Allow or Deny Access to Your Physical Location Settings

Managing Website Geolocation Access Through Your Browser

web browser location settings
Getty Images (Credit: William Andrew #146426075)

This article is only intended for desktop/laptop users running the Chrome OS, Linux, macOS or Windows operating systems.

Geolocation involves utilizing a combination of digital information to determine a device's physical location. Websites and Web applications can access the Geolocation API, implemented in most popular browsers, to better learn your actual whereabouts. This information can then be 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 that comfortable with apps and pages employing this data to customize their online experience. Keeping this in mind, browsers give you the opportunity to control these location-based settings accordingly. The tutorials below detail how to utilize and modify this functionality in several different browsers.

Google Chrome

  1. Click on Chrome's main menu button, marked with three horizontal lines and located in the upper right-hand corner of the browser.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, click on Settings.
  3. Chrome's Settings interface should now be displayed in a new tab or window. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click on the Show advanced settings... link.
  4. Scroll down again until you locate the section labeled Privacy. Click on the Content settings button, found within this section.
  1. Chrome'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.
    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 Chrome 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.
  1. 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.

Mozilla Firefox

Location-Aware Browsing in Firefox will ask 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 hit the Enter key: about:config
  2. A warning message will appear, stating that this action may void your warranty. Click on the button labeled I'll be careful, I promise!
  3. A list of Firefox's Preferences should now be displayed. 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 is changed to false. To re-enable this preference at a later time, double-click on it once again.

Microsoft Edge

  1. Click on the Windows Start icon, located in the lower left-hand corner of your screen.
  2. When the pop-up menu appears, select the Settings option.
  1. The Windows Settings dialog should now be visible, overlaying your desktop or browser window. Click on Location, located in the left menu pane.
  2. 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".

Even after enabling this feature, sites will always need to explicitly ask your permission prior to utilizing location data.

Opera

  1. Enter the following text into Opera's address bar and hit the Enter key: opera://settings.
  1. Opera's Settings or Preferences (varies based on operating system) interface should now be displayed in a new tab or window. Click on Websites, located in the left menu pane.
  2. Scroll down until you see the section labeled Location, which contains the following three options; each accompanied by a radio button.
    Allow all sites to track my physical location: Permits all websites to access your location-related data without prompting you first for permission.
    Ask me when a site tries to track my physical location: Enabled by default and the recommended selection, this setting instructs Opera to prompt you for action each time a site tries to utilize your physical location data.
    Do not allow any site to track my physical location: Automatically denies physical location requests from all websites.
  3. Also found in the Location section is the Manage Exceptions button, which lets you blacklist or whitelist individual websites when it comes to accessing your physical location. These exceptions override the above radio button settings for each respective site that is defined.

Internet Explorer 11

  1. Click on 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. Click on 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 check box: 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, click on the Clear Sites button.

Safari (macOS Only)

  1. Click on Safari in your browser menu, located at the top of the screen.
  2. When the drop-down menu appears, select the Preferences option. You can also use the following keyboard shortcut in place of clicking on this menu item: COMMAND+COMMA(,).
  3. Safari's Preferences dialog should now be displayed, overlaying your browser window. Click on the Privacy icon.
  4. Located within the Privacy Preferences is a section labeled Website use of location services, containing the following three options; each accompanied by a radio button.
    Prompt for each website once each day: If a website attempts to access your location data for the first time that day, Safari will prompt you to allow or deny the request.
    Prompt for each website one time only: If a website attempts to access your location data for the first time ever, Safari will prompt you for the desired action.
    Deny without prompting: Enabled by default, this setting instructs Safari to deny all location-related data requests without asking for your permission.

Vivaldi

  1. Type the following into your browser's address bar and hit 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. 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.