Do you feel that there is always someone watching you where you are? If so, we don’t want to scare you, but you’re probably right. The apps on your phone often include a tracker that tracks what you do and where you go. If you want a little more privacy, there is a way to disable tracking apps. We will help you find out who is tracking you and how to end it, for both Android and iPhone devices.
The data about your location and the places where you are going are coveted by all types of companies. Advertisers want to reach their chosen demographic in the right place with their advertising; companies want to know which stores you visit and even how you move within them
Many companies find it valuable to collect large amounts of data to extract information that they can sell to anyone willing to pay. While location tracking and tracking data is generally anonymous before being sold, it can reveal an alarming amount of information about your activity.
It’s not just about where you shop, it’s about all the places you go, which can include a variety of personal situations that you don’t want to share – for example, a visit to a prenatal clinic, or an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. . In one way or another, this data reveals potentially sensitive details about your life.
Find out which apps have access to location data
It’s a very good idea to start with a review of the apps on your phone that have access to your location data. There are legitimate reasons for many apps to track you, so be aware that denying access to tracking may prevent some from working properly.
A navigation app like Google Maps, for example, won’t be as useful if it doesn’t have access to your location. Common applications for monitoring monitoring include:
Rideshare appsApps like Uber and Lyft will track your location for their drivers, and they may do so constantly, not just when you need a ride. Generally, there is no way to disable location tracking for these apps without disabling them.
Deals and coupons apps– These apps try to collect as much information from you as possible for advertising purposes, and that tends to include your location data.
News and weather appsThese apps track your data, in part to provide more specific information based on where you are. But they usually don’t need to to work.
Streaming ApplicationsYes, even apps like Netflix will track your location, and they don’t really have a good reason to do so, except to potentially deal with geo-restricted content.
Social media apps– Some of the most infamous location trackers!
Auto insurance applicationsMany of these apps can use your phone’s sensors not only to verify your location, but also to calculate how fast you are driving or how fast you brake, etc.
If you have an Android device and want to disable location tracking entirely, then it’s easy to do, although the precise instructions may differ slightly from phone to phone. At the moment, most follow a similar route, but this may change with updates.
On a Samsung Galaxy S20 Plus, go to Settings> Location and disable it.
On a Huawei P40 Pro, go to Settings> Location and disable it.
This will disable all location tracking, so no apps will have access anymore. It also means that, in theory, Google and the phone manufacturer will not track or save your location, although there is evidence that it will anyway and you may still receive ads based on the location of your IP address.
Unfortunately, turning off location entirely also means that you can’t track your phone if it gets lost, you can’t see or share your location on Google Maps or other map services, and some other services and apps may not work as well as otherwise they would.
Another setting worth considering if you want to limit Google tracking is your web and app activity. You can find complete instructions on how to control and eliminate searches and Browsing activity, which sometimes also includes location, from Google.
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If you decide that turning off location tracking entirely is a step too far, you can turn off specific apps that you would rather not have location access for. Again, the instructions will vary a bit depending on your phone.
For example, on a Pixel, go to the app Settings> Location> App permissions.
On a Samsung Galaxy, go to Settings> Applications> Menu (three dots in the upper right)> Application permissions> Location.
On a Huawei phone, go to Settings> Applications and notifications> Permissions> Your location.
Go through the list and disable any features you prefer that don’t have the ability to track your location.
The setup is a bit easier with iOS, so if you want to disable location tracking on your iPhone, or simply restrict certain applications, you should go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services, where you can choose to disable Location Services. completely.
Keep in mind that this will affect some services and apps, such as Maps and Find My iPhone, so it could be a step too far. However, it is worth noting that location services can be re-enabled on the device if it is in lost mode. You can put your iPhone in lost mode via iCloud.
In Settings> Privacy> Location Services, you will also see a list of apps that have access to location data and you can tap each one and decide if it should be allowed to access your location Never, while using the app or Forever.
Now that you’ve prevented various apps and services from tracking your location in the future, you might be wondering if you can delete the location data that companies have already collected about your movements.
If you have an Android phone, you can ask Google to delete your location history. Just follow that link, make sure you are logged into your Google account and tap the button Delete location history.
Keep in mind that you will permanently delete the information and you will not be able to recover it. You can log into your Google account on any device to delete your history in this way.
If you want to permanently stop Google from every use of location data again, visit this web page after you are done. Where says Location history, make sure the option is disabled.
This is also a menu where you can see past activities that Google has been tracking in addition to location, so it may be worth examining.
Apple does things differently – your iPhone constantly monitors where you are so you can put together a list of important locations, places you go frequently and spend time (work, home, cafes, bars, parks, and anywhere else).
Apple does this to automate destinations in the Maps app and reports that the data is encrypted and not even Apple can access it, but if you find it invasive, you can stop it.
If you have an iPhone, go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services and scroll down to search System Services> Important Locations. Login if necessary and then look for the button Delete history on the bottom. Select this option to delete past locations.
If you don’t want Apple to track this information again, make sure the switch at the top is off before closing Settings.
However, they most likely have already sold your data by that time. There is no law that legally requires companies to help you in the United States.
If you are a resident of the European Union, there are certain laws that protect you. Legally, you can request a personal copy of all the information that a company has stored about you, including your location data.
In addition to the right to request such data, you also have the right to ask them to delete it. For additional information on how to request your data and your privacy rights, you can explore the guide on the Information Commissioner’s Office from United Kingdom.
Although it is your legal right, you may have to give up some hopes to protect your data. If you want to increase your privacy, there are ways to protect yourself. We recommend using one of the best VPN apps on your device.