Apple’s iOS 17 has prompted growing concerns about user privacy, as some users report unexpected changes to their privacy settings following the update.
- Some users report that their privacy settings are being reset to default after the iOS 17 update.
- Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics settings got turned on for some users without their consent.
Apple publicly released its iOS 17 on September 18th and now, barely a week later, users are expressing their increasing worries about the respect for user privacy.
Love it or hate it, Apple is famous for their device security. Yes, it stems from their unwillingness to make their devices compatible with non-Apple products. But hey, it works. So, you understand how shocking and distressing it is that a user’s privacy settings would revert to default after the iOS 17 update. Without user consent.
Two security-focused iOS developers, collectively known as Mysk, based in Canada and Germany, pointed out these privacy settings. Specifically, they found that Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics settings are being switched on for some users without their prior knowledge or consent.
And in came the tweets. Some people confirmed the change:
While others denied it:
Some people noted that theirs changed but they had the beta version before the final one:
Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics, both of which are now turned on by default for some users, have stirred concerns about privacy. According to Mysk, Significant locations, while stored locally on iPhones and encrypted end-to-end, could potentially be exploited to reveal detailed information about users’ frequently visited places.
Apple, on its part, assures users that significant locations remain secure and cannot be accessed by the company. The feature is designed to enhance location-related services in apps like Maps, Calendar, and Photos.
iPhone Analytics, which involves sharing location information with Apple, has also come under scrutiny. Mysk cautions that even if these reports are anonymized, they could still have privacy implications, especially when patterns of visited locations are considered.
While the affected group appears random, there have been no reports of similar issues affecting iPad users updating to iPadOS 17.
Apple has acknowledged the reports and is actively investigating the situation. The company has emphasized its commitment to user privacy and reassures users that these settings should not change during Apple’s iOS 17 update.
If you had previously disabled these settings, we advise to check your device’s configuration for the privacy controls by navigating to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services.
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