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How To Disable Precise Location Tracking On iPhone Or Android – Geek Review

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Justin Duino / Geek Review

Smartphones that know our exact location are not new; Chances are you’ve already downloaded an app that wants your location data. And while that’s fine, many apps don’t need to know your location, but they do anyway. This is how you can prevent apps like Instagram from tracking your precise location on your iPhone or Android.

A viral image making the rounds on Instagram and TikTok alerts users to disable the “precise location” setting on their iPhone for select apps, and it’s only gaining traction. So what is this pinpoint location feature, what does it do, and how can you turn it off? Read on for all the details.

What is precise location?

The precise location feature was first introduced to iOS as a system-level setting in 2020. It made its way to iOS 14 for iPhone, iPad, and watchOS 7. Additionally, Google added a similar system-wide location setting with Android 12. in 2021.

Essentially, the apps already had your precise location. Only now Google and Apple let users choose to enable or disable it.

For what it’s worth, both iPhone and Android already offer multiple location control features, including the option to grant apps access to your location once or only while a specific app is in active use. The “precise location” switch adds to that and gives users added peace of mind.

Most phones and apps use GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, or all three to determine your location. However, the precise location feature will allow you to control whether an app knows your exact location or only has access to approximate location data.

We are talking about apps like Instagram, Facebook, Google Maps, Uber, TikTok, Postmates and others. Maps and navigation apps need accurate data, but it’s up to you to decide if others deserve that information.

How to disable precise location on iPhone

Now that you know about the precise location option on iPhone, you probably want to disable it in certain apps. With iPhone, there are two different ways to access this privacy tool.

For apps like Instagram, Facebook, or anything else you already use frequently (that’s not a newly downloaded app), you’ll need to head into settings and turn it off for each app.

navigate to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > touch the app, and your Location Settings> scroll down and tap the Precise location change change it off. You can see examples in the screenshot gallery above.

Then touch and return to the “Location Services” list of apps and repeat the process for any other apps you’d rather not share your exact location with. As a reminder, you’ll only see this option if the app already has access to your location.

Or, when you open an app for the first time, a pop-up will appear asking you to grant it access to location information. From here, it will let you choose to “Allow once”, “Allow while using the app”, or “Don’t allow”. When that popup first appears, tap the “Accurate” button near the center left of the prompt to disable accurate location data.

How to turn off precise location on Android

The process is almost the same for Android, just with slightly different wording. You can quickly access this menu on Pixel devices in the “Privacy Dashboard”. On Android devices, go to Settings > Location > App permissions > find and tap the app you’d like to change > and touch the Precise location change and change it off. You can see examples in the screenshot gallery above.

Then press again and return to the list of apps, and repeat the steps on any other apps you want to revoke access to your information for.

As a reminder, you’ll only see this option if the app already has access to your location. Otherwise, you will not have the precise location switch.

When should you keep precise location enabled?

google maps

It’s important to mention that you’ll probably want to leave the precise location option enabled for specific apps or features on your device. A good example is a ride-sharing app like Uber, which needs pinpoint accuracy to send a driver to your location. The same goes for Apple or Google Maps, Waze and other navigation services.

Also, you’ll want to keep this feature enabled in something like wearOS and other default apps that many people use to track phones and accessories. If you disable all location data, you won’t be able to use apps like Find My Phone to recover a lost or stolen device.

Remember that apps won’t have your exact information when you “check in” to Facebook or add your location to an Instagram story once you do this. However, you should still be close enough to tag a restaurant, monument, or other places along your travels.

If you’re worried about apps knowing your every move, disabling precise location on your iPhone or Android only takes a few seconds. It’s that easy.


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