Apple Releases iOS 4.3.3 to Mitigate Location Tracking Concerns

On Wednesday, Apple released what many consider to be a critical security update to the iOS mobile operating system.

Although it was initially expected to take Apple upwards of two weeks to prepare iOS 4.3.3, the iOS update arrived today and it promises to fix the location tracking and data storage bug that was discovered last month and sparked widespread controversy and user privacy concerns.

Apple says the update repairs the iOS crowd-sourced location database cache. In particular iOS 4.3.3:

  • Reduces the size of the cache
  • No longer backs up the cache to iTunes
  • Deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.

According to Apple Insider, Apple’s next “major” iOS software release will encrypt the database file on the iPhone, “ensuring that the data could not be obtained by a third party for illicit purposes.”

The iOS 4.3.3 update, which is available now through iTunes, is for the GSM-based iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPad 2, iPad, and 3rd and 4th generation iPod touch.

Apple has also released iOS 4.2.8 for the Verizon CDMA iPhone 4.