How to Turn Off Location Services on Your iPhone or Android

Don't get tracked by an app if you don't want to be

turn off location services
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Our smartphones leave digital tracks everywhere we go, including our physical locations. The Location Services feature of your phone figures out where you are and then supplies that to your phone's operating system or apps to deliver useful information to you. In some cases, though, you may want to turn Location Services off.

Whether you've got an iPhone or Android phone, this article explains how to turn Location Services off completely and how to control which apps can access it.

Why You Might Want to Turn Off Location Services

Most people enable Location Services when they set up their iPhone or Android phone. It just makes sense to do that. Without that information, you couldn't get turn-by-turn driving directions or recommendations for nearby restaurants and stores. But there are some reasons that you might want to turn off Location Services entirely, or limit which apps can use them, including:    

  • Privacy: The downside of your smartphone knowing where you are right now, and where you've been, is that this creates a record of your movements. You may not want your movements and other data stored on the servers of companies who may use that information in ways you don't like. 
  • Battery Life: Because Location Services rely on wireless networking to figure out where you are, your phone is constantly looking for and connecting to networks (for more on how Location Services work, read How to Turn On Location Services on Your iPhone or Android. This can be a big drain on the battery, so when you're looking to save battery life, turning off Location Services is a good step.

How to Turn Off Location Services on iPhone

turn off location services on iphone

Disabling all Location Services so that no apps can access them on the iPhone is really simple. Just follow these steps:   

  1. Tap Settings. 
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Move the Location Services slider to off/white.

How to Control Which Apps Have Access to Location Services on iPhone

Control app access to Location services on iPhone

When Location Services ​are turned on on your iPhone, you may not want every app to have access to your location. Or you might want an app to have that access when it needs it, but not all the time. The iPhone lets you control access to your location this way:

  1. Tap Settings. 
  2. Tap Privacy.
  3. Tap Location Services.
  4. Tap an app whose access to Location Services you want to control.
  5. Tap the option you want:
    1. Never: Select this if you want the app to never know your location. Picking this may disable some location-dependent features. 
    2. While Using the App:  Only let the app use your location when you've launched the app and are using it. This is a good way to get the benefits of Location Services without giving up too much privacy.
    3. Always: With this, the app can always know where you are even if you're not using the app. 

How to Turn Off Location Services on Android

turn off location services on android

Turning off Location Services on Android completely blocks use of those features by the operating system and apps. Here's what to do:

  1. Tap Settings. ​​
  2. Tap Location.​
  3. Move the slider to Off.

How to Control Which Apps Have Access to Location Services on Android

Control app access to Location services on Android

Android lets you control which apps have access to your Location Services data. This is helpful because some apps that don't really need your location may try to access it and you may want to stop that. Here's how:   

  1. Tap Settings.
  2. Tap Apps.
  3. Tap an app whose access to Location Services you want to control.​
  4. The Permissions line lists Location if this app access your location.​​
  5. Tap Permissions.
  6. On the App permissions screen, move the Location slider to off.​​​
  7. A pop-up window may remind you that doing this could interfere with ​some features. Tap Cancel or Deny Anyway.