Can an iPad that's been turned off be tracked?
March 4, 2014 9:39 AM Subscribe
My company recently issued iPads to my colleagues and me. Most of us are pretty happy about it, because, among other things, they will replace a lot of paper we had to lug around. There is a vocal minority, however, that fears the iPads will allow the company to track us, even when they're turned off.
posted by dinger to Technology (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The iPads include a Mobile Device Manager, in this case Mobile Iron, which allows the company to issue updates and keep certain proprietary software up to date. Some of the more paranoid among us have taken to emailing dire warnings that the iPads will allow the company to track our whereabouts and usage, even when they're powered down. A Google search turns up nothing about this either way, perhaps because it's such a clumsy search to find the right words for.
I wouldn't normally pay much attention to the lunatic fringe, but I'm in a position where many people ask me if the tracking allegations are true. Before I condemn the "tracking" faction as tin-foil hat wackos, I'd like to know for sure.
My response up to this point has been, "No. An unpowered device has no way to broadcast it's position, or to respond to interrogations." But lately I've been wondering: Is it possible for a mobile device to remain partially powered when ostensibly turned off, similar to the old "instant-on" TV's which maintained a very low power state as long as they were plugged in? Could such a low-power state allow the device to be awakened, or otherwise powered up?
Note, this is not a question about the various settings on the iPad that allow for privacy, location services, and restrictions. I'm intimately familiar with those. I simply want to know if the folks who are alleging nefarious tracking capabilities for an unpowered device are being silly.