Allow or Deny Access to Your Physical Location Settings

How to manage geolocation access through your browser

web browser location settings

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Geolocation is the process of determining a device's location using a combination of digital information. Websites and web applications can access the Geolocation API that's 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's sometimes nice to receive 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 popular browsers.

This guide applies to Chrome 76.0.3809.100, Edge 44.18362.267.0, Firefox 68.0.1, Internet Explorer 11, Opera 60, Safari for MacOS 10, and Vivaldi 2.6.1566.49.

Google Chrome

Google Chrome is one of the most popular browsers available, Here's how to disable its geolocation services:

  1. Select Chrome's Main Menu button, marked by three vertically aligned dots. It's located in the upper right corner of the browser.

  2. Select Settings > Advanced > Privacy and security > Site Settings > Location.

    Chrome Privacy and security settings
  3. Move the Ask before accessing (recommended) slider to toggle it on or off. Turn it on if you want websites to request your permission before accessing your location.

    Chrome location settings
  4. Below that, you can see the Block section and the Allow section. Here, you can see which websites you've given geolocation permissions to and revoke them, if needed.

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. Press the Menu button and choose Options.

  2. Type "location" in the search bar.

  3. Find Permissions in the search results and select the Settings button to the right of Location.

  4. This opens the Settings - Location Permissions dialog box. From here, you can see which websites have requested access to your location and choose to allow or block them.

Microsoft Edge

Here's how to tweak which websites can access your location using Microsoft's latest browser.

  1. Select the Settings and more button (depicted as three horizontal dots) in the upper right corner of the screen.

  2. Select Settings > View Advanced Settings.

  3. Press the Manage button under Website Permissions. Here you can see and change a website's permissions, including location and whether or not it can access your microphone.

    Screenshot of Microsoft Edge's Advanced settings

Opera

Opera uses Google Location Services to track your whereabouts. The first time you go to a website using the browser, it asks you to accept GLS' terms and conditions. After that, Opera will give you the choice of sending your location data, or not, whenever a website requests that information. But, if you want to disable it completely, go to Settings (Preferences on Mac) > Websites > Location and uncheck "Allow websites to request my physical location."

Internet Explorer 11

Here's how to disable geolocation services in Internet Explorer 11:

  1. Select the Gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the browser window.

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

    Screenshot of the Settings menu in IE11 with Internet Options highlighted
  3. Select the Privacy tab.

  4. Find the Location section under Privacy Options and click the checkbox next to 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.

    Screenshot of IE11's Location setting
  5. The Clear Sites button is also found within the Location section. Anytime a website attempts to access your location data, IE11 prompts you to take action. In addition to allowing or denying that individual request, you have 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.

  2. Select Security & Privacy > Privacy > Location Services.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 launched in 2016. It's the most customizable of the popular web browsers.

  1. Type vivaldi://chrome/settings/content into the address bar and press Enter.

  2. You will now see Vivaldi's Content settings in a new window. Scroll down until you find the section labeled Location.

  3. Choose between one of these three options:

    • 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, it 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. You can also find the Manage Exceptions button in the Privacy section. This permits you to allow or deny physical location tracking for individual websites. Any exceptions defined here override the above settings.