iOS 17 update raises privacy concerns

Image Credits: Apple

In the wake of the iOS 17 release, a subset of iPhone users has encountered an unsettling issue according to 9to5Mac – their established privacy settings are mysteriously altered without their consent. Apple is actively looking into these reports to address the concerns raised.

Mysk, a pair of iOS developers known for their focus on security research, brought this issue to light on X (formerly known as Twitter). They found that certain users, who had deliberately disabled “Significant Locations” and “iPhone Analytics” within their device settings, observed these options reactivating themselves without any prior notice or user authorization. This unwarranted switch occurs immediately following the iOS 17 update.

Upon learning of these privacy breaches, Apple has confirmed to 9to5Mac that such alterations to user settings should not occur after upgrading to iOS 17. The company is taking these reports seriously and has initiated an investigation into the matter. Apple has also reiterated its unwavering commitment to safeguarding user privacy.

While this development raises legitimate privacy concerns, it’s crucial to highlight that a significant portion of iPhone users appears to remain unaffected by these changes. For many users who have updated to the latest iOS version, their devices continue to operate as expected, with no unusual privacy setting adjustments.

Apple’s swift response and commitment to user privacy underscore the importance of addressing these issues promptly. As the investigation unfolds, affected users are eagerly awaiting a resolution to restore their privacy settings to their preferred configurations.

However, Mysk says that “while significant locations remain local on your iPhone, they can be abused as they record detailed information about the locations you visit frequently.”

For iPhone Analytics, Mysk shares that “having your location information included in these analytics reports might have privacy implications, even if the reports don’t identify you.” And adds, “security experts have always advised to turn these two options off.”

At Apple’s annual Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC) in June 2023, the company shared its latest updates and shed light on what iOS 17 will bring to users. The iPhone-maker not mentioning sideloading caught attention, however, when asked about after, Apple’s Senior Vice President of Software Engineering said that Apple was working with the EU to discuss the compliance. 

In July, Apple released the first public beta of iOS 17

Written by Gizem Yılmaz


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