We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message
80,259 News Articles

Apple in iPhone 'phone home' rumour

Users claim iPhone 'phones home' to Apple

Claims that the iPhone 'phones home' to Apple to provide the iPod maker with personal information, including which stocks users are tracking, is probably inaccurate, according to a German security website.

According to translations of an analysis posted by Heise Zeitschriften Verlag, while the binaries of a pair of iPhone applications - the weather and stock applets - include strings that contain the characters 'imei', it's unlikely that the phone's identifier is being sent to Apple.

Each mobile phone is tagged with a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number that can be used by carriers to block handsets reported as stolen.

Talk of IMEIs - and other data - being transmitted to Apple stemmed from reports on a blog and the Hackint0sh message forum from researchers who said they had spotted strings in the iPhone's Stock and Weather widgets. The string most users focused on was a URL that included an Apple domain address: http://iphone-wu.apple.com/dgw?imei=%@&apptype=finance.

"This let[s] Apple know which app you are using when connecting with your iPhone," said XianLi, the Hacint0sh user who first disclosed the iPhone-to-Apple connection. "Obviously, they know the IP address you were using, the stocks you are interested to [sic], and so they can track down their customers all around the world."

See also

Apple iPhone review

Others on the Hackint0sh thread weighed in with a 'so what?' attitude. "I don't see the relevance," said thecompkid. "There's nothing really confidential or important about stocks and weather data. Now, I'm assuming that all that is being sent is your IMEI, which is what appears to be true."

Heise, however, wasn't even sure that the IMEI is being sent, since when it sniffed the traffic between an iPhone and Apple, it found that the Weather gadget transmitted a different value for "imei" than did the Stock widget. Speculation that Apple is interested in the stocks iPhone owners track are, concluded Heise, "very farfetched".

Apple officials did not respond to a request for comment.

For more mobile phone reviews, news and tutorials, see Mobile Advisor, brought to you in association with BlackBerry.


IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 tech deals UK Live: Best Black Friday deals from Apple, Amazon, Argos, eBay,...

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday feeding frenzy infects the UK

IDG UK Sites

VAT MOSS: Will I be affected by the EU VAT changes? Here are the facts for designers and artists

IDG UK Sites

Black Friday 2014 UK: Apple deals, Amazon deals & Black Friday tech offers