Apple admitted on Thursday that it has used and supported in the past the CarrierIQ software that has the mobile tech world up in arms for its ability to track information on users’ smartphones. Apple says the software is opt-in only for its customers and it hasn’t used it for tracking keystrokes or messages. The company says it stopped supporting this software “in most” of its products with the latest version of its iOS mobile operating system. Now, after complaints regarding the level of detail the software can record about a user — and questions being asked by U.S. lawmakers — Apple says it will remove the software from all of its mobile devices through a software update.
In a statement, the company said:
We stopped supporting CarrierIQ with iOS 5 in most of our products and will remove it completely in a future software update. With any diagnostic data sent to Apple, customers must actively opt-in to share this information, and if they do, the data is sent in an anonymous and encrypted form and does not include any personal information. We never recorded keystrokes, messages or any other personal information for diagnostic data and have no plans to ever do so.
Sprint has admitted to receiving data from CarrierIQ’s software, but it denies using it to track its customers, as has AT&T, which says it uses the information for network management. Verizon, on the other hand, has denied using the software, as has Google on any of the Android phones it makes.