In recent days there has been talk of a possible scandal related to privacy of all users equipped with iPhone 11, iPhone 11 Pro and Pro Max (with that battery could spy on us for days!): it seems that these, and only these, can access the GPS position even when it is disabled. The behavior was detected by a security expert and, as you have noticed, this is a topic that you have not seen covered in our pages. There is a reason for this.
Carefully analyzing the news, there was something wrong: the discovery could be potentially very uncomfortable for Apple, however the Cupertino company reacted to the issue with a simple one "Yes, we are aware of it and there is no irregularity". Therefore, in order to avoid unnecessary alarmism, we waited for Apple to give a more technical explanation of this behavior, which was paid off.
Responding to colleagues from TechCrunch, the Cupertino company explained the reason why the new iPhone 11 and 11 Pro – and only them, we repeat – seem to use positioning data even when the user has expressly prevented the apps and the system from accessing them. The person responsible for this is nothing less than the new U1 chip, or the one dedicated to system management ultrawideband that we find only on the last top of the range.
The ultrawideband technology – according to Apple reported – must comply with certain laws and regulations, which require this to come deactivated in certain areas. The U1 chip then accesses the location data periodically so as to understand if the device finds in one of those off-limits areas, in order to turn off the transmission system if necessary. All information collected, as usual, remains on the device and is not shared in any way. In short, no danger to privacy.
Recall that the ultra-wideband technology allows iPhone 11 (even the most affordable XR heir) to improve their perception of the space around them. At the moment its use is limited to improving file sharing through AirDrop, but it should soon become one of the key elements of the new tag location system, which should come with one of the next major iOS 13 updates.
Note: it is specified that by completely deactivating the GPS, requests for access to position data by U1 are also blocked
(update of 06 December 2019, 10:30 am)