iPhone 'live photo' may leak location

Updated 2016-11-24 16:34:30 Ecns.cn

(ECNS) -- "Everyone might easily track your location through live photos posted on Weibo!" A Chinese mother warned on social media earlier this week, referring to the potential safety risks in using the "live photo" feature on iPhone 6S and 7.

According to people.cn, the mother surnamed Sun from Ningbo, east China's Zhejiang Province, took a photo of her daughter waving her goodbye in front of a kindergarten using iPhone 7 and posted it on Twitter like Sina Weibo.

Half an hour later, a stranger identified the kindergarten and its location.

Sun said she didn't turn on the location service on Weibo when posting the picture, nor did she reveal the name of the kindergarten, so she had no idea how the stranger got the information.

The new feature on iPhone 6S and 7 is more like a short video, which records voices and motion three seconds prior to the final shot.

The stranger told Sun that he got the related information after downloading the posted live photo. The method was checked out by Sun on her own phone.

"Luckily this person had no bad intention," said Sun, who worried the trick could be used by intended offenders.

She deleted all her live photos and warned her friends on social media. Many said they were unaware of the hazard.

People.cn reported that the location information could be extracted after downloading live photos. It could be further used to relate to previous photos taken near the same site.

It was also proved that the information wouldn't be exposed when posting regular photos.

A staff member at Apple's customer service said the address location function serves to help users record more information, and that turning off the positioning function of the iPhone would affect other capabilities.

She didn't give further information as to why there is no warning on the manual that live photo might leak location information.

The report advised people to turn off the positioning service for their camera apps as the information would also be stored in the common photos when it's on, and may be passed to others when people share the originals.

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