How to prevent your Android apps from accessing your location

Tired of being tracked by your apps?

These days a staggering amount of apps require access to your location when common sense dictates they don’t really need it.

Understandably, most Android users don’t welcome the idea of being tracked by their apps. If you are among those who are concerned about your privacy, the good news is that there are ways to prevent the applications you installed on your phone or tablet keeping track of your whereabouts at all times.

Obviously, it makes sense for some apps like Google Maps to access your location, but why would a harmless RPG game need to know where you are? It doesn’t and here’s what you can do to stop it from doing so.

How to turn off (all) apps in Android 6.0 Marshmallow and beyond

  1. Take out your smartphone and access its Settings menu
  2. Go to Personal>Location
  3. You’ll see a Location toggle at the top of the screen which you can deactivate or activate back again by virtue of a single tap
  4. If you don’t want to turn Location completely off, there are three other options to choose from which allow you to customize things a little bit.

  • High accuracy – takes advantage of all options, including GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth and mobile networks to pinpoint your location
  • Battery saving – uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and mobile network, but not GPS
  • Device only – only uses GPS, not Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or mobile networks

But what if you use apps like Google Maps quite frequently? Then you will have to learn how to set app permissions.  Here’s how to do it.

How to set individual app permissions

  1. Open Settings again
  2. Go to Personal>Apps>App permissions (Configure apps/App settings and then App permissions on other models)
  3. Tap on Location

  1. From here you will be able to select which apps you want to have permission to your device’s location. Taxi apps like Uber or flight booking apps like Momondo should definitely have permission, but for apps like Yahoo Mail, WhatsApp or Instagram you don’t really need it at all times.

Now if you have a phone or a tablet running Android 4.3 to 5.1 here’s how to go about disabling Location on your device.

  1. Go to Settings>More> Permission and tap the on/off toggle at the top of the screen
  2. Like with the newer versions of Android, you can change the method of location reporting by tapping Location>Mode. You can choose between the same three options: High Accuracy, Power Saving, and GPS only.
  3. Scroll down through Location to see a list of all the apps that have requested info about your location.

How do you turn off location tracking for individual apps in an older version of Android? Well, you’ll need to download an app like AppOps to do that. You can get it from the Play Store, it’s free.

  1. Once installed, open the app on your phone. You’ll see all the apps you’ve installed and the permissions each one has on your device.
  2. When you tap on a certain app, the first permission you see will be Location. Tap on the toggle to turn the permission Off and you’re done!

Are you concerned about your apps tracking you or are you more than happy to leave them alone to do their own thing? Let us know what you think, in the comment section below.