Apple: iPhone 11 requests location without permission due to ultrawide band

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Because the iPhone 11 models have support for ultrawide band, the devices request the location via GPS without users being able to turn it off via a toggle. Apple has confirmed this after questions were raised about the location requests.

Apple already confirmed on Wednesday that some processes in the iOS system do not have a manual toggle to prevent location retrieval, but the company now states in a statement that this has to do with the uwb support. “Ultrawide band technology is a standard that is internationally regulated and requires it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS Location Services help iPhones determine if they are in such locations to turn off ultrawide band and comply with regulations,” Apple reports to TechCrunch.

Furthermore, the company promises that there will be a toggle for this in a future iOS update. Apple would not collect the location data, it would remain on the device. The iPhone 11 models have ultrawide band support thanks to the specially developed U1 chip. The radio technology enables precise location determination of the device, and of the device in relation to other devices with U1 chip, thanks to time of flight.

Apple uses the technology, among other things, for Airdrop, which allows users to wirelessly exchange files with nearby devices, and for Find My, for locating products. In addition, there is a rumor that Apple is coming with tags, with which users can track items such as keys.

Uwb uses 500MHz or more of the radio spectrum, on unlicensed frequency bands between 3.1GHz and 10.6GHz. The technique is almost twenty years old and initially seemed to hold promise for sending multimedia files. After other techniques turned out to be more suitable for this with some range and speed, the technology seemed doomed to a languishing existence, but recently the automotive sector, among others, has rediscovered uwb.

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