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Mac OS X Yosemite Leaks User Location and Search Results to Apple

Mac OS X Yosemite Leaks User Location and Search Results to Apple

Mac OS X Yosemite Leaks User Location and Search Results to AppleSpotlight, the search tool embedded in Apple’s latest desktop operating system, is collecting search and location data by default, according to news reports.

Users started complaining about the issue on Twitter. The company confirmed that anyone who uses Spotlight or iOS8 will have his data sent back to Apple servers in real time.

“When you use Spotlight, your search queries, the Spotlight Suggestions you select, and related usage data will be sent to Apple,” the post reads. “If you have Location Services on your device turned on, when you make a search query to Spotlight the location of your device at that time will be sent to Apple.”

However, Apple issued a statement saying that they collect only the minimum amount of information in order to improve Spotlight’s functionality, as well as other Apple products and services.

“For Spotlight Suggestions we minimize the amount of information sent to Apple,” the company added. “Apple doesn’t retain IP addresses from users’ devices. Spotlight blurs the location on the device so it never sends an exact location to Apple. Location, search queries, and usage information sent to Apple will be used by Apple only to make Spotlight Suggestions more relevant and to improve other Apple products and services.”

Users can opt out of Spotlight suggestions by tweaking their settings. Here’s how:

  • Go to “Mac OS X’s System Preferences”
  • Disable “Spotlight Suggestions,” “Bookmarks and History,” and “Bing Web Searches.”
  • If you use Safari, disable the same “Spotlight Suggestions” function in the browser (under “Preferences” and then “Search”) to avoid having your keywords remembered by Apple.

The company remains under the spotlight as some 200 complaints that Mac OS X Yosemite disrupts and even disables Wi-Fi connections recently hit the Apple Support Forum.

“Wi-Fi is so slow, can Apple come out with an updated fix STAT? #YosemiteProblems,” one user said.

Apple has not commented on this matter.

About the author

Alexandra GHEORGHE

Alexandra started writing about IT at the dawn of the decade - when an iPad was an eye-injury patch, we were minus Google+ and we all had Jobs. She has since wielded her background in PR and marketing communications to translate binary code to colorful stories that have been known to wear out readers' mouse scrolls. Alexandra is also a social media enthusiast who 'likes' only what she likes and LOLs only when she laughs out loud.