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Is my Contacts info being sent to the cloud?


Userlevel 1
I moved from Android to iPhone after years of anxting over which of the juggernauts would be less disrepectful of one's privacy, and more diligent about the safety of the apps in their store.  I chose Apple, and recently made the move.  Last month, that is, and I am being inducted into the world of iOS with version 10.

I noticed with consternation that my contacts display a small map image of the address.  I don't keep my contacts in the cloud, and never use the cloud for transferring contact informaton.  I use AkrutoSync to sync up with my Outlook client on my laptop (Windows 7) over home WiFi.  As far as I know, mapping out the addresses in my Contacts is not possible without those addresses being sent to a mapping service somewhere.  I don't recall being asked for this to happen, and no switch or parameter that I can find under Privacy or Contacts seems to be responsible.

Can anyone suggest what might be enabling this?

9 replies

If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone, the contacts might of been saved through the cloud, I hope this helped!
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
If you have address information included in your contacts, the phone will use information from Apple maps to show the information visually. It may need to use your internet connection to pull that section of the map, but the address information wouldn't need to be sent to the cloud.
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
You should be asking this question on an Apple enthusiast site, where more folks familiar with the product participate. While drawing address information from a mapping site would likely be required, the separation of that data from other personal info, keeps it anonymous. If you really want to avoid this issue, put the address in the notes section of the contact.
Userlevel 1
Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone, the contacts might of been saved through the cloud, I hope this helped!

My response:
I avoided the cloud back then as well.  I used AkrutoSync with CyanogenMod.

Timo said:
If you have address information included in your contacts, the phone will use information from Apple maps to show the information visually. It may need to use your internet connection to pull that section of the map, but the address information wouldn't need to be sent to the cloud.

My response:
I'm surprised that the local software has the capability to locate an address on a map.  I'm wondering how much confidence you have in your response.  I understand if it is speculation.

David said:
You should be asking this question on an Apple enthusiast site, where more folks familiar with the product participate.  While drawing address information from a mapping site would likely be required, the separation of that data from other personal info, keeps it anonymous.  If you really want to avoid this issue, put the address in the notes section of the contact.

My response:
I did post to Apple forums.  I'm still working through the responses.  To me, the issue isn't whether the iPhone sufficiently anonymizes the data that it sends into the cloud.  It's that the information is being sent at all, without my consent.  This is exactly the reason why I moved away from Android.  That is my information, and the migration of that data off the phone without notice or permission is what malware and spyware does.

The fact that I can't use the address field for its intended purpose, and that I have to use the notes section to evade data harvesting, indicates to me that I made the wrong choice in moving to Apple.  I mean, it's unimaginable that for a cadillac product, the company for which ostensibly espouses privacy protection, I need to go through all my contacts to migrate the data to the (wrong) field.  And when I move on to my next phone, I will have to go through them all again to reverse the migration.
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
andymhancock wrote:

Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone...

If I provided [i]you with a map, I'm certain you would be able to locate an address, why would you feel the phone lacks this ability?
Userlevel 1
andymhancock wrote:

Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone...

I suspect that, algorithmically, it's a sophisticated task to convert an address to a location.  I'm not saying that it's *not* on the phone, just that it's not what I would suspect, given the (somewhat guessed-at) sophistication needed.

If you have any greater insight into the models and algorithms used for map locating, something that underpins your perspective, please feel free to share it.  I'm open to being educated.
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
andymhancock wrote:

Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone...

If a $99 fivevyear old Garmin GPS is capable of locating any address in North America without using a sophisticated cloud-based algorithm, I can say with total confidence that a $600+ iPhone is more than capable of doing the same.
Userlevel 1
andymhancock wrote:

Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone...

Well...I got the bargain basement iPhone SE (albeit new).  However, your point is well taken.  I never thought of it that way.  That consideration would suggest that it is plausible that the actual placement of an address on a map, given local map info, is done via software on the phone rather than elsewhere.  This would mean that the Contacts address info is not (necessarily!) sent "off site".

I hope, and ask, that anyone with insight into that technical area of work can confirm or deny this.  It's one thing for us to engage in reasoned speculation, but having done that in the past about other things, I'd be the first to say that it is far from a certain answer, or even an answer with a comfortable degree of certainty.
Userlevel 1
andymhancock wrote:

Golden Apple said:
If your using the same sim card/plan that you were using for the android phone...

I just got off the phone with Apple Support, 1800MyApple. All of the address info across all my Contacts is in fact sent to their servers without notification or permission.

It looks like Apple has adopted the position that it's easier to seek forgiveness than permission. Not that they're seeking forgiveness, mind you. It all boils down to the privacy enforcement measures available, I suppose. To think that I chose this juggernaut based on its respect for individual rights and privacy.

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