How to Turn Off Location Services on Android?

Mark Kreitzman
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April 7, 2023
Modified On
April 7, 2023

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Location services on Android can be turned on and off without you knowing correctly.

There's a reason why apps ask permission to use your location regularly, even if they work fine without it. Many organizations, such as Google, rely on your location data to give accurate weather forecasts or the most up-to-date traffic events.

In some circumstances, apps may just require your location data for market research purposes. If you're unsure what information you're transmitting or want to remain anonymous, here's how to turn off location services on Android phones.

Note: While it's simple to turn off location services entirely on your iOS or Android smartphone, you can also turn them off for specific apps. Because some apps rely upon location services to work, you may want to make some exceptions.

Disable Location Services on Android

Android versions work on "stock" and custom interfaces depending upon the manufacturers. The procedure, though, should be comparable enough to follow.

We will use Samsung S20 with Android 10 running under OneUI of Samsung.

To disable location services on Android, follow these steps:

Step 1: Open "Settings" from the app drawer or go to them via the top right corner of your notifications panel.

Step 2: Tap on the "Location".

Step 3: Toggle it "Off".

Disable Location Services on Android for Specific Apps

Specific apps run on Android's location services. If you frequently use Google Maps or apps that may use location, you may not want to disable the location services on Android. If you don't, you can disable the location services for the specific app instead of the whole.

Follow these steps to do so:

Step 1: In the "Location" settings, go to "App permissions".

Step 2: Select the app you want to disable the location services for.

Step 3: Make sure you toggle "Deny".

Disable Google Location Services

No matter what Android you use, Google will have its location-specific apps running and turned on in the background.

If you are privacy paranoid, follow these steps to disable these Google Location Services:

Step 1: Go to the "Location" in the settings.

Step 2: You will find Emergency Location Service, Google Location Accuracy, Google Location History, Google Location Sharing, and Location in Search.

Step 3: If you find it "On", you can disable it by tapping and toggling them Off.

One-time Access

You can allow apps to request one-time access to location services on Android to complete specific tasks. When the notification appears, select "Only this time" to allow the app to access your location for a single time before disabling it (iOS has a similar feature). This is a great way to get specific information without giving an app broad access.

The Bottom Line

The privacy implications of location tracking data, which is at the centre of our modern life, are rarely discussed. The information about a person's whereabouts is susceptible. It's not so much about personal privacy but a web of interconnections. If you're a data breach victim, you're not the only one who suffers; anyone with whom you have a relationship also suffers.

What is the answer? Keep a close eye on the apps you download and the rights you provide. Be aware of the implications of allowing location services.

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Mark Kreitzman
General Manager, Efani Secure Mobile

I am General Manager at Efani Secure Mobile. I have over 20 years of experience in enterprise cybersecurity, including 8 years focused on mobile security. I have a high level of achievements and expertise in the Service Provider Alliance/Partner space. I am positioned at senior levels with SPs/Resellers such as AT&T, Verizon, Cisco Systems, and many others. I have deep experience in SaaS, cybersecurity, telecom, mobile & blockchain.

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