With so much of your life wrapped up in your iPhone, maintaining your privacy and security is crucial.
There are several features on your phone that you are better off without, for the sake of your security, but one stands out above the rest. According to security experts, this is the one iPhone setting you NEED to turn off right now.
Unbeknownst to you, your iPhone could be tracking your every step — and then using the information that it collects about your whereabouts to sell your data to advertisers. If that sounds terrifying to you, there’s one setting you must turn off: Location Services.
“I recommend turning off location services,” says Chris Hauk, consumer privacy champion at Pixel Privacy. “However, I do not recommend turning it off system-wide, but instead I would do it on an app-by-app basis. Apps like Apple or Google Maps, weather apps, and some others really need to use your location for efficient operation. However, the McDonald’s app or a grocery store’s app will likely only use location services to alert you to new offers and deals to entice you to go into their stores.”
Location services allow you to be tracked wherever you go — not just by Apple, but as well as any third-party apps to which you’ve granted permission to use location services, says Paul Bischoff, privacy advocate with Comparitech. “Locations and times can reveal personal details about your life and habits that you probably don’t want strangers to know about, such as when you leave home, where you shop, where you work, or where your kids go to school.”
When you use Location Services, apps can map out your daily real-world travels, much like a browser cookie can track your online travels, Hauk says. The worst thing that can happen is, “if this information is hacked, the bad actors of the world or even law enforcement can use the information to track your location,” Hauk says.
What can you do to protect yourself? Take a few seconds out of your day and disable the service.
“On a regular basis, I go into my iPhone’s Settings app, and then tap Privacy” -> Location Services,” Hauk says. “In this section is a list of every app currently using Location Services. If you tap on each app’s name, you’ll see an explanation of why the app is using the services. If I don’t believe the app needs that access, I can restrict it or turn it off completely. I can also restrict the app’s access to my precise location.”
Chances are: you won’t miss Location Services and prohibiting apps from accessing your location can go a long way toward protecting your privacy.