How to stop apps from tracking your location on your iPhone or Android phone

The phone that you carry with you every day has access to your location data and knows exactly where you are and exactly where you have been in the past. If you feel that infringes upon your privacy, what is worse, is that there could be many third-party applications accessing this data from your phone. But worry not, we have put together a guide that will help you stop apps from tracking your location.

Find out which apps have location data access, and which ones need it

Before you start cutting off apps’ access to your location data, a good first step would be to do an audit of what apps actually have access to your location data. After that, you need to figure out which of these apps actually need your location data to function. For example, you probably want Google Maps to have access to your location data if you use it for navigation and other purposes. Here is a list of common apps that could be accessing your location data.

Social media apps: These are some of the most notorious apps that track your location and in many cases, location tracking is completely unnecessary. If these apps are tracking your location data, it could be a good idea to cut them off.

Ridesharing apps: Ridesharing apps like Uber and Ola need to track your location so that the drivers know where to come. But at the same time, they may also do it constantly, even when you have not booked a ride. There usually isn’t a good way to turn off location tracking for these apps without disabling it completely.

Streaming apps: Even video streaming apps like Netflix and Prime Video will track your location and the usual reason for this is to deal with geo-restricted content.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the kind of applications that could be tracking your user data and there could be many more different app categories that are engaged in user location data collection. But once you have figured out what these apps are and whether you want them to track your location, you can go on to begin restricting them from tracking your location.

How to restrict specific apps from accessing your location data on Android

If you want to, you could turn off location access for all apps but that could mean that many of them stop working altogether or in some cases, you will see a loss of functionality. Here is how you can restrict specific apps from accessing your location on your Android phone.

1. Go to settings

2. Click on the “Apps and notifications” option

3. Click “App Permissions”

4. Scroll down till you see the “Location” option and click on it

At this point, you will see all the apps that have access to your location and they will typically fall into four categories: allowed to access your location all the time, allowed to access when in use, allowed only after it asks for permission and not allowed. You can move apps between these categories depending on how you feel about each app in its own context. Do note that there could be small differences in the process based on the phone you are using but it shouldn’t deviate too much from the above.

How to restrict specific apps from accessing your location data on iOS

The process is similar on iOS > If you want to turn off location tracking on your iPhone or just restrict certain apps, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, where you can choose to toggle Location Service completely off or pick and choose the apps that can have your location.

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