Apple's iOS-based devices iPhone and iPad secretly records a user's whereabouts o the device in unencrypted format making it accessible to other users and programs running on the machine.
Researchers Alasdair Allan, Senior Research Fellow at the University of Exeter and Pete Warden, Founder of Data Science Toolkit - according to Techtree, discovered that the database of a users locations are stored on the iPhone and also in any other device the iPhone is synced with.
The key data collected is latitude, Longitude and timestamp. Timestamp logs time in seconds since Jan. 1, 2001.
According to the researchers the key problem as stated on their blog is: That this data is stored in an easily-readable form on your machine. Any other program you run or user with access to your machine can look through it.
However researchers confirmed that the data is not being siphoned from the device to any other source.
They also cited that usually cell-phone providers collect similar data but keep it behind their company firewalls. However in Apple's case the data is open to access by anyone who can take hold of the device.
The location-based data is stored in a folder Users//Library/Application insideSupport/MobileSync/Backups/. The Manifest.mbdb and Manifest.mbdx files contain a listing of the real names of the files represented by random strings in that folder.
The blog states that Pete Warden worked with Apple for five years but not on any iPhone related project. He worked on desktop visualization software.
The researchers have developed an open-source application that maps the information recorded by iPhone. The application does not log any information but merely displays the hidden files.
Here is a video that showcases how the application maps the location data stored in iPhone: