iOS 4.3.3 isn’t going to give your iPhone any new features. It won’t give you any bragging rights the next time you’re comparing your smartphone to your friend’s Android or BlackBerry handset. But it might just give you some extra peace of mind, and keep Apple out of the courtrooms.
That’s because this update to Apple’s mobile operating system addresses a “bug” with how these devices (including the iPhone 3GS, 4, iPod Touch 3, 4 and iPad 1/2) collect and store information about their locations.
If you’ve been living under a rock, here’s what happened:
A few weeks ago, two researchers announced that Apple’s iOS devices were storing relatively large amounts of location information; that this information was being stored in an unencrypted fashion; and that this data was being copied to people’s computers every time they synced their device via iTunes. Most worrisome was that if you knew what you were doing, you could use this data to create a very accurate map of where the device’s owner had been over a period of time, which was up to 10 months in some cases.
Needless to say Apple was put in the hot seat over this and subsequently apologized for a bug in their software and promised to make the necessary changes.
Today they make good on that promise.
But is it a good thing?
Apple says in their description of the update, that it “reduces the size of the “crowd-sourced” location cache, no longer backs up the cache to iTunes, and deletes the cache entirely when a user turns Location Services off.” What this means, is that if you opt-out of all location-based services on your device, it will no longer keep a record of where you’ve been.
Take careful note of this statement: “By using any location-based services on your iPhone, you agree and consent to Apple’s and its partners’ and licensees’ transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data and queries to provide and improve such products and services.”
This means that you agree to the collection and transmission of your location data even if you only use one location service-based app. The Maps app for instance, that comes standard with every i-device. I don’t know about you, but even if I turned off location services for every one of the apps I’ve installed since getting my iPhone, I’d still want Maps to show me where I am :-)
I hope that this update doesn’t in any way reduce the speed or the accuracy of the location-based services on the iPhone or other i-devices. I wasn’t upset about the data being kept on my phone and would happily allow it in return for a great user experience.
To update your i-Device with the latest OS, simply launch iTunes, plug in your gadget and follow the prompts.
Oh the excitement of a iOS update! The thrill of being able to access brand-new, never-seen-before features! The anticipation as you download and install the update!
The disappointment as you realize that you can no longer play any of your iPod content.
This sure sounds like the beginning of one of those MasterCard commercials, but the sad truth is that it’s the reality facing some people who have been brave enough to install Apple’s latest update to their iOS on their iPhone 4.
Actually I have no idea how many others have experienced this since a quick Google on the topic hasn’t turned up anything.
The update downloaded and installed just fine, and all of my apps appear to be working – in fact I can’t find a single problem – except the whole iPod thing:
Strangely, when I check my settings panel, everything looks normal: I can see I’ve got music and a few videos.
The only thing I can think of is that the PC I used to perform the iOS update is not the PC that I originally loaded my music from. Could that account for it? It hasn’t been a problem in the past when I’ve done the same thing.
Anyone else having trouble?
Update, 4:48 p.m.: Thanks to reader jonoo who suggested re-connecting the iPhone to the PC and playing a few tracks in iTunes FROM the iPhone’s library, then disconnecting the iPhone. It works! All tracks are now back.
Let us know if this fix does not work for you.
While iPhone users have been benefiting from some of the new iOS features such as multitasking for a few months now, iPad owners have been patiently waiting for today’s launch since iOS 4.2 was announced back in September.
In case you’ve forgotten in the intervening months, here’s what’s in store for you if you connect your iPad to iTunes later today (after 10 AM PST):
- Multitasking: double-tap the home button and a scrolling list of all your open apps shows up at the bottom of the screen, letting you hop between apps
- Folders: sort all those apps into logical groups by dragging one app onto another. The new group can be renamed, added to, edited or deleted. Up to 12 apps per folder.
- Unified inbox: All of your mail accounts can show up in one combined screen, or you can see them individually
- Game Centre: Apple’s answer to Xbox Live and Sony’s PlayStation network
- AirPlay: If you have an Apple TV, you can stream any video playing on your iPhone or iPad (or iPod Touch) to your TV over WiFi
- AirPrint: wirelessly print from your device to any available network printer that supports the AirPrint feature
- Find my iPhone (or i-Device): this previously subscription-only service is now free and helps you locate a lost device and/or remotely wipe its contents to keep it from prying eyes
You can bet I’ll be getting this update ASAP and be back to tell you what I think, but in the meantime, please leave your thoughts below.