How to turn off location tracking on Android and iOS devices

There is often a trade-off between privacy and convenience when it comes to technology. The same service that can tell you that there is a good restaurant nearby, or that automatically displays your boarding pass at the airport can also be used for bad deeds. Below we will tell you how you can turn off location tracking on Android and iOS devices if you really want to.

What kind of location tracking does Android do?

The first time you set up your Android device, you will be asked if you want to share your location data. If you answer yes, then Google will automatically add your movements to your location history, which you can view in the Timeline section of your Google account.

Location history “helps you get useful information.” Google says, such as automatic travel routing or better search results by creating a custom map that links your registered devices, alongside some auto-suggestions that may help you in various situations.

But not every person is completely comfortable with every step being monitored. If you lose your device, the data could be used by someone with malicious intent. If you were a thief, wouldn’t it be great to know not only where the potential victim lives, but also when he leaves and returns from work?

It is also possible that your location data may one day be used against you in court, especially if it indicates that you are going somewhere (or have already been there) where you should not be. And of course, some people don’t like organizations like Google that want to know every aspect of their lives.

On the other hand, you’re missing out on some of the things that make Android so enjoyable. Google Assistant is less useful if it doesn’t know your favorite places, and some apps are not very useful without enabling location services. However, using less GPS can save battery power.

How to turn off Android location tracking

There are two ways to keep Google from knowing where you are. On your computer, go to > Then move to “Location History” and then click on “Stop Location History”. The pop-up will tell you some information and will provide a link where you can completely delete your location history.

On an Android phone, this can be done very easily:

  • Open the settings;
  • Scroll down to the Security & Location section, then click on Location;
  • In the upper right corner you will see an on/off switch. Use it to enable or disable location services;
  • Go to Location> Google Location History, there will also be a slider in the upper right corner that allows you to turn Location History on or off.

How to delete location history on Android

if you want to delete your location history, you can also do it this way:

  • In the “Location History” section, click on the three-dot icon in the upper right corner, then click on “View / Manage”;
  • Click on the three dots again, then click on “Settings;
  • You should now be in a section called “Personal Content”;
  • Here you can delete all location history or select “Delete Location History Range” to delete only part of your location history.
  • Once deleted, this information cannot be recovered.

How to turn off location tracking on iPhone or iPad

If you have an Android phone and an Apple tablet, or an Android tablet and an iPhone, you will also need to check the location settings for iOS. Apple can store your location data and transfer it to apps. To turn it off, go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services.

If location services are enabled, you should probably see a list of apps, an icon showing whether location services are enabled or disabled for that app, and a small arrow if it recently used your location data.

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There is another screen, System Services, which allows you to turn off the use of your location at the system level for features such as location-based advertising, web browser assistive search, time zone setting, etc. Just turn off any services that you want to close.

How to enable Android location tracking

If you’re looking for advice from Google Assistant, or if you’ve decided your movements aren’t interesting enough to worry about what other people might know about them, it’s easy enough to enable location tracking on Android. This time, all you have to do is:

  • Open settings;
  • Go to the “Location” section (or “Security and location”);
  • Use the on-screen toggle button in the upper right corner to turn on location tracking.
  • Click on “Google Location History” and use the on-screen button to activate.

The process will be similar for Apple devices: go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services and use the toggle buttons to re-enable the services.

How to know if an app is tracking your location

You can check this in the device settings. In iOS, for this you need to go to “Settings” > “Privacy” > “Location Services”. The last section contains a list of applications that can collect geodata. In Android, you need to open “Settings” > “Security and location” > “Location” > “App permissions”.

Any application that collects geodata can share it with third parties if it is specified in the “Privacy Policy”.

But users rarely read it. In addition, the phrases in the Policy is often confusing and veiled. For example, applications that collect geodata for ads say they will use it for market analysis or “business purposes.”

What applications collect users’ locations

There is no complete list of such applications. The easiest way to find out about it is to check in the settings which programs have access to the user’s location data.

Often these are applications that relate to where the person is. For example, weather, travel, shopping and dating. Users are more likely to include geolocation in them.

Can location data be removed from databases

The information collected can be stored and used by many companies. Moreover, location data is not linked to a phone number or name, but to an ID. Therefore, it is difficult to identify and remove them.

In the EU, since this year, the GDPR has been in effect – the general data protection regulation. It gives users the right to request a copy of their data from the company and request that it to be deleted.

What is the disadvantage of disabling Android location tracking?

You will lose some of the things that make Android so good. Google Assistant will be less informative if it doesn’t know your favorite places, and some apps aren’t very useful without enabling location services. On the other hand, less GPS usage means less battery drain.

What do you think? Does the usefulness of location tracking on Android outweigh the potential privacy concerns. Or should we limit the amount of information we share with these companies and services? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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1 Comment

  1. Kevin Fanch
    August 31, 2020

    Great but what is the point in deleting data once it has reached Google servers? How do you know they don't have backups of your data, or that they have not already shared it with another company? I prefer using /e/ OS from e foundation , it doesn't let your data reach Google at all!