How to Disable Location Data on Your iPhone
(Stop your phone from tracking you)
The public is becoming increasingly aware of how much location data is tracked on smartphones including iPhones and Android devices. Awareness of data privacy and tracking issue boiled to the surface when Facebook’s Cambridge Analytica scandal broke into daylight. Even then, the average electronic device user is only mildly aware of how much data, especially location data, their phone or tablet gives away almost constantly. This goes on, many times per day, with the iPhone owner’s knowledge.
Social media giants like Facebook use location tracking to attribute the success of advertising campaigns. Advertisers use pixel tracking on their websites to check on the effectiveness of a Facebook or Google AdWords campaigns. When a person selects an advertisement from their laptop or smartphone and lands on the advertiser’s website, the web page view is tracked as part of the advertiser’s campaign. With a few extra setup steps, the advertisers can also track what pages you visited along with what you purchased.
Google also has this level of tracking, but they use it whether or not you respond to an advertisement. Obviously, apps like Google maps need to know your location to give accurate directions. However, did you know that if you have Google maps installed on your phone, then it is tracking where you are all the time? Unless you shut the Google tracking off!
Apps like Google Maps, the Chrome web browser, YouTube and weather apps track your location via your tablet or smartphone. You may be surprised to see how much data Google collects about your whereabouts – from where you were, how long you spent at a location, to what mode of transportation you used!
Safari users may feel they are immune from Google tracking, but if you use Gmail at all, and log into from Safari web browser, the tracking is there too!
How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking for iPhone
- From Google maps, go to your settings
- In a web browser (which is still in google maps) brings you to myactivity.google.com
- Use the hamburger menu in the upper left corner to choose Activity Controls
- Tap Web & App Activity
- Toggle Web & App Activity off
- Shut Location Settings off
How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking In a web browser (Safari)
This is the easiest method everyone including for iPhone users!
- Go to myactivity.google.com
- From the upper-right corner of your web browser, sign in to your Google Account
- From the left-hand menu, Select Activity Controls
- Turn Web & App Activity off
- Next, turn off Location History
NOTE: Repeat these steps for ALL Google accounts you use!
How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking in Google Maps for Apple iOS
iPhone users can also get to these setting by going to myactivity.google.com
- Tap on your Google Account (in the left-hand navigation bar)
- Find your email and tap it (you may have more than one!)
- Select Manage your Google Account
- Go to Personal info and privacy
- Scroll down to the My Activity section
- From here follow the instructions above for iPhone users
NOTE: This was tested on iPhones as far back as an iPhone 6+
Michelle writes about cyber security as well as how to protect data online. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Michelle published a guide to Cyber Security for Business Travelers