Earlier this week it was discovered that the new iPhone models are collecting location data even if the user manually disables the Location Services.
While Apple initially declined to comment beyond the fact that this was an “expected behavior”, the iPhone maker is now offering an explanation.
Ultra wideband technology is an industry standard technology and is subject to international regulatory requirements that require it to be turned off in certain locations. iOS uses Location Services to help determine if an iPhone is in these prohibited locations in order to disable ultra wideband and comply with regulations. The management of ultra wideband compliance and its use of location data is done entirely on the device and Apple is not collecting user location data.Apple spokesperson
In plain English, some of the iPhone features, like sharing files over AirDrop, require devices to be spatial-aware. However, some of these features are forbidden in some regions. In order to determine whether the iPhone is in such a region, and to disable the non-approved features, the device needs to know its actual location. According to Apple, this is all being done on the device, with no location data actually being shared.
Apple will likely offer an on-off switch for the feature in an upcoming iOS update.