In a post this morning, Daring Fireball‘s John Gruber says that the tracking data stored by your iPhone and 3G iPad is a bug that will likely soon be fixed.
Citing a “little birdie” (friend inside Apple), Gruber says the consolidated.db file is a supposed to be temporary cache of location data (As we reported yesterday).However, because of a bug — or more likely, a programming mistake — the file isn’t purged of historical data.
I don’t have a definitive answer, but my little-birdie-informed understanding is that consolidated.db acts as a cache for location data, and that historical data should be getting culled but isn’t, either due to a bug or, more likely, an oversight. I.e. someone wrote the code to cache location data but never wrote code to cull non-recent entries from the cache, so that a database that’s meant to serve as a cache of your recent location data is instead a persistent log of your location history.
Gruber bets the oversight will be fixed in the next iOS update. Apple still hasn’t officially commented on the issue, which is a big story in the mainstream press today.