Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 21st Apr 2011 21:59 UTC, submitted by Martin
Apple There's a bit of a stink going on - even in major media - about something iOS 4's been doing. Apparently, iOS 4 has been storing a list of locations and timestamps to a hidden, but readable file in a standard database format. The locations are triangulated using cell towers, and generally aren't as accurate as for instance GPS. Still, the file is stored without any form of protection on both your iPhone as well as your desktop.
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RE[6]: why wait?
by galvanash on Sat 23rd Apr 2011 04:43 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: why wait?"
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Can one of you fanboi apologists for Google/Apple please provide a use case where it makes sense to keep track of previous locations at an OS level?

It can take a few seconds to get a gps fix... Until you do get a fix, you have no idea where you are, so any mapping app has to wait idly until the fix is done. Having coordinates of cell towers you recently communicated with let's you get an approximate fix instantly. This can dramatically improve the user experience, because you can instantly set an appropriate zoom level and center the map on the approximate location while waiting for a more accurate gps fix.

The point is gps is not instant - there is latency involved. There is also latency with the mapping API itself (downloading map tiles and such). This let's you hide both latencies.

Also, gps is not always available - especially when indoors. This offers a fallback. Not as accurate, but better than nothing.

You can't get tower location info on demand... You get it when it happens (when the cellular radio picks one up or switches between them). Therefore to actually use the information for this type of purpose you have to log it.

Btw, the geolocation Apis in both iOS and android do all of this stuff for you - it's built into them. Hence why the OS itself does the logging. Apps do not ever read these logs directly, the apis used to get position fixes do that for you (without telling you how the information was derived, it just returns coordinates and an accuracy indicator).

That explain it well enough?

Edited 2011-04-23 05:02 UTC

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