iPhone Leaking Data to Tracking Companies: What Are the Concerns?

In an effort to assure users of device security, Apple released a billboard with the phrase: “What happens on your iPhone, stays on your iPhone.”

This happened just before the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Many believe that it’s due to threats of the iPhone leaking data. It’s a way to assure users that their data is safe from hackers. Apple is trying to set itself apart from competitors who’re known for using user data for clandestine purposes.

Research shows there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the iPhone leaking data due to the misuse of Background App Refresh data on third-party iOS apps. Thanks to this feature, apps can actually operate on the background and automatically refresh their content.

Read on to find out why iPhone leaking data should be a concern for iOS device users.

What is the Use of App Trackers?

app tracker

App trackers make it easy for third-party apps to collect analytics data. However, it’s shocking to see how regularly these apps use this process to send information to tracking companies. This is not to mention the type of data used during this transfer process.

According to a report from the Washington Post, these apps are actually sharing sensitive data and credentials such as email addresses, phone number, IP addresses and much more.

Some of the major offending apps include big names like Nike, Mint, Microsoft OneDrive, Yelp, Spotify, Doordash, Citizen, The Weather Channel, and even The Washington Post.

For example, Citizen has shared personal user credentials in a way that violates its own privacy policy. However, the publishing giant was swift to remove any evidence of the tracker after being contacted by the Washington Post.

Meanwhile, experts found that Yelp distributed IP addresses so frequently they later described the behavior as a bug.

All told, the Washington Post found over 5,400 trackers within a week of testing.  

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What Are the Privacy Concerns?

iphone apps

To be honest, there’s nothing inherently wrong about app trackers. They track app behavior for the purpose of analyzing user patterns, improve performance and provide relevant ads.

For instance, you have the Doordash app which used nine trackers to collect user data straight from the phone. This includes the device name and model, as well as memory size, phone carrier, email address, name, delivery address and even accelerometer data.

The same company was also using complimentary trackers from tech giants Google and Facebook to see when a user has opened the app.

However, Doordash is not alone in this behavior. It’s common behavior for companies to use trackers in order to target their ads to certain demographics. But it wasn’t common knowledge until recently.

Nevertheless, when people found out about iPhone leaking data, they started inquiring about other privacy concerns. This included how long each company keeps the data for, and the third-parties who have access to it.

What Should We Do?

The more we use apps, the more we realize that the privacy policies and app permissions they use just don’t cut it. We need to take additional measures for cases like iPhone leaking data. This includes built-in tracking protection controls to promote more transparency when it comes to data collection and sharing.

Currently, you can’t really tell what a tracker is doing or what it’s being used for and that’s a problem.

Especially if you don’t have third-party apps such as Android’s Exodus Privacy or Disconnect’s Privacy Pro for iOS.

If you use an iOS device, then you can always go the alternative route by refreshing the device. Simply click on Settings, followed by Background App Refresh and then hit Off.

Since the public started hearing about iPhone leaking data, Apple has been working overtime to beef up their security measures. They claim to ensure privacy better than other companies but this is only partially true.

It’s true only that Apple’s Safari browser is more private. The company won’t use your browsing data to generate targeted ads in this case.  

Conclusion

With that said, iPhone leaking data is still an issue because it often happens without the user knowing about it. The only way to truly ensure privacy and protect yourself from data loss and leak is to only use the Apple ecosystem and nothing else, which is practically impossible.

The best way to protect your online privacy is to use a VPN like IPVanish which will hide your location and protect all your online activities.

What do you think about Apple’s bold privacy claims? Let us know in the comments below!

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CCordoso
CCordoso
10 months ago

Not only there are internal leaks but also using public wifi is a big risk. Thus using a vpn is reaally important if you are paying for something. I’ve used nordvpn now for a few years with obfuscated servers on. As I’m pretty happy with it (got a good discount from Reddit) I would suggest using it. I’m not sure about IPVanish as I’ve never used it, but reading this article and other reviews – it is probably good too.

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