Apple has always said that users have control over their location settings and if they want to share it or not. You could have location service enabled for one app like Maps and off for everything else but it’s not the case according to Brian Krebs who made a detailed post about how the Apple iPhone 11 is tracking a users location with the location services for all apps and system services is set to never request this data.
Brians Krebs reports on his blog:
One of the more curious behaviours of Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro is that it intermittently seeks the user’s location information even when all applications and system services on the phone are individually set to never request this data,
Apple did respond to this saying that it was expected behavior and did not acknowledge it to be a security issue at all.
Krebs however, did confirm that users could turn their entire location services to off but if they choose individual settings like mentioned earlier, they will be tracked despite having it enabled for only one app.
Krebs did contact Apple directly over this issue about apps and system services tracking the location even with the location service is set to off for those particular services.
Apple’s response was:
We do not see any actual security implications. It is expected behaviour that the locations services icon appears in the status bar when location services is enabled,
According to the company some system services do not have a switch in Settings to turn location data on or off for them.
Apple seems to be starting to do the same thing that Google was accused of last year by a researcher at Princeton University who said that his phone was tracking his location and Google saved certain markers throughout his daily commute even when he specifically set the phone to not track his location.