As the recent revelation over Google’s background tracking of your location shows, it’s not as easy as it should be to work out when apps, giant tech companies and pocket devices are tracking your location and when they’re not. Here’s what you need to know about how location tracking works on a phone—and how to disable it. Location information is one of the prime bits of data any company can get on you, whether they want to personalize your weather reports or serve up an ad for a local bakery. As a result apps and mobile OSes are very keen to get hold of it. It’s a compromise though, and if you don’t want to give it away, you’ll have do without some location-based services (like directions to the park). Do you want convenience or privacy? You can’t have both, but know how it works, and when you can or should activate it should help. Location tracking by device If you don’t want your smartphone to report your position to any app or any tech company, then you need to disable the master location setting. It basically stops your phone from knowing where it is (usually done by pinging GPS satellites, cell towers, and even nearby public wifi networks). On Android, head to Settings then tap Security & location, then Location, then turn the Use location switch to Off. If you’re using an iPhone, open up Settings, then tap Privacy and Location Services and turn the Location Services switch to… [Read full story]
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