The iPhone 5S was hailed by the technology community as a significant step in smartphone tech. It features not only Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL)’s A7 chip and a 64-bit processor, but also an M7 motion co-processor. That M7 chip is meant to offer health-related functionality, like step counting, and possible other capabilities in the future. You might think that when the iPhone 5S no longer has any charge, it isn’t working any longer.
However, Redmond Pie found a post from a Reddit user who claims that the M7 chip continued to track his movements—even after the battery on the handset was completely drained. In a time when privacy is a big concern and the world’s governments have gotten in trouble for digitally spying on people, this discovery certainly isn’t a welcome one.
Freaked out by iPhone 5S tracking
Reddit user Glarznak said his iPhone 5S charger broke while he was traveling. Upon arriving home and reconnecting it to charge it up, he discovered that the step-counting app Argus kept tracking his steps, even after the battery had been drained. Argus wasn’t created by Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL), but it demonstrates how the iPhone 5S is capable of still tracking your movements even if the battery is dead.
Of course most people realize that even when a phone’s battery is considered dead because the handset won’t turn completely on, the battery never truly dies. It retains a very small amount of power, which you can see because often the handset will partially turn on for about ten seconds or so before shutting off again.
What this may mean for privacy
Of course while Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) and other technology companies have said they don’t cooperate with governments unless they receive a court order to hand over information, it is still disconcerting that the iPhone 5S has this capability. Recently it was revealed that the U.K. government snapped millions of photos from Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) users’ web cams during their video chats—regardless of whether or not the users were suspected of being terrorists or criminals.
Yahoo Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) condemned the program, but nonetheless, this leaves the door open for governments to track your every move, even if the battery on your handset is dead. Of course people who are truly worried about this will probably find other ways to avoid being tracked through their smartphone, but this is something for even average consumers to think about when it comes to any mobile device they carry, whether it’s an iPhone 5S or something else.