How to disable Carrier IQ on your iPhone

Macworld Australia Staff
5 December, 2011
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iPhone users can turn off the Carrier IQ software that’s raised a ruckus among US consumers, bloggers and privacy advocates with just four taps. Go to Settings, Location Services, scroll down to System Services and set ‘Diagnostics & Usage’ to ‘Off’ to disable Carrier IQ on an iPhone.

Although Apple last week said that its newest mobile operating system, iOS 5, does not support the Carrier IQ software, it slipped in a caveat.

“We stopped supporting Carrier IQ with iOS 5 in most of our products ,” said Apple in a statement Thursday.

In a follow-up conversation, an Apple representative clarified that that meant Carrier IQ was not included in iOS 5 “on all devices,” although she declined to say which devices had the metrics software – only those with diagnostics turned on, perhaps? – or to elaborate further.

Another part of Apple’s statement read, “With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information.”

While Apple’s comments seemed at first glance at odds with the findings of iOS developer Grant Paul, who claimed Carrier IQ is present on iOS 5, they actually were not, Paul said later Thursday.

In an update to his original analysis, Paul assured iOS 5 users that, “From my examinations, Apple’s recent statement on the issue appears to be entirely accurate.”

Carrier IQ is apparently enabled when the user agrees to allow their device to send diagnostic data to Apple – something that iOS 5 poses when it installs – or later enables the option manually through Settings.

Like many other handset makers and carriers, Apple also distanced itself from the egregious accusations facing Carrier IQ, that it records keystrokes and logs text messages.

“We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so,” Apple said in the statement.

The brouhaha over Carrier IQ began last week when researcher Trevor Eckhart published information about the software, and described it as a “rootkit” that logged keystrokes and recorded user behaviour.

Apple also said it would scrub Carrier IQ “from all devices” with a future iOS 5 software update. The company declined to set a timeline for the update’s release, however.

The Carrier IQ issue is so far limited to the US, with ZDnet reporting that Australia – to date – remains unaffected:

“Aussie telcos Telstra, Optus and Vodafone have confirmed that the Carrier IQ software is not installed on any phones sold to their customers in Australia, with Vodafone extending this statement to include its entire business worldwide, including the UK.”

One Comment

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  1. iDecimus says:

    Well I just followed the instructions on the article and there it was – turned on.
    thanks Macworld

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