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iPad Technology

Apple Are Watching You

Apple iPhone 5S users should be aware that even after the battery on their handset has died, every move you make can still be tracked!

Okay so that seems really creepy, and even a little bit scary, but is it as bad as it sounds? Well not really, the data is not collected by the built in Apple apps and your location is not tracked, although the fact that any data is being collected at all when the phone battery is supposedly “dead” is enough to freak those among us who are already concerned about possible invasions of our privacy.

It is quite normal for a battery powered device to retain around 5 percent of the battery charge in reserve, so although the battery appears to have died, it has not actually fully drained at all. This 5 percent is used for the maintenance of some services and for re-booting the device.

Apple added a new chip to the iPhone 5S, the M7 or companion chip, which is used for collecting data from low energy sensors, such as compasses, accelerometers and gyroscopes, basically motion sensors. The reason the chip was added was to preserve the device battery and make the processors run faster by removing the burden of data collection from the CPU (central processing unit) and allowing the M7 to carry out the process instead. The data is utilized by third party apps only, not those built into the device, and is used for pedometers, exercise tracking and some maps. Although the M7 is not able to track the location of the device, a third party app using it is still able to disclose whether it was being moved around or not, in fact the pedometer app would be able to say how many steps the user had taken.

So is this an invasion of our privacy? Well we suppose it could be construed as such, but only barely and only to those of us who are really touchy on the subject of privacy, most of us wouldn’t even give it much thought, let alone consider it a problem. Any data collected by the M7 chip is encrypted and removed after seven days and those third party apps? Well you will have chosen to install those apps and their use of motion data is not allowed by a default setting, you also have to choose that option. It is all a matter of choice.