How to Turn Off Location Services on Your iPhone or Android

If you don't want apps to track you, turn off location services

Smartphones leave digital tracks everywhere we go, including a record of 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 (such as sharing your location with friends and family). 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. That just makes sense. Without doing that, 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. These reasons include:  

  • 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. This can drain your 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

Disabling Location Services on the iPhone so that no apps can access your location 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.

    General, Location Services, toggle in iOS Settings

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

You may not ant some apps on your iPhone to have access to your location, but not others. Or you might want an app to have that access when it needs it, but not all the time. The iPhone lets you control apps' access to your Location Services 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:

    • Never: Select this if you want the app to never know your location. Picking this may disable some location-dependent features. 
    • 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.
    • Always: With this, the app can always know where you are even if you're not using the app. 
    Location Services, ABC app, Never in iOS Settings

How to Turn Off Location Services on Android

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

Your Android device may have different options, but you can always search Settings for "Location."

  1. Tap Settings. ​​

  2. Tap Security & Location.​

  3. Tap Location, then move the slider to Off.

    Security & location, Location, toggle in Android Settings

    On a Samsung phone, you'll need to launch Settings, then Biometrics and security, then set the Location toggle to off.

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

Android lets you control which apps have access to your Location Services. 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 what to do:  

  1. Tap Settings.

  2. Tap Apps & notifications.

    You may need to tap "See all Apps" to find your specific app.

  3. Tap an app whose access to Location Services you want to control.​

    Apps & notifications, Fandango app in Android Settings
  4. The Permissions line lists Location if this app uses your location.​​

  5. Tap Permissions.

  6. On the App permissions screen, move the Location slider to off.​​​

    App info, Permissions, Location toggle in Android Settings
  7. A pop-up window may remind you that doing this could interfere with ​some features. Tap Cancel or Deny Anyway.

    On a Samsung device, tap Settings, then Apps, the target app, Permissions. Then turn off the toggle for Location.

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