Apple makes IOS, IOS is keeping track of you without your permission.

That's what is wrong with this. Android has an option to turn it on or off. It even asks if you're sure you want to turn it on.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 22:01

61. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Are you one of Apple's programmers that you can speak on their behalf? Nothing wrong with speculating, but don't make your speculations to be facts. The iPhone does have the iPhone to turn location services on and off. My guess is, every time an iPhone user uses a location service app, it saves the history into a cache, and there's either a bug that prevents the log to get cleared or, Apple overlooked it.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 22:18

62. ogre150 (Posts: 22; Member since: 16 Apr 2010)


But it is a fact. The iPhone keeps this data and even backs it up on iTunes. This has nothing to do with a mistake or with letting an App use location services. They have it set up to do this.

It doesn't "accidentally" keep this info then "accidentally" back it up on iTunes. I mean it's been happening since last June. Take off the blinders.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:23

71. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


I am not denying the fact that the history is maintained in a cache when it should be deleted. But history being kept and being able to turn location services off are two different things. Once you turn location services off, apps that uses that feature can no longer track you. There's no details whether it's the maps app only, or the iphone itself working as a homing device that constantly tracks your every step, or location services switch does not work at all, or whatever. All they have is, the history is kept and not deleted, that is all they have. And so far, no user has complained. Neither was there any news that someone hacked into anyone's data.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 13:34

78. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Turns out that android devices track your location as well without your permission. And you were saying that with android devices you have the option. Well, you don't. Here's the link.

http://www.bgr.com/2011/04/22/android-gathering-location-data-too-researcher-develops-harvesting-too l/

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:07 3

11. tmelton (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Apr 2011)


EXACTLY!!!!!! and I have an android

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:07 4

12. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


wow.. ibot idiots alert.

google asks your permission for everything. before you even log in it asks if it can track for advertising purposes. Before you open many programs for the first time, it alerts you to options for data tracking, and it always gives you an opt-out.

apple is not giving an opt out and is definatly not letting its users know that its tracking them. I wonder how long apple has been doing this? Since the original iphone maybe?

How many ibots are happy about this? Anyone pissed? Anyone switching phones at first opportunity?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 12:50

23. John (unregistered)


Once again, PA doing all it can through the subtle wording of their articles to make excuses for apple. Face it, Jobs and the rest of the gang at apple new about this little tracking log and SAID NOTHING! Which is absolutely HUGE in my opinion. First you trick your customers in to thinking they need this outdated device and then you put a tracking bug in it. Whether or not someone has or could get access to this, the programmers knew about it and so did Jobs and again, they said NOTHING!!!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:37 1

2. skymitch89 (Posts: 1044; Member since: 05 Nov 2010)


Just another downfall of Apple. I know that there has been apps that have done this on Android, but they are working on getting those out of the market. I'm now sure what part of iOS does this, but I'm sure Google will capitalize on it and put Apple down.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:43 6

3. fatexo (Posts: 75; Member since: 21 May 2010)


Best way to stop your iCrap from tracking you..?? Dump it and buy a way better Android..

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:10

15. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)


Has anyone confirmed that Android isn't doing the same thing? If so, cool. But now that Apple is in the spotlight over this somebody is looking into Android I'm sure.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:17

26. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


well android ask you if you want to share your information with Google before you get to use anything, also the information is encrypted and stored (mostly on Google secure server ) so next time you buy an android phone if you opted to use that they will restore your stuff back to your knew phone (witch I can tell you is quite nice touch) but you must accept they are collecting

what things are well known to ask for your info

-Google integrated voice service: allows you to search for a place or call a number without having them as your contact by just saying 'Nearest Pizza Hut ' for example, new updates help the thing recognize your voice more and more by keeping record of how your voice sound (the way you talk) to make it more accurate (again feature comes disabled by default and Google will ask if you want them to do so

-Google stock Gingerbread: keyboard keeps track of your most common words an get them first to make your typing easy(also disabled by default)

-apps backup will keep track of your installed apps and info so i can recommend apps for you and when you want a new phone your old apps will be downloaded to your knew phone or tab (again needs permission)

Google uses some of that info to offer the user most relevant adds that are things you may be more likely to acquire (apps, games, merchandise) thats how I found about drop box witch I like so far and gonna buy

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:49

5. De (unregistered)


Simply way to stop it to not buy these expensive devices from a company hellbent on controlling,monitoring and sueing!

Think is most fanboys are in a mindless controlled state and will happily by the iphone 5 even if it displayed a message saying 'all your data is now being sent to apple to moniter'

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 10:59 2

6. andro (unregistered)


So apple is fanboys photos secretly during facetime,tracking their every move and location continually.......are they monitoring fanboys texts and calls......probably.

But its all good coz those in control 'love' their fanboys

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:02

8. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


I thought it was Google that wanted world domination by 2035 :(

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:05 2

9. cellgeek82 (Posts: 518; Member since: 20 Dec 2009)


This is stupid, that people cry over this, and yet millions freely post what they're doing and where they are at all times on the anti-social network, Facebook. Can't have two standards people. I like to know about my privacy too but most people on social networks freely give out too much personal info. Just sayin'.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:16 3

16. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 3866; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)


I don't have a Facebook for that very reason. If I want to share with you anything, I will text, call or email. I don't want my stuff out there. I don't want a company to track me without my permission. This is not right. Apple iSheep will defend Apple even as Apple is violating them. I mean if you don't care about privacy then that is your prerogative, but for the people who care this is a pure baby powdered pimp slap in the face. Apple is like I own you to them. That is not right. A couple of weeks ago Apple iPhones were mysteriously snapping photos as per a post on this site. Is this all a coincidence? Something to think about.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:09 3

13. tmelton (Posts: 2; Member since: 21 Apr 2011)


Its so funny how people are so upset with apple when google and your own government are tracking you. Stop trying to throw apple under the bus. If you hate apple so much stop talking about them

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:09 3

14. remixfa (Posts: 13902; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


cell geek. there is a large difference

YOU control the info about the life you want to give on facebook

You DONT control the info apple steals about your life for whatever purpose it chooses.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:37

73. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Hmmmm, there was no mention of Apple deliberately stealing data and using it for any purpose.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:20 2

17. ben (unregistered)


What else is Apple stealing without fanboys knowledge?? Their cash every year for each 'upgrade' is a given but what else will come to light?

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:25 1

18. andro (unregistered)


Looks like this is about to get more serious,Senators getting involved now and as you can see in the points in the article below they are very real and valid.

Fanboys are too under control and too stupid to complain about their everystep being monitored and photo secretly taken but they really can't keep defending their apple gods

http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2383908,00.asp

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:32

19. kev (unregistered)


http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/senator-al-franken-apples-steve-jobs-iphone-tracking/story

apple in trouble for trying to control and track their drone fans

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 11:52

21. Gawain (Posts: 350; Member since: 15 Apr 2010)


Well, if Al Franken is on the case, then everything will be okay... ugh...

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:01 5

24. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Come on. Seriously? Like Apple really wants to know my whereabouts. How can Apple make its gps feature work if you do not let them track your device? How can you do geo-tagging if you do not allow Apple to use your location? How can I make my facebook feature "places" work if I won't let Apple track me? How can my neighbors locate their missing children (hopefully not) through their iphones if they don't let Apple track them?

Knowing where you went out last night does not interest Apple at all. It's how you can make that feature useful for you.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 13:38

28. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


dunno why the gave you thumbs down there... but lemme see if I can explain it (correct me if I'm wrong) when you use Geo-tagging, Facebook, and other apps those apps request GPS use from the system and start getting your location, the app does not know where you are or keep track of you until it start getting your location when you start using a location based app, but the iPhone itself will log your info even if you use to make calls only and its not asking if you want to take advantage of the 'Features' plus its longing it on a way thats easy to retrieve (see issue with Skype app for android where it seemed they forgot to add encryption to the app data so it couldn't be used by others).... now you add that and the random taking pictures iPhone and you have gasoline for conspiracy believers.

Now I hope Apple talks about this matter and answers the questions, that way we wont see things under this mist

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:22 1

36. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


As far as I know, every time I download an app with a tracking feature on my iphone, a message does pop up asking me if I want this app to use my current location. I ALWAYS choose no, unless it's an app that would make sense for me to turn location services on at all times. It is not Apple's fault if users immediately tap on "ok" every time they get that message.

The only fault I could point out for Apple is, they shouldn't have defaulted location services to on.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:24

37. protozeloz (Posts: 5372; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)


if thats true then its a simple issue...

I wonder how this will turn out in the end

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:31

38. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


Simple. Apple will now default location services to off, and then ignorant users will be like "how come my gps is not working?". Hahahahahahaha

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:10 4

34. Whateverman (Posts: 3189; Member since: 17 May 2009)


530gemini is soooo predictable!

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 14:44

39. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)


The bigger question here is, "how did this become an issue?".

Did a user actually get in trouble and reported it? Were users' location information actually accessed maliciously? Or, is this just a concern that some writer found out that Apple defaulted location services to on? And now that writer is very happy that his article is getting so much attention when in reality, it's a non-issue.

This tracking feature is defaulted by Apple to on, so that native apps (like maps) will work accordingly out of the box without users having to go through settings. It was never an issue with any user. Neither was there any reported issues by users. And now this. And this will totally open a can of worms, UNNECCESSARILY, just because some writer wants some attention. Ughhhh!!!

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:17

69. Kjayhawk (Posts: 286; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


Personally I don't think its a big deal, but some swedish senator did. I can see why this can be seen as super bad, but remind yourself this site is only about phones, lots of stupid info gets spread.

posted on 22 Apr 2011, 12:18

70. Kjayhawk (Posts: 286; Member since: 07 Oct 2010)


... my comment made zero sense.. sorry.

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 16:06

40. IOS5 (unregistered)


Any phone comes with GPS has tracking option

posted on 21 Apr 2011, 16:17 1

42. Sniggly (Posts: 6803; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


This has nothing to do with that option. It doesn't use location services and cannot be turned off.

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