promised a fix to iOS for its location tracking controversy and it was not kidding around. Today iOS 4.3.3 was released through iTunes specifically to fix the location traffic data storage issues.Apple
The fix possibly comes ahead of schedule. Boy Genius Report first reported that the fix was imminent on May 2 saying that it was likely to rollout "within the next two weeks." Two days later, there it is. Nothing like legislators and lawyers breathing down your neck to get developers to work in overdrive. The update says that it "contains changes to the iOS crowd-source location database cache."
Included in the update, iOS reduces the size of the cache, no longer backs up the cache to iTunes and deletes the cache entirely when Location Services is turned off.
Apple responded to the controversy on April 27 in an open letter outlining its position and how iPhones gather, store and send location data as well as what the data is used for. In the letter Apple said that it will do precisely what was implemented today.
Devices getting the iOS 4.3.3 update are the original iPad, iPad 2, GSM (AT&T) iPhone 4 and iPhone 3GS as well as third and fourth generation iPod Touches. Verizon iPhone 4s will receive an update as iOS 4.2.8.
One of the big concerns in the location controversy was the amount of data that was stored by Apple, up to a year in some cases. Location data will be stored on iOS devices now for seven days. Apple has promised that all location data in the cache will be encrypted on the device with the next major iOS update that might mean iOS 5 expected to be announced in June and rolled out in August.
Does this mean that the location data controversy is over? Not by a long shot. Google's offices in Seoul, South Korea were raided May 1 over AdMob location data. Legislators and lawyers are looking into iOS, Android and Microsoft over location issues. Google and Apple executives are expected to testify before Congress sometime later in May.