The launch of any major software rarely goes off without a hitch, and iOS 17 is no exception. Some users have reported that the upgrade has changed their existing privacy settings without permission. Apple says that it will be investigating the issue, because this sort of thing should not be happening just because you updated your phone.
This news comes from Mysk, a pair of developers and occasional security researchers, over on Twitter/X. Apparently some users who upgraded to iOS 17 are finding that the Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics have been switched back on — without warning or asking for permission.
9to5Mac notes that both settings remain unchanged for the majority of users, but it is still worth checking to make sure your privacy settings are as you left them. Head to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > System Services.
Scroll down until you see the both Significant Locations and iPhone Analytics options. Significant Locations will require you to verify your identity, via Face ID or passcode, though Analytics can be toggled off there and then.
Apple seems to be downplaying the severity of having both settings switched on, claiming Significant locations are end-to-end encrypted and unreadable by Apple. Mysk notes that while this data is stored locally on your phone, they do record some pretty detailed information on places you visit.
The duo also note that having this information in analytics, even if it's supposed to be unidentifiable, could have serious privacy implications. Mysk notes security experts already advise users to turn both settings off.
The real problem here is that, in some cases, both settings have been switched back on as a result of upgrading to iOS 17. Hence the promise of an investigation by Apple, to reduce the likelihood that this happens again with future updates.
So if you’ve just upgraded to iOS 17, be sure to head into the settings menu and make sure those privacy settings are exactly as you left them. Or just switch them off entirely, regardless of what your previous settings might have been. It's also worth checking both settings if you've just received a new iPhone 15 or iPhone 15 Pro. Because you can never be too careful.