One of the best things about smartphones is the worst thing about them. You can pinpoint your exact location, allowing apps and services like Uber, Uber Eats, and even traditional navigation with Apple or Google Maps over old paper maps. Unfortunately, this means that you are also open to apps peeking at your location for no other reason than that. And if you have an iPhone, it means that some apps (like Instagram) are able to see files precise your location.
Oftentimes, this is harmless. However, a worrying number of companies have data leaks or data breaches, or they only store data when they shouldn’t (Meta I just paid a large sum of money to settle a case like that), and sometimes there is no point in giving away your home address to an online company if there is no good reason for it.
While it’s easy to turn off location on your phone in bulk, some apps won’t work without location services enabled for them. Apple provides a way around this.
With the addition of exact location switching in iOS 14, you’ll still be able to provide apps with a location, not your exact location. You’ll definitely be in the right city, but the company won’t tell them you’re on 13 Down The Lane Street. Here’s how to get started.
Step 1: Open the Settings app.
Step 2: Go to Site services Submenu either by searching for “Location Services” on the main Settings page or by navigating to it through it Privacy > Site services.
Step 3: Find the app you want to disable from accessing your exact location – for example, Instagram.
The fourth step: Once you click on the app, you will see a toggle switch at the bottom of the page that says Exact location. Slide the switch button.
With this setting, your Instagram (or TikTok or whatever app you choose) will still be obscure, but there’s no way to narrow it down. Apple has had quite a few privacy protection tools that have been built into iPhones over the years, and this is just one of the most immediately useful.
However, its use is a matter of judgment. If you use Instagram and hope to see photos of the local area, this will work for you. If you are using Uber and want to connect for a ride, turning off the exact location may cause some problems.
As with most features on your phone, the exact location on your iPhone is not inherently harmful. In fact, it is very useful to have in some scenarios. But if you’re worried about certain apps knowing exactly where you are, the exact location on your iPhone can be turned off in seconds — and add some much-needed peace of mind.