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Heise: iPhone tracking concerns unfounded

updated 10:15 am EST, Tue November 20, 2007

iPhone not tracking IMEI?

Despite concerns, the iPhone is not sending gratuitous identifiers to Apple, a German publication reports. Warnings had been raised about binaries for the iPhone's Stocks and Weather applications, which appeared to be sending IMEI numbers to Apple URLs; these could in theory be used to pair a user with his web activity. It is now claimed through testing, though, that the iPhone does not send out its real IMEI, but rather codes unique to each application. The codes are also uniform across iPhones, meaning that they cannot be traced to a particular device.

Still unexplained is why nominally offline applications for Mac OS X and the iPod touch, such as Calculator, would require any sort of identifying tag. The programming may simply reflect the general architecture of the Mac OS, rather than constant attempts to send information to Apple.

by MacNN Staff





  1. Feathers

    Joined: Dec 1969



    To use wikipedia's term, is it possible that they are just different variables that happen to have the same name?

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969



    What? We're supposed to trust these people? We found out a couple of weeks ago that they just spread FUD and rumor.

  1. TheSnarkmeister

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Yeah, right.

    Apple is a big multi-national corporation, what do you think is the more likely explanation?

  1. Swift

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Calculator on Leopard phones home to do things like catch the latest exchange rates. Does it do the same thing on the iPhone? The conclusive bit of evidence is that the signals are generic across all iPhones. So it can't be to identify, but rather work effectively. Hey, your cell phone sends out signals announcing its presence, and gets responses from the cell towers -- EVEN WHEN YOU'RE NOT CALLING!!! It does that so that when you dial, it already knows where to find the tower.

    Please, you can't exist on a network without sending and receiving. I'm not holding Apple blameless automatically. But please, take off the tinfoil hats.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    did anyone...

    pay any attention to Heise's attempt at 15 minutes of Spotlight Fame last week on this c***?

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