iOS 17 Changing Privacy Settings — How To Turn Them On Again

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iOS 17

The launch of significant software updates rarely occurs without encountering some issues, and iOS 17 is no exception to this rule. A number of users have reported that the upgrade altered their existing privacy settings without obtaining their consent. Apple has stated that it will be launching an investigation into this matter, as such unauthorized changes should not take place simply because you updated your phone.

This report stems from Mysk, a pair of developers and occasional security researchers who shared their findings on Twitter. According to their information, certain users who upgraded to iOS 17 discovered that their Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics settings were reactivated without any prior notification or request for permission.

It is worth noting that the majority of users did not experience any changes to these settings. Nevertheless, it is advisable to verify your privacy settings to ensure they remain as you originally configured them. To do this, navigate to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services.

Scroll down until you locate the Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics options. To re-enable Significant Locations, you will need to verify your identity using Face ID or your passcode, whereas Analytics can be toggled off instantly.

Apple appears to downplay the severity of having both settings switched on, asserting that Significant Locations are end-to-end encrypted and unreadable by Apple. However, Mysk points out that although this data is stored locally on your device, it still records detailed information about the places you visit. Additionally, the inclusion of this data in analytics, even if it’s meant to be unidentifiable, could have serious privacy implications. As a result, security experts often recommend users to disable both settings.

The crux of the issue lies in the fact that, in certain cases, both settings were reactivated automatically following the iOS 17 update. Hence, Apple’s commitment to conducting an investigation to reduce the likelihood of such incidents happening with future updates.

If you have recently upgraded to iOS 17, it is advisable to access the settings menu and ensure that your privacy settings align with your preferences. Alternatively, you may choose to disable these settings altogether, irrespective of your previous configuration. This advice also applies to users who have just acquired a new iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro, as vigilance in safeguarding your privacy is always a wise practice.

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