Do you feel that someone is always watching and following you where you are? If so, you are probably right. Smartphone applications often include tracking that checks what you are doing and where you are going. If you want to get a little more privacy, you can turn off this tracking.
Find out which applications have access to your location data.
To start with, it's a good idea to review the applications on your phone that have access to location data. There are good reasons why many applications track your location, so remember that denying access to location tracking may prevent some of them from working properly. For example, a navigation application such as Google Maps will not be as useful if you do not know where you are.
How to prevent location tracking on an Android phone?
If you have an Android device and want to turn off location tracking completely, it's easy to do it, although the exact instructions vary slightly from phone to phone.
In Google Pixel 3, go to Settings> Location and switch Disable location.
On Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus, select Settings> Connections> Location and turn them off.
In Huawei P20 Pro, go to Settings> Security and privacy> Location services and turn off Access to my location.
This will disable tracking of all locations, so no applications will have access to it. It also means that, in theory, Google will not track or save your location, although there is evidence for it. You can still receive ads based on your IP address location.
Unfortunately, turning off your location completely also means that you can't track your phone if it goes missing, you can't see or share your location on Google Maps, and some other services and applications may not work as well as before.
Another setting to look out for if you want to limit Google tracking is your online activity and apps.
How to limit specific Android applications?
If you decide that turning off location tracking completely is a step too far, you can still turn off specific applications. Again, the instructions will differ slightly depending on the phone.
For example, in Pixel, select Settings> Location> Application permissions.
In Samsung Galaxy it is Settings> Applications> Menu (three dots in the upper right corner)> Application permissions> Location.
On Huawei phone it is Settings> Applications and notifications> Permissions> Your location.
How to prevent location tracking on iPhone?
In iOS, things are a bit simpler, so if you want to turn off location tracking on your iPhone or just limit some apps, you need to go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services, where you can turn off Location Services completely.
Remember that this will affect some services and applications, such as Maps and Find My iPhone, so this may be a step too far. However, it's worth noting that location services can be re-enabled on your device if it's in lost mode. You can switch iPhone to the mode lost by iCloud.
In Settings> Privacy> Location services you will also see a list of applications that have access to location data, and then you can tap each one and decide if they should be allowed access to your location.
What about location data already registered?
Now that you have prevented various applications and services from tracking your location, you may be wondering if you can delete data that companies have already collected about your movements.
If you have an Android phone, you can ask Google to delete your location history. Just click the link, make sure you are logged into your Google account, and press the red Delete Location History button. Remember that this will permanently delete your information and you won't be able to recover it.
If you have an iPhone, go to Settings> Privacy> Location Services and scroll down to find System Services> Significant Locations, then tap Clear History at the bottom. Apple claims that this information is encrypted and cannot be read by Apple, so this may not be necessary.