In response to the recent kerfuffle surrounding the way its mobile devices collect and store location data (see “Apple Addresses Location Controversy Questions,” 27 April 2011), Apple has released the promised update to iOS that limits the location information the operating system gathers and caches. The new release is available in two versions: iOS 4.2.8 for the CDMA iPhone that operates on Verizon Wireless’s network, and iOS 4.3.3 for all other compatible iOS devices; these latter devices include the GSM iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, the iPad and iPad 2, and the third- and fourth-generation iPod touch. (Older devices limited to iOS 3 don’t suffer the same problems.) When updated, the iOS device retains a shorter history of location data than it previously did, and it does not back up that data to the user’s computer when the device syncs with iTunes. In addition, the device no longer collects any location information at all when Location Services is turned off. The updates are installed via iTunes. (Free)
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- Apple Addresses Location Controversy Questions (27 Apr 11)
iOS 4.3.3 and 4.2.8
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As our full coverage notes, however, the fixes to these bugs should be important only for the few people who have reason to be extremely concerned about there being very generalized location data (nearby cell towers and Wi-Fi hotspots, not GPS-level data) about their whereabouts stored on the phone and in their iTunes backups. For such people, an upgrade to a newer iPhone might be prudent.
Any working phone that is currently in circulation made by Apple should be supported when it comes to SECURITY issues. As for other, more sophisticated, upgrades to do with add-ons & features, of course, that is up to Apple. When hardware becomes outdated due to more advanced software demands, that is a whole other ball game. But security should not be an area where they can refuse a section of their market purely because they think a phone is old - heck, I'M still alive & it is MY security i'm talking about, not the phone's!