iPhones have reportedly been sending user data to various companies, all while users are sleeping.

According to The Washington Post, more than 5,400 trackers, most of them in iPhone apps, have been sending data to various companies including big names in different industries. The report discovered these trackers working over the course of a week, sending data they shouldn’t be sending.

“Even though the screen is off and I’m snoring, apps are beaming out lots of information about me to companies I’ve never heard of,” the report said. “Your iPhone probably is doing the same — and Apple could be doing more to stop it.”

Background app refresh

The report said some of the data was sent at night while the user was sleeping. The data included the user’s phone number, email address, exact location, the phone’s digital fingerprint, and IP address. These data, and more, are sent by apps like Yelp, OneDrive, Mint, Nike, Spotify, The Washington Post and the Weather Channel.

These trackers transmitted the data by night because of two main reasons: it’s either the app makers designed them to transmit data when iPhones are plugged in and charging, or when they are less likely to affect some of the device’s other functions and apps. The transmissions happen to those who have “background app refresh” set to on.

Getting enough deep sleep is important for your health. Reuters

Sadly, data transmissions aren’t limited to the evenings. The trackers would also send user data at different times of the day.

Patrick Jackson, a former National Security Agency researcher who is now the chief technology officer at privacy firm Disconnect, told the Washington Post that the trackers would’ve transmitted a whopping 1.5 gigabytes of precious user data over a month. Disconnect helped test the reporter’s iPhone.

Why is this important?

This issue is very important as it comes at a time when user privacy is always threatened.

Apple has been known to be a company that values user privacy better than most companies out there, including Facebook. Apple itself said that it does “a great deal to help users keep their data private,” the report said. This new finding obviously contradicts that claim.

This is even more noteworthy as Apple has been recently hit with a lawsuit that alleges it sold iTunes users’ information, violating the company’s own promise of “whatever happens in your iPhone stays in your iPhone.”

(Pictured: A woman uses an Apple iPhone at a shopping mall in Beijing, Jan. 3, 2019.) NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/Getty Images