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Many iOS apps ask for precise location tracking permission by default the first time you open them. And it can be easy to forget how many or which apps you’ve given permission to. Here’s how to turn off precise iPhone location tracking.
The main choices when the location tracking dialog appears after opening an app for the first time are “Allow Once, “Allow While Using App,” and “Don’t Allow.”
It’s easy to miss that in the top left corner is a “Precise: On.” It’s actually a button that lets you make the choice to keep the precise tracking default enabled or change it to use your approximate location.
The difference is precise can be as accurate as a specific house or building you’re in (within feet) and the approximate iPhone location shows generally what city you’re in (within miles).
Here’s how Apple describes it, “Allows apps to use your specific location. With this setting off, apps can only determine your approximate location.”
How to turn off precise iPhone location tracking for apps
Note: Some apps may not work as intended without precise location tracking enabled
- Open the Settings app on your iPhone
- Swipe down and choose Privacy & Security
- At the top, tap Location Services
- Choose an app from the list to see if it’s using your precise location
- Look for the toggle next to Precise Location at the bottom, tap to turn it off
Here’s how the process looks to turn off precise iPhone location tracking:
Remember, when you turn off precise tracking, apps can still track your location it’s just not exact. If you want to turn off tracking fully for an app, choose “Never” at the top.
And if you want to turn off all tracking across the board, you’ll need to toggle off the main Location Services switch.
How to check who can see your iPhone location
Apple holds privacy and security as two of its core values and it has detailed resources on how to protect your devices, accounts, and personal safety. Follow along for a look at the recommended steps to check who can see your iPhone location including how to make sure no one can track you.
Apple has a 20-page support guide called “Device and Data Access When Personal Safety is at Risk.” Whether you’ve got personal safety concerns or it’s just time for a privacy and security checkup, the steps below are useful.
Safety Check for iPhone: How to immediately stop sharing location and more in iOS 16
One of the important new features in iOS 16 is Safety Check. Designed as a tool for those at risk for domestic abuse or similar situations, Safety Check for iPhone lets users immediately revoke location access others have – including apps – and also walks through a security review.
Apple is known for its focus on security and privacy, and Safety Check in iOS 16 follows a Personal Safety User Guide that was first published in late 2020 and updated in 2022. It features a number of steps to take to limit iPhone access, limit sharing, and stop iPhone from sharing location data.
Now with iOS 16, instead of needing to go through various sections in the Settings app with multiple steps, users will have a panic button of sorts to immediately disconnect their iPhone from all people, apps, and devices.
Here’s how Apple describes Safety Check for iPhone:
“If circumstances or trust levels change, Safety Check allows you to disconnect from people, apps, and devices you no longer want to be connected to.”
There’s also the option to use Safety Check to manage who you’re sharing with without revoking all access.
And for a very small niche of users, Apple is also going to launch Lockdown Mode, which is different than Safety Check and will help protect against sophisticated cyber attacks.
Safety Check for iPhone: How to use in iOS 16
- Running iOS 16, open the Settings app
- Swipe down and tap Privacy & Security
- Swipe to the bottom and choose Safety Check
- Now you can use Emergency Reset or Manage Sharing & Access – Face ID/Touch ID or passcode is required
- Emergency Reset will immediately reset access for all people and apps and help you review your account security
- Manage Sharing & Access will let you customize which people and apps can access your information and let you review your account security
Here’s how it looks to use Saftey Check for iPhone in iOS 16:
Apple will not notify anyone that you were sharing with that you’ve stopped, but they may notice that sharing has stopped.
You can also tap Cancel or Quick Exit at the top of your screen if you don’t need to use the feature.