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How to turn off location services on your iPhone

If you don’t want your apps knowing too much about you, you can always turn off location services.

iphones fanned out
Image: Unsplash

It’s really handy to open the Maps app on your iPhone and see where you’ve been or the local weather given to you every time you open the Weather app. That power can be misused though, and you might be worried about apps having access to your location data.

On your iPhone, location services track you through your GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and your cellular signal to figure out exactly where you are, within a few feet or so. That’s useful if you lose your phone, as Find My can track your device even when it’s turned off. It’s not so useful for your personal privacy, so you want to be careful which third-party apps have access to your location data.

Here’s how to audit which apps use your location services on your iPhone, and how to change the settings if you find any you don’t want tracking you.

Here’s how to lock down your Location settings on your iPhone

One of your iPhone’s great strengths is knowing where you are at all times, so it can give you relevant information that you may need.

Open Settingsios settings app
Scroll down to Privacy and tap on itios privacy menu
Tap on Location Servicesios privacy settings menu showing location services option
Scroll all the way down to System Services and tap on itios privacy settings menu showing system services
Choose which services you want to disable from using your Location. This is the entire iOS list of system services, and some of them you won’t want to disable. Things like Setting Time Zone or Cell Network Search should stay on, as those tie into calling, texting, and data browsing. Some things you could turn off if you’re not using them include HomeKit or Location-Based Suggestions.ios privacy settings menu showing location services toggles
From the Location Services screen, you also see a list of apps installed on your device. The list also shows which option they’re set to currently.ios privacy settings menu showing app list
Tapping on any of the app names gets you the following screen, where you can set Location Access to either Never, Ask Next Time Or When I Share, or While Using The App. You can also toggle Precise Location off if you want to keep Location Services on but you don’t want the app to know exactly where you are.ios privacy settings menu showing individual app options

You can also completely turn Location Services off by using the toggle at the top of the page, but it’s not recommended. Some apps and services absolutely need to be able to access Location Services, like Maps or Weather, or even Phone. Turning them off will impact your iPhone experience.

If you really need to turn off tracking for whatever reason, you can tap that toggle. Just know your iPhone won’t be tracking anything if you do, even FindMy if you lose your device.

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Maker, meme-r, and unabashed geek with nearly half a decade of blogging experience. If it runs on electricity (or even if it doesn't), Joe probably has one around his office somewhere. His hobbies include photography, animation, and hoarding Reddit gold.

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