iPhone is unsurprisingly active in the middle of the night, according to a report by Washington Post Technology writer, Geoffrey Fowler.
Fowler tracked his iPhone’s activity recently, finding that dozens of companies were receiving information at all hours.
On a recent Monday night, a dozen marketing companies, research firms and other personal data guzzlers got reports from my iPhone. At 11:43 p.m., a company called Amplitude learned my phone number, email and exact location. At 3:58 a.m., another called Appboy got a digital fingerprint of my phone. At 6:25 a.m., a tracker called Demdex received a way to identify my phone and sent back a list of other trackers to pair up with.Washington Post
And all night long, there was some startling behavior by a household name: Yelp. It was receiving a message that included my IP address -— once every five minutes.
Also, Fowler noticed the irony of a January Apple advertisement which claimed “What happens on your iPhone stays on your iPhone.” Hilarious, right?
With the help of privacy firm Disconnect, Fowler encountered over 5,400 trackers in just one week – mostly within apps, that send his information to third party companies. Over the course of a month, the unwanted trackers were on track to upload 1.5 gigabytes of data.
App Trackers are akin to the cookies used on websites that monitor and report your activity around the internet. In apps, however, there’s virtually no notice that this is happening, and they’re difficult to block.
So why do the trackers activate in the middle of the night? Some appmakers set them to harvest data whenever the phone is plugged in, or they think it won’t interfere with other functions. According to Fowler, “These late-night encounters happen on the iPhone if you have allowed “background app refresh,” which is Apple’s default.”
It was only after Citizen was contacted about this that they removed the Amplitude tracker.