Steve Jobs says Apple devices do not track a person's location, but Android phones do
In a email sent by a MacRumors reader, Jobs was asked, "It’s kind of unnerving knowing that my exact location is being recorded at all times. Maybe you could shed some light on this for me before I switch to a Droid. They don’t track me." "Oh yes they do." Jobs replied. "We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false."
While Jobs statement doesn't seem to account for some location-based data that is saved on the iPhone and 3G versions of the iPad, that data is not 100% precise. On the other hand, Android is said by analyst Any location data that is sent back to Google location servers is anonymized and is not tied or traceable to a specific user," the Mountain View based company said that in theory, it is possible for a third party to grab the data and use it to identify a specific person.
We're pretty sure that we haven't heard the end of this story. There could be some more back and forth bickering and finger pointing before this all fades away.
1. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
Piece of crap. Take responsability for your actions and errors!
18. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)
Here's the thing...from everything I've read, the iPhone doesn't track you and send it out for the world to see...but it still tracks you. Steve Jobs he needs to stop being the bad PR for his company. Some of his comments, although rude, are dead on (closed nature of the iPhone, App Store, Flash) he has been dead wrong with this response as well as with the antenna. At least have some empathy or don't say anything at all. And more importantly, stop pointing the finger to Google. We all know Google tracks us, but at least they don't hide it. When has it been good practice to avoid your problem by pointing the finger at someone else? Sales 101...don't diss your competitor. If you have the stronger service and the better phone, then correct this problem and move on. Don't drag Google into this like you did with the antenna problem...
Okay...I'm done...hopefully I never have to say this about Apple or Steve Jobs again...
44. JP (unregistered)
It doesn't need to fade away. Any way of tracking anyone on there cell phone needs to fade away. Someone needs to take care of the problem for good so people do not have to worry about it. There should not even be a discussion of this happening on any phone.
24. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Well, now there is a lawsuit for Apple to contend with (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/
2011-04-25/apple-sued-over-user-location-data-storage-on-iphones-ipads.html ). I wonder how Steve will handle the inevitable deposition(s)?
The smart thing for Apple to do would be to make the location tracking able to be opted-out by the user. Will Apple implement true user-controlled opting out? I personally doubt it. At least not until they lose a few rounds on the litigation front and they are staring at a possible order to cease or stop selling iOS devices - now that would get their attention....
26. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)
If the location tracking isn't being used by Apple and simply being stored on a computer, chances are they will turn it off completely so it's not stored. As for the lawsuit, they'll probably settle out of court...
40. cheetah2k (Posts: 1075; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
How do you know that Apple isnt using the tracking data? I bet every mand and their dog including Big Brother USA feds will be using it.
Sure Apple can simply turn it off, but the fcuked up thing here is that Apple has to turn it off - we don't get a choice!!
83. Xpple (unregistered)
cheetah2k is right. government law enforcement has been using this information for some time now.
On an Android device you can
1. opt out
2. delete or clear the data whenever you wish.
If you are going to collect such data then you need an easy way for the user to control it and erase it when desired. Why would any company record such data unless they needed it for something?
39. cheetah2k (Posts: 1075; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)
I can't believe what he just said.. Clearly Jobs has lost the plot.
43. messiah (Posts: 434; Member since: 19 Feb 2010)
Is Jobs saying Android can do something apple can't? Please...
damn the iPhone4 even tracks Jobs' chemo sessions
2. remixfa (Posts: 14255; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)
so.. Mr. Jobs.. what exactly does that file that.. you know.. keeps a record of EVERY place you've been,every time, when you were there, and more track? It must be tracking all the near by blackberrys right? lol
Only an ibot idiot would take this statement as a truth.
Both apple and google track info. The difference is Google gives you a way to opt out of it, only keeps each location 1 time, only the last few locations are kept in total, and it assigns annonymous numbers to the info so it cant be traced back to you.
3. msa1988 (Posts: 417; Member since: 30 Mar 2010)
With google you can turn it off. Then there is no way they can track you.
4. justapasserby (unregistered)
i love this guy!!!
when iphone 4 first launched, iphone cannot get connected to internet, he blame too much ppl connected to Wi-Fi...
iphone 4 got antenna prb, he will come out say other phone got antenna too.....caused antenna-gate...
iphone track user's location, he comes out again blaming android...
5. queen (unregistered)
We all know he is outright lying, since the iPhone offers GPS capabilities, it most certainly does track users and their location info. It would not work otherwise. He really needs to stop acting like a child who gets caught doing something they shouldn't. People would like him more if he wasn't so pious and so arrogant. Your product is not perfect Steve, last time I checked, no one's is. Of course Google tracks the same information, but that data is encrypted, and they actually take the polite route and inform their users of this practice. Just slap a disclaimer on there and move on.
6. Brad (unregistered)
OMG. He is brain washing all the iSheet again. Oh...ok. So, Steve, i'm not being tracked? OK, if you say so. I feel better now. Thanks. All that news wa beginning to worry me. Wphew! Good thing you were able to verify that just by emailing it to us. Those silly tech people out ther don't know!!! They are just jealous of us iSheep. All HAIL STEVE! ALL HAIL STEVE! Long live the King!
7. Bulletshifttsi (Posts: 11; Member since: 22 Apr 2011)
There is so much proof to prove that Apple is Tracking your every move. There is even a article on this site talking about it with pictures to boot. I agree with everyone above me in saying that Steve Jobs is crazy / acting immature. Just admit to it and explain your self. Or don't do devious things and then you won't have to explain your self. Apple makes so much money its a redic. They should focus on good products that can keep up with the upcoming android, blackberry, and windows devices. How come this isn't illegal to keep track of our locations with out our awareness? Isn't that infringement of our freedoms?
Someone please explain to me hows this is not.
8. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
wow jobs seriously.... just telling everyone you do will be much better, why go to a company we already knew they did? why not say.... ''we had some neat plans on this and made a small mistake, we had plans on tracking how places around you evolved foe your convinicence'' why go and hit the android OS? some of of have respect for you don't turn us down
9. Sniggly (Posts: 7253; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Holy fucking shit, Jobs, are you serious? Then why on CNN do they have an explanation from your company that the data collected gets sent off to you every twelve hours to "improve your location services?" Good God, man. This is worse than your response to Applegate.
To Gemini, Taco and the rest, I'm sorry. I truly am. I would have gained respect for Jobs if he at least had acknowledged the problem and said a solution was in the works. But this is antennagate all over again. The man is literally unable to take responsibility for his actions and spits out half truths to throw a smokescreen over his lies. This has nothing to do with the quality of the phone (it's a nice phone) nor its software (nice software) but everything to do with Jobs and Apple's business practices.
14. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Maybe he is exhibiting a side-effect of his meds? Delusional behavior is a side-effect of many meds.... Just sayin. :-)
20. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4628; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
I am just so blown away by how Mr. Jobs just thinks he is on another world. There are news sources who covered this, websites and so on. The arrogance is so in your face that I kinda feel bad & sorry for all Apple customers who Mr. Jobs is blatantly not stating the truth to. All OS's track their customers BUT, Google is upfront. The ask you if that is something you would like or would not like. Apple does no such thing. I know cause my wife has, sorry had an iPhone 4. She has an Epic 4G & is patiently waiting for the Epic 2, aka Galaxy S II. She now enjoys the different abilities of the Android OS. She says that the iOS is boring & that you can do so much stuff with Android. The first thing she noticed was how Google asks if you would like to be tracked. She said that Apple never asked such a thing. So you see people are all not stupid Mr. Jobs, people are starting to see through your misleading information & are discovering Android OS! Keep on lying to your customers, it’s a great way to retain them! lol
23. SuperAndroidEvo (Posts: 4628; Member since: 15 Apr 2011)
Doesn't Steve Jobs look like Tom Hanks in the movie Philadelphia................ lol
Dude the man looks horrible! You are rich take care of yourself! :-)
50. sscorp99 (Posts: 40; Member since: 05 Feb 2011)
Why isn't this guy dead, he looks dead, someone put him in a coffin!
25. Droid_X_Doug (Posts: 5993; Member since: 22 Dec 2010)
Um, slight correction - Steve knows he is on another world. Meds have a way of making delusions into truth. Just sayin. :-)
10. eren (unregistered)
he surely act like a child...i love this statement: "We don’t track anyone. The info circulating around is false."...so i guess there is some Google Spy-App running unnoticed on iPhone and it is tracking and saving location to giant log so everyone could blame Apple....Go Go Jobs...Go and take responsibility...
11. Darth8ball (unregistered)
Steve Jobs going down the toilet fast....but not fast enough for me. LOL I'm loving watching this guy self destruct.
12. bill hicks (unregistered)
"Go back to your Macintosh, monkey boy!"
13. LXH (unregistered)
haha Jobs epic fail !
15. Matt (unregistered)
Wow, lots of people can't read.
_iPhone+ may cache location data but this is not transmitted to _Apple_. The only time they receive location data is when there is a call failure. Not a bad use of it.
But Android phones also store location data (admittedly not as much) but they also transmit "anonymised" data back to Google. Now this data may be anonymised but it contains MAC addresses which are unique in the world and obviously traceable (even by a simple query you can find the MAC address of any WiFi device).
While he's being a poor communicator, Jobs is being honest here. While too much data is being cached, Apple are not tracking you.
Both companies are doing wrong. One due to not clearing down caches but not collecting data, the other for collecting "anonymised but uniquely identifiable" data.
16. celljrod (Posts: 82; Member since: 07 Apr 2011)
Big key here........Google let's you know they do it and gives the option to opt out
19. JeffdaBeat (unregistered)
Dude, I love Apple as much as the next guy...but his response is crap. You're right, it's not sending the information off to other companies, but I'm tired of this not caring/blame it on someone else attitude...
21. Sniggly (Posts: 7253; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Bullshit. CNN got a statement from Apple that says the cache IS transmitted to Apple every 12 hours to supposedly improve their location services.
On the other hand, the info Google collects is encrypted and hidden to those who lack root access; furthermore, older data is erased. It doesn't keep your entire location history like Apple does.
22. eren (unregistered)
mate there is giant difference between logging everything without any interaction with user and logging and sending them with notification and right to opt it...
29. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
yeah as far as we know the info is not transfered to apple, now why go and say Google does it? when I buy an android phone I can allow to share info or not, Google asks me if I allow them then they will track me... now the information is cleared so far so reports people get aren't that long, now why not show some maturity and say ''yes we do it, we are sorry'' people will forgive and forget. but don't go and say ''Google does it, we don't'' because you may be proved wrong
my old man used to say
''we point with one finger at others 4 are pointing at us''
33. Sniggly (Posts: 7253; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Proto, read above: Apple itself admitted that the information gets transferred to them every 12 hours.
Jobs completely faceplanted on this one. Even his employees must all be groaning in pain.
38. Sniggly (Posts: 7253; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
Because the man is obsessed with maintaining a public image of spotlessness, and in so doing shoots himself in the foot.
64. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
The interviewer said that he's switching to android because they don't track you. So Steve had to answer the way he die because of the question.
74. protozeloz (Posts: 5387; Member since: 16 Sep 2010)
why not just warn Him? explain him so he can understand, instead he said Google is the one doing it, not them :(
84. AppleFUD (unregistered)
You clearly didn't read. . . the person was asking for the info before going to a Droid.
What Jobs did here was an attempt to distract from apple and point a finger at Android. It's BS! Take a little responsibility and be a little honest--those two seem impossible for jobs to do.
57. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
Lol. MAC addresses are not relevant in this topic. Widen first your technical knowledge before you do the talking.
58. Eingild (Posts: 203; Member since: 19 Apr 2011)
Oops! Sorry. Misplaced comment here. I'm sorry.
17. whatsnext (unregistered)
Such a credible source...wow..did you really expect an answer other than that...the sad part is the fanboy crowd will believe every word mr. Jobs says...
27. vantenkiest (Posts: 308; Member since: 20 Apr 2011)
i would like to take the time to remind everyone about this... first cell phones tracked your movements down to the inch... ROAMING FEES how does your cell know.. location trackers are there for support and for safety.. you lose your phone.. i bet your happy that you can track the phone then. also google nearby pizza.. good thing it can track the phone. wouldn't want it to be close to the factory it was made lol. if you don't want your phone tracking where you are do not use location based features AT ALL. its that simple.
Do not use it as a hot spot, net browser, gps, or any other means of navigation or research.. might as well not use it for a phone either. since it tries very hard (most devices) to stay connected to a signal and provide the strongest at all times. it uses geodata to do that too.
ALL MOBILE DEVICES have chips for anti theft. all devices can be tracked its a fact.. if you need super privacy then pull the power to these devices and then travel.
32. Whateverman (Posts: 3236; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Not really the same thing here. The GPS chips in our phones aren't really there for anti-theft. It's there emergency services, so that if you need help, your current position can be tracked to provide that service. It was just recently expanded a few years ago to allow location based services. Your carrier doesnt use the GPS feature to track roaming, they use each others towers to get that information. The operative phrase being "current location". So there is no need to for Apple to store your location for months or years.
30. Rich (unregistered)
HE SAID, SHE SAID....
31. Darth8ball (unregistered)
Steve Jobs says it the best..."picasso say's that good artists borrow and great artists steal, here at Apple we have been shameless about stealing"
34. AlexLeon (unregistered)
You Android fanboys are a hoot. Jobs got baited with an email and he does what he usually does and bites, sending droid boys into a frenzy.
All he is trying to say is Android/Google are creepier than we are. Which I agree with him on.
All this talk of ability to opt in/opt out is silly talk and you guys deep down know it. It is a red herring and as you and I know 99.9% of people always opt in anyway.
Google are in the business of offering you free OS/apps to use all their services and then tracking/mining the hell out of the you to make a buck out of advertising.
Apple are in the business of selling hardware and software to you. While Apple are becoming more Google (out of necessity more than anything, it is pretty difficult to compete with a company who gives stuff away for free) they are nowhere near there yet.
Making a huge deal of what is probably a programmer mistake of forgetting to clean up a cache file does not change the status quo.
35. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
Truth is. Both iOS and android devices track their users one way or another. But as usual, issues are exagerrated and blown up when it's the iphone.
As for Steve's answer pointing fingers to android, maybe we should also look at the offensive question that was asked to him. If he wasn't asked that question, he probably wouldn't have said anything about it at all. And of course, we only care about what Steve says.
As for android users, let's face it, no matter what Steve says, it would always be wrong and will always be taken the wrong way.
All I can say about this is. There was never a report of Apple using that log for malicious purposes. There's no report of it being sent over to any 3rd party vendors. There's no report of users who had their data used inappropriately.
It is what it is. Tracking is necessary for both ios and android devices for them to provide better services. If this gets blown up, ios will not be the only one investigated, android will as well. And who's services will be affected? ALL USERS. It will be goodbye to GPS, and other location based services apps on smartphones.
51. Whateverman (Posts: 3236; Member since: 17 May 2009)
The reason it gets so "blown up" is because your deity thinks his company makes is so perfect and any flaws are to be contributed to the user's lack of understanding. Or he simply says, "It's not just us, Motorola does it too!"
My thing is, be a man about it. You added a feature you thought would be useful, but when it was discovered you found out most people didn't like the idea of being tracked without their knowledge. Take ownership, apologize, offer an option, fix it, then move on! But the finger pointing to other companies like a little third grader is not what we expect for the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company. Android gave us this wonderful thing called a "Widget" that allows us to turn our location on and off as we please, so saying "Google does it too" is not only inaccurate, but its just plain weak! Man up Steve! Man up!
66. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
He answered the way he did because of how the question was given to him. The interviewer implied that android does not track their users. Steve is smarter than you for sure, and he wouldn't say what he said if he doesn't know something about google.
The logged data is not forwarded to Apple. It stays on your phone and your computer. Why would Apple apologize for something that they are falsely accused of? If I were you, I wouldn't be too sure in saying that google doesn't track their users. Google might be exposed of actually not just tracking their users, but using that data for advertising. And then what would you say?
69. Whateverman (Posts: 3236; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Apple isn't being falsely accused of anything. There is a file on iOS that keeps a history, a log, of every place you take your phone. It's not an accusation, it's a fact! Your pattern of travel is kept on file that everyone knows is there now, including criminals. You lose your phone or if your computer is compermised, that info can be used against you in some truely horrible ways. You may not care that everyone knows where you'll be, but other people take measure to safeguard that kind of info. If I loss my Droid, there is no file that helps a person predict where I will be. And if there is, I would be pissed, but that is the difference between you and I. Google can't feed me a load of crap, where as you will blindly accept anything that comes out of steve's mouth.
71. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
Yes, Apple is being falsely accused of tracking their users which they are not. That log is not forwarded to Apple so they can track their users, like accusers say so. That's a false accusation. What's up with criminals knowing my data is there? I have no criminal friends. Do you? Lol. My phone is pasword protected, and can be remotely wiped out rendering ti unusable. You are just exagerrating. No problem or crime have been reported in the past 10 months that this has been going on. It's not a big problem at all.
79. Whateverman (Posts: 3236; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Just because you have password protection, doesn't mean someone's child is as careful. Remember, there are 10 yr olds with iphones now. If a kid loses their phone, doesn't wipe, and doesn't have it password protected, can you imagine what can happen? It's not always about you, there are others who may not know to do these things. Those are the people Apple should be trying to protect.
Lastly, I don't care if the data is sent back to Apple, the problem, again, in plain English for... The problem is the STORAGE OF THAT INFO!
80. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
You're being paranoid. Yes, there are 10 yr olds with iphones. So what would be on their history log? Kids R Us store branches? And if I'm the parent, I'll also make sure that my kid's iphone can be remotely wiped out. There are risks we take every day. Not just in buying the iphone. But in all things that we buy. Gas stoves are at risk of creating a fire. So does all other electrical appliances. Should we stop buying them then? There are sharks in the shore, does that stop the surfers from diving into the ocean? No. There's a chance of an avalanche at the mountains. Does that stop people from skiing? No. Should we sue the city for allowing people to ski and go to the beaches?
82. Whateverman (Posts: 3236; Member since: 17 May 2009)
Your the paranoid one here. Re-read my post. Did I say anything about sueing, or not buying Apple products...no I didn't. It's obvious that you live in a world where predator don't stalk kids, no children ever come up missing and parents don't need to worry about anything. But in my line of work, some parents don't know what an iPhone really is for, let alone what to do with them. I have parents that don't know how to check their email, set up a mobile me account, or remote wipe a device. So you unrelenting defense of Apple shows how thoughtless or maybe how heartless you really are.
37. 530gemini (Posts: 2198; Member since: 09 Sep 2010)
Here's a better explanation of the matter.
Android/Google will be exposed if this gets blown out of proportions. Apple is not afraid because the logged data is not even sent to them, while Google has been known to use users information for advertising purposes. So go on Android users, let's see who gets more trouble out of this.
42. Sniggly (Posts: 7253; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)
The information DOES get sent back to Apple. In the meantime, it's long been known exactly what Google uses location data for, and since they're so transparent and up front about it, and since they let you *gasp* OPT OUT, they won't get in such major trouble.
What Jobs said was BLATANTLY FALSE. Just like with Antennagate, he spews absolute bullshit while pointing the finger elsewhere.
He can't say that the iPhone doesn't record data; it obviously does.
He can't say that the iPhone doesn't send this data to Apple; Apple already confirmed that it does.
He can't say that the information isn't in danger of being swiped. It obviously is.
He can't say that what Google does is any worse, because it obviously isn't.
He can't say that it's a bug either, because the information is deliberately stored, backed up, and sent to Apple, and then kept and backed up continually after it's sent.
Gemini, why are you defending Jobs on this? You already said previously that the location tracking cache needs to be fixed so it isn't unencrypted and stored permanently. Now Jobs is pretending that there is no issue period, and suddenly you're pretty much agreeing with him? I'm...disappointed. I really am. I genuinely expected better from you at this point, Gemini.
49. Fanboys Suck (Posts: 609; Member since: 12 Dec 2008)
Sniggly, I think you have reminded people about 5 time now... they won't get it... I can't really explain why, but people just won't get it. An Gemini will defend Jobs even if Jobs raped and killed Gemini's own mom... can't explain this kid either...
86. AppleFUD (unregistered)
I think 530gemini is Steve Jobs!