iOS 9.3 Alerts Enterprise Users When Devices Are Being Tracked

Reddit user MaGNeTiX has discovered that Apple is beefing up its transparency efforts with iOS 9.3: Customers who use an iPhone managed by an institution or enterprise through MDM are informed if their device is being tracked (via 9to5Mac).

You may recall that one of the direct results of Apple’s legal battle with the FBI over the iPhone 5c unlocking (the device used by Syed Farook, one of the shooters in the San Bernardino slaughter) is a future security and privacy update that Apple says it is coming to iOS.

As a first step, the company seems to be focusing on increasing transparency with the upcoming iOS 9.3 software update. As discovered by the Reddit user, users are now clearly informed in the About page of Settings and Lock Screen.


On the About page the following line appears: “This iPhone is supervised. [Company Name] can monitor your Internet traffic and locate this device.”


On the Lock Screen, on the other hand, there is a permanent info display that reads: “This iPhone is managed by your organization”.

iOS 9.3 is currently in beta but is rumoured to be available to the public this month as Apple prepares to hold a media event. Although the event was – allegedly – first scheduled for mid-March, it was pushed back by one week, so possibly on March 21 we will see the next-gen 4-inch iPhone and the next-gen 9.7-inch iPad dubbed as the iPad Pro.

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  • Anthony ?

    I’d say “tracked” is a bit of an exaggeration, more like “managed” IMO. My employer uses an MDM solution (I’m the admin) to manage company owned devices, and I can neither track these devices or monitor Internet traffic on them. While these notices will only appear on devices that are Supervised using Apple Configurator, they are somewhat overkill given that many MDM solutions aren’t used for this purpose.

    Simply Supervising a device doesn’t allow me to track or locate anything, and even with an MDM configured to do so you’re still at the mercy of a user who may simply choose to disable location tracking, rendering that function inoperable in any case.

    The unfortunate side effect of such generics warnings is users calling folks like me asking why I’m “tracking and monitoring” their phone when in reality I’m not. From that perspective, it’s annoying.

  • einsteinbqat

    Do you mean to say that it is not possible to do such thing, or that it is possible, but each company may elect to doing it or not.

  • Anthony ?

    It’s possible (location tracking anyway, unsure about traffic monitoring), but definitely not something that’s done by default. I dislike it when Apple puts these generic worst-case, uneditable messages on all devices regardless of what’s actually being done to them (or not). They already do this during the MDM enrolment process, warning the user that we “might” do things we don’t do, leading to a lot of unnecessary consternation on then user’s part and time spent explaining to them that no, we can’t read their text messages or see their pictures, etc. They tend to phrase these warnings in the worst case sort of language, regardless of what’s actually being done to the device, and it gets tiresome.

  • einsteinbqat

    I think that they have no choice because users would not think of complaining to the employer, but rather to Apple. Must be a legal thing.