Part 5 - Location Warnings and Crowd-Sourced Location Services
Resetting Location Warnings
Location warnings are the requests made by apps (such as Camera, Compass, and Maps as well as numerous location-based third-party apps). These requests are for permission to use Location Services with those apps.
This is a location warning dialog generated by the Maps app
An app generally presents a location warning the first time it needs to access Location Services data; usually when first launched. Tapping OK will give that app permission to use Location Services as needed. Tapping Don't Allow will prevent an app from accessing Location Services data from then on.
Crowd-sourced Wi-Fi and cellular Location Services
If Location Services are enabled, your device will periodically send the “geo-tagged” locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple. This serves to supplement Apple's crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations - all in an effort to continuously improve mapping and location services.
Additionally, let’s say you’re on a road trip in your car and that Location Services is on. A GPS-enabled iOS device will periodically send GPS locations and travel speed information in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple. This data will be used to augment Apple's crowd-sourced road traffic database. Supposedly, the crowd-sourced location data gathered by Apple does not personally identify you.
Incidentally, in order to use the assistance of GPS services, you must be equipped with either an iPad with cellular service or with any iPhone. A Wi-Fi – only iPad (and an iPod touch, come to think of it) will still be able to utilize Location Services, but less accurately.
In conclusion, it’s clear that one of the biggest advantages to toting around an iPhone or iPad is the utility and pleasure derived from using location-aware apps and functionality. You can safely use Location Services, but with a little knowledge and awareness, you can mitigate any privacy concerns, utilize the services just on those apps that are most useful to you, while doing what you can to maximize the battery life of your iDevice.