A state-run Chinese broadcaster has labelled the iPhone a threat to national security because of a function on the device that allows it to track and time-stamp a user's location.

China Central Television (CCTV) reported that the Frequent Locations function found on iPhones running the iOS 7 mobile operating system contained a "gold mine" of data.

The CCTV broadcast reportedly cited revelations about the US National Security Agency that emerged last year through leaks from former contract worker Edward Snowden.

A researcher interviewed by the broadcaster called the tracking information "extremely sensitive data", according to Reuters. They went on to claim that if the data was compromised then China's economic situation and "even state secrets" could be revealed.

Apple has not responded to a request for comment on the matter.

The company's share in the mainland China smartphone market stands at around 7%, according to research firm IDC, making it the fifth largest smartphone vendor in the world's largest smartphone market.

Last year, a photo that showed the wife of China President Xi Jinping using an iPhone caused controversy, as it followed a month-long state-media attack on Apple for its warranty practices in China.

Apple CEO Tim Cook has since publicly apologised after being accused of discriminating against Chinese consumers.