Apple has finally responded to concerns over the recent news that the company's iPhones keep a detailed log of users' locations on the device, explaining that the company tracks cell towers, not people.
"Apple is not tracking the location of your iPhone. Apple has never done so and has no plans to ever do so," reads the first part of the press release.
In the form of a Q&A, the company tries to address the issues. So why does Apple keep this information about users' locations?
Well, according to Apple, it's not a log, but "a database of Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers" that helps the iPhone quickly calculate its location, since using GPS data takes much longer. Since the entire database is too big to keep on each phone, Apple explained that it downloads a cache onto each phone (the unencrypted file that was found to upload to iTunes once connected to a computer).
The reason Apple hasn't made this clear? It's too complicated for users. "Providing mobile users with fast and accurate location information while preserving their security and privacy has raised some very complex technical issues which are hard to communicate in a soundbite," it said. "Users are confused, partly because the creators of this new technology (including Apple) have not provided enough education about these issues to date."
Apple emphasized that it receives this information in an "anonymous and encrypted form," and cannot identify the source it comes from.
The company plans to encrypt the file in later versions of its OS software, and will release a free iOS software update in the next few weeks that reduces the size of the cache, stops backing it up, and deletes it when Location Services are turned off.