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Apple denies China’s spying allegations

China’s state television, China Central Television (CCTV), aired a feature on Friday claiming that Apple’s iOS 7 collects information about users’ locations using a feature called “Common Places”.

According to CCTV, the information is stored on the user’s iPhone, something that the television station states is very sensitive and can be used to find out which places the user visits often.

common places ios 7

Apple was quick to issue a statement on the company’s Chinese website on Saturday. In its announcement, Apple states that the company never has access to users’ location information.

– Apple does not have access to users’ location information via Common Places, that information is only stored locally on the phone in encrypted form. Users can also turn off Common Places in the system settings, Apple writes on its Chinese website.

Apple’s quick response to the negative criticism signals how important China is as a market for the company. Over the past four quarters, “greater China,” which includes China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, accounted for an average of 16.2 percent of Apple’s total revenue. In its most recent quarterly report, which ended March 31, greater China accounted for 20.4 percent of Apple’s revenue.

To turn off the Common Places feature, go to Privacy protection / Location Services / System services / Common places in the Settings.

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