Stop being Tracked - How to Turn Off Locations on iPhone

Do you ever feel like you’re being tracked with your phone? The ‘Locations’ feature on iPhone can be helpful when using Maps or transportation apps, but it can also feel like an invasion of privacy by tracking where you are at all times. If you want to turn off Locations for your iPhone, this article will show you how.

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Bradley | Sep 27,2021
Reporter for five years, interacted with individuals working in the technology industry.

Stop being Tracked - How to Turn Off Locations on iPhone

Preface:

Do you ever feel like you’re being tracked with your phone? The ‘Locations’ feature on iPhone can be helpful when using Maps or transportation apps, but it can also feel like an invasion of privacy by tracking where you are at all times. If you want to turn off Locations for your iPhone, this article will show you how.

Perhaps you don’t want to entirely disable Locations, did you know that you can select which apps to provide location permissions? This gives you much more control of your phone and your whereabouts. This article will share comprehensive tutorials for turning off Locations for specific apps on your iPhone.

If you want to limit Locations with “Find My” or “iMessage”, this article will clearly spell out how to stop sharing your location with friends and family. This article will help you get control of your privacy and sharing of information through your phone by limiting Locations.

  1. Turn off Locations on iPhone Completely
  2. Turn off Locations for Specific Apps
  3. Turn Off Location for iPhone System Services
  4. Turn Off Locations and Stop Sharing Your Locations

1.Turn off Locations on iPhone Completely

The direct way to turn off all Locations services for your iPhone is in Settings. This turns off Locations for all apps, and will stay off unless you change it back. This will stop your iPhone from tracking you, it helps save battery life and protects your privacy.

Keep in mind that apps such as Maps, Find My and others may lose functionality without Locations turned on. Also, if you download a new app or visit some websites they may request your Location, in order to access these you might turn Locations back on just for a brief moment, with the intention to turn it off again. However, if you forget to turn it off afterwards, Locations will be resumed on your phone and will continue tracking you until you turn it off manually in Settings.

Steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  2. Slide the button to “Off”
  3. If asked to confirm disabling Location Services, select “Turn Off”
  4. turn off location service

2.Turn off Locations for Specific Apps

If you want to turn off Locations for some apps, but not entirely disable Locations on your phone, you can do that manually on your phone. This means going into the Settings of each app and changing the permissions. There are four options for Locations on your apps: (1) Never, (2)Ask, (3)While Using App and (4)Always.

  1. Never: Means Location Services for this App are turned Off at all times. This prevents access to Location Services information. It is the highest level of privacy protection.
  2. Ask Next Time: This means that you will be asked if you want to permit Location Services or not. It gives you a great deal of control, but can be annoying to be prompted about locations frequently. The options here are: Always While Using App, Allow Once, or Don't Allow.
  3. While Using the App: This means that Location Services will only be activated when the app is accessed, or its features are on your phone’s screen. The status bar (along the top of your screen) should turn bright blue to let you know Locations Services is on. You may also see a message that says an app is accessing your location, too.
  4. Always: This gives on-going permission for an app to know your location, even if the app is in the background and not being actively used. You may change this later if you decide to do so.

Note: Some apps may only allow two or three of these options, depending on their capabilities.

Steps:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services Note: Keep Location Services ON for the next steps.
  2. Scroll down to view a list of your phone’s apps, choose individual apps from this list to adjust Location Services
  3. Each app will provide 2-4 options for the level of privacy you choose (Always, Never, ect).
  4. After you have selected your desired Location Services feature, your selection should appear to the right. Apps that you have not made a selection for will have a blank space to the right.

3.Turn Off Location for iPhone System Services

There are some system services which work on your iPhone’s background, supporting basic functions which may use Location Services. System services can see exactly which apps you have provided location access, so in a manner, you are still being tracked. How can you turn these off to stop your iPhone from tracking you - completely?

Here are ways to see System Services working:

  1. An arrow with empty space inside indicates an app or program may receive your location under certain conditions, and shows your general proximity but not exact location.
  2. An arrow that is colored purple indicates that an app or program has recently used your location.
  3. A grey colored arrow indicates that an app or program has accessed your location recently (in the past 24 hrs).

How to turn System Services OFF:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services Note: Location Services must be turned ON to complete the next steps.
  2. Scroll down, past all your phone apps and select - System Services
  3. Many phone services will appear in a list. You may edit these individually, if you like. Some options include: location-based advertisements, Time-zone settings or location-based alerts.
  4. Another option is to scroll to the bottom and select “Significant Locations”.
  5. You will be asked for your Apple ID or Passcode to continue.
  6. You may disable “Significant Locations” by turning it ‘OFF’ at the top, or you can search through the list and edit as you desire.
  7. You may also “Clear History” and remove this data from your phone’s memory However, clearing the data does not stop Significant Locations from collecting new data, you must turn it OFF to disable this System Service.

4.Turn Off Locations and Stop Sharing Your Locations

Method 1: Turn off ‘Find My’ app

Your iPhone has an application called “Find My”. The purpose is to locate your phone if it is ever lost or stolen. This feature designed to keep your phone safe works by tracking your location, which can also feel like an invasion of privacy. If you want to disable this feature, follow the steps below:

  1. Go to: Settings and select your Apple ID (the first option listed)
  2. Tap “Find My” option from the list that appears.
  3. After selecting, you will see the “Share My Location option. If the button beside it is green, this means you are sharing your location. Slide the button (the color should change to grey) to turn Location Services OFF.
  4. This is the official Apple Method, you can read more at Apple’s support page, here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT212023
  5. Find My App

Some versions of iPhone allow you more options with a feature called “Precise Location” - this gives your exact GPS location through Find My. If you turn off “Precise Location”, but keep Location Services ON, your phone will show your general area, such as the city or town where you are, but not your exact location.

Method 2: Turn off Find My app without Apple ID via LockAway

You must have your Apple ID and password in order to turn off ‘Find My’, or access System Services. If, for any reason, you cannot remember your password or your Apple ID, then you cannot complete the above steps.

What’s the answer for this predicament? LockAway. This program allows you to access your iPhone even if you’ve forgotten your Apple ID or password, and can help you protect your privacy, including turning “OFF” Location Services.

First of all, remove your phone’s passcode. The exact steps are listed below:

  1. Download the LockAway software to your personal computer. LockAway works with both Windows and Macs.
  2. Connect your iPhone to the computer with a USB cable.
  3. The software will request to bypass your Apple ID, click “Start Now” when prompted.
  4. The software will finish removing your Apple ID and password, and notify you when completed.
  5. Now, you can easily turn off “Find My” without your password or Apple ID.
  6. Mobitrix LockAway - Unlock Apple ID - Home

Some other options available to users once they have removed their Apple ID with LockAway:

  • They can change their Apple ID or create a new one. This is a great option if a parent is giving their kid their previously used iPhone.
  • Now you can enjoy all iCloud services and Apple ID features, under any Apple ID you choose.
  • This allows users to turn off Find My iPhone/iPad easily.
  • Users can stop being tracked by the previous Apple ID and ensure an increased level of privacy.

LockAway software is a professional tool that gives users the power to make changes to their phone, even if they have forgotten their Apple ID or password. If you want to disable “Find My” on your iPhone, but you’ve forgotten your Apple ID or password, LockAway can help.

Method 3: Turn off iMessage

Did you know that iMessage uses your Location Services, too? Many users are not aware of this, so they turn off Location Services for all kinds of apps, but don’t change iMessage. Something different about Location Services with iMessage is that you must change each individual contact/conversation’s settings, and when you do so, they will be notified that they can no longer see your location. Here is how to turn off Location services for iMessage, which can save your phone’s battery life as well as protect your privacy.

Steps:

  1. Open Messages App
  2. Edit each conversation by the contact name
  3. Select the ‘information’ symbol to the lower right of the contact’s profile
  4. Select “Stop sharing my location”
  5. turn off imessage

Note: If you want to provide temporary location information to this contact, you have some options to choose from. For example, if you are meeting up with someone in an unfamiliar location and they are lost, you can provide location services for 1 hour only, or until the end of the day. This gives you the power to decide how and when a contact can see your exact location.

Remember, your contact will receive a notification that you have changed your location settings preferences, so it is not advised to change this oftenly.

Summary

There are several methods for turning off Location Services on your iPhone. You have the control here, you decide if you want to disable all Location Services, or choose the permissions you grant specific apps. Turning OFF Location Services provides you a higher level of privacy and it also can save your phone’s battery life.