Location services are a built-in part of the online experience of nearly everyone. However, some experts have started to raise concerns about privacy when it comes to location tracking. That’s why, in recent years, it’s become more of a movement to turn off your cell phone’s location services when you’re not using the feature.
If you’re invested in your privacy, it might be a great step to take. After all, it’s likely that you have your phone with you whenever you leave home. If you’ve enabled location tracking, companies can build a pretty complete picture of who you are just from where you happen to frequent. Instead of continuing to allow your phone to note where you are as much as it wants, here are some reasons to consider turning location tracking off as a default.
It’s Not Very Hard to Do
Some ways to increase your privacy are useful, but can be challenging. For example, you can opt for a P.O. box if you’d rather not get mail at your home address. However, managing a P.O. box can be time-consuming–you have to go to an offsite location to get your mail–and expensive to rent. On the other hand, disabling location services only takes a few taps and less than 15 seconds. To disable location services on iOS 11 or later, just go to Settings, then Privacy, then Location Services. You can disable services entirely, or make decisions about location services for each of your apps, both downloaded and built-in.
While it’s true that you might want to turn location services on and off multiple times a day, such as if you’re going to play a VR game or you want to see nearby restaurants, it only takes a few seconds every time. At the end of the day, those few seconds could help you retain an extra bit of privacy. In this day and age, every bit counts.
It Keeps Background Location Processes from Running
Before iOS 11, you generally only had two options: allowing an app to use your location all the time or not allowing it at all. Now you have another option: only allowing an app to use your location when you’re actively using it. This is a great step forward for users, as it provides a built-in option to only allow apps to use your location under certain conditions. However, if you occasionally shut off your location services altogether, you can still allow apps to use background location services sometimes.
Another perk to turning off location services is less about privacy and more about function. Those background location services drain a substantial amount of battery, and turning it all off can give you a serious battery life boost. Where you may have been scrambling to plug your cell phone in the moment you got home from work, now it may be running above 50% even after an 8-hour shift! Battery improvement will vary, of course, but one thing is for sure: even if the extra privacy doesn’t necessarily interest you, the boost in battery life very well might.
Protect Yourself from Iffy Apps
In most cases, applications ask for location data to help you get the correct information. And whether you agree with it or not, such apps can then use that information to provide you with personalized suggestions in the future, including places for you to go and things you might like to buy.
But then there are other apps that, if you think about it, don’t really need your location data to function. They aren’t helping you find a place or pinpoint where to meet a friend. In that case, you should probably think twice before agreeing to share your info. If you think your data may have been used by such applications or sites for potentially bad ends already, look yourself up periodically on an online public records site like PeopleFinders. By performing a public records search on yourself, you can verify that your info is correct and, if it’s not, take steps to fix it.
Turning off your cell phone’s location services is simple. Even better, it can improve your privacy and give you a happier, healthier, longer-lasting phone. Whether you plan to turn off location services entirely or just want to give the list of location privacy settings a quick once-over, it’s a good idea to revisit it every so often.
To read more about how to protect your online privacy, be sure to check out the PeopleFinders blog.
Photo Credit: pkproject – stock.adobe.com