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Android location tracking setting
© Tero Vesalainen |

This simple Android location setting saves your privacy

Privacy is more important than ever. Beyond fraud and identity theft risks, access to your information could also impact personal safety.

Your phone doesn’t need your exact location at every given moment. It doesn’t need to know where you are unless you use a program like Google Maps.

Fortunately, one setting on your Android phone helps you take back some privacy. Keep reading for a simple way to cut down on location tracking.

Look up the apps that use your phone’s location

On your home screen, swipe down from the top.

  • Tap and hold the Location setting. If this isn’t immediately visible in your Quick Settings menu, tap on the pencil icon or the Settings cog and drag Location into Quick Settings.
  • From the Location menu, tap on App location permissions.
  • Choose an app. From here, you can choose from Allow all the time, Allow only while using the app, Ask every time and Don’t allow.
  • Alternatively, you may see the headings above when an app is allowed to use your location. Tap those to see which apps have that permission enabled.

Here’s what each permission means.

  • Allow all the time: Apps that can always access your location.
  • Allow only while using the app: Apps that use your location when they’re open and active.
  • Ask every time: Apps that can use your location only with authorization each time.
  • Not Allowed: Apps that cannot use your phone’s location for any purpose.

If you want to change an app’s permission, tap the app icon and set your preferred location access. This must be done individually for each app.

What we recommend

Your location feature is helpful in many situations. You don’t have to block it for every single app. Instead, you should be picky with which apps you allow location access.

This is what we recommend:

  • Turn off location access for all apps as your default.
  • Go through and set individual apps to ask for your location permission every time it launches.
  • Only allow full access when using an app for navigation, such as Google Maps.

There’s one more trick up our sleeves so you can still use location features without risking personal safety or using exact data.

Set your location to approximate for improved personal safety

For apps that you wilfully allow access to location information, follow these steps to improve privacy without losing location-based benefits.

  • Tap and hold an app to change location settings.
  • Tap App info when it appears.
  • Tap Permissions and select More, then select All Permissions. You may also see Location on this screen.
  • On the Location screen, you’ll find the four location options we walked through above.
  • Locate the toggle that says Use precise location. Turn this off to prevent access to real-time information on your precise location.

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