Allow or Deny Access to Your Physical Location Settings

Managing website geolocation access through your browser

web browser location settings

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Geolocation involves using a combination of digital information to determine a device's physical location. Websites and web applications can access the Geolocation API that is implemented in most popular browsers to learn your whereabouts. This information is then used for a variety of reasons such as providing targeted content specific to your neighborhood or general area.

While it may be nice to be served news, ads, and other items relevant to your particular locale, some web surfers are not comfortable with apps and pages that employ this data to customize their online experience. Keeping this in mind, browsers give you the opportunity to control location-based settings accordingly. The tutorials below detail how to use and modify this functionality in several different browsers.

Google Chrome

  1. Select Chrome's main menu button, marked with three vertically aligned dots and located in the upper right corner of the browser.

    Chrome Privacy and security settings
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Settings.

  3. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and select Advanced.

  4. In the Privacy and security section, select Content settings.

  5. Click the arrow to the right of Location.

  6. Move the slider next to Ask before accessing (recommended) to prevent access to your location without requesting your permission.

    Chrome location settings
  7. In the Block section, enter individual sites you want to block, and in the Allow section, enter individual sites you want to grant access to your location.

Mozilla Firefox

Location-aware browsing in Firefox asks for your permission when a website attempts to access your location data. Take the following steps to disable this feature completely.

  1. Type the following text into Firefox's address bar and select the Enter key: about:config

    Firefox location preferences
  2. A warning message will appear, stating that this action may void your warranty. Select the button labeled I accept the risk! to display a list of Firefox Preferences.

  3. Enter the following text in the Search bar, located directly below the address bar: geo.enabled.

  4. The geo.enabled preference should now be displayed with a Value of true. To disable location-aware browsing completely, double-click on the preference so that its accompanying value changes to false. To re-enable this preference at a later time, double-click on it once again.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Select the Windows Start icon, located in the lower left corner of the screen.

  2. When the pop-up menu appears, select the Settings option.

  3. The Windows Settings dialog should now be visible, overlaying your desktop or browser window. Select Location, located in the left menu pane.

  4. Scroll down to the section labeled Choose apps that can use your location and locate Microsoft Edge. By default, location-based functionality is disabled in the Edge browser. To enable it, select its accompanying button so that it turns blue and white and reads On.

  5. Even after enabling this feature, sites must explicitly ask your permission before using the location data.

Opera

Opera web browser works on Windows, Mac, and Linux systems. It is known for its free and unlimited VPN and its built-in ad blocker. To manage Opera's location settings:

  1. Enter the following text into Opera's address bar and press the Enter key: opera://settings.

    Opera Privacy and security settings
  2. Click or press the arrow next to Advanced in the left pane to expand the section.

  3. Select Privacy and security in the left pane to jump to that section of the settings.

  4. Click the arrow to the right of Content settings.

  5. Click the arrow to the right of Location.

  6. Use the slider to the right of Ask before accessing (recommended) to prevent access to your location without accessing your permission first.

    Opera location settings
  7. In the Block section, you can enter specific sites you want to block, and in the Allow section, you can enter specific sites you want to allow tracking for.

Internet Explorer 11

  1. Select the Gear icon, also known as the Action Menu, located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.

  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select Internet Options.

  3. IE11's Internet Options interface should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Select the Privacy tab.

  4. Located within IE11's Privacy Options is a section labeled Location which contains the following option, disabled by default and accompanied by a checkbox: Never allow websites to request your physical location. When activated, this option instructs the browser to deny all requests to access your physical location data.

  5. Also found within the Location section is the Clear Sites button. Anytime a website attempts to access your location data, IE11 prompts you to take action. In addition to having the ability to allow or deny that individual request, you are also given the option to blacklist or whitelist the respective website. These preferences are then stored by the browser and used on subsequent visits to those sites. To delete all of those saved preferences and start anew, select the Clear Sites button.

Safari for Macs

Safari is the default web browser that ships with all Mac computers. To access or deny access to your physical location in Safari:

  1. Click the System Preferences option in the Dock.

    Safari Security & Privacy Preferences
  2. Click Security & Privacy

  3. Select the Privacy tab.

  4. Click Location Services in the left panel.

  5. Enable or disable location services by placing (or removing) a check in front of Enable Location Services. You may need to click the lock in the bottom left corner before you can make the changes.

  6. Place a check in the box in front of Safari to enable location services for the browser. Remove the check to prevent Safari from sharing your location.

Vivaldi

Vivaldi is a free cross-platform web browser that was launched in 2016. It is the most customizable of the popular web browsers.

  1. Type the following into your browser's address bar and press the Enter key: vivaldi://chrome/settings/content.

  2. Vivaldi's Content settings should now be displayed in a new window, overlaying the existing interface. Scroll down until you can see the section labeled Location, which contains the following three options; each accompanied by a radio button.

  3. Choose between:

    • Allow all sites to track your physical location: Lets all websites access your location-related data without requiring your explicit permission each time.
    • Ask when a site tries to track your physical location: The default and recommended setting, instructs Vivaldi to prompt you for a response each time a website attempts to utilize your physical location information.
    • Do not allow any site to track your physical location: Prevents all websites from using your location data.
  4. Also found in the Privacy section is the Manage Exceptions button, which permits you to allow or deny physical location tracking for individual websites. Any exceptions defined here override the above settings.