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Setting Privacy and Location Services Preferences

Using its GPS or network connection, your iPhone’s Location Services feature can determine where the phone is. This is useful in many situations, such as in the Maps app when you want to generate directions. Lots of other apps use this capability, too, such as apps that provide you location-specific information (the Urban Spoon app uses it to determine the restaurants near you, for example). You can configure certain aspects of how these services work. And, if you don’t want specific apps to be able to access your iPhone’s current location, you can disable this feature for those apps. Of course, if you do, apps that rely on this capability won’t work properly (they prompt you to allow access to this service as you try to use them).

You can also determine which apps can access certain kinds of information, such as the apps that are able to access your contact information in the Contacts app.

To configure privacy settings, do the following:

  1. Move to the Settings screen and tap Privacy.

  2. Tap Location Services.

  3. To disable Location Services for all apps, set the Location Services switch to off (white); to leave it enabled, skip to step 6.

  4. Tap Turn Off at the prompt. No apps are able to identify your location; skip the rest of these steps because they don’t apply when Location Services is disabled.

  5. If you have enabled Family Sharing (see Chapter 6 for details), tap Share My Location; if you have not enabled Family Sharing, skip to step 11.

  6. To prevent your location from being shared with people configured under your Family Sharing, set the Share My Location switch to off (white) and skip to step 9. If you leave this switch on (green), move to the next step.
  7. Tap From.

  8. Tap the device that should be used to identify your location (this only applies if you have multiple devices configured with your Apple ID and Family Sharing).
  9. Tap Share My Location.

  10. Tap Location Services.

  11. Swipe up and down the list of apps on the Location Services screen. These are all the apps that have requested access to your iPhone’s location. Along the right side of the screen, you see the current status of Location Sharing for the app. Always means that the app can always access your location. While Using means the app can only access your location information while you are using it. Never means that using location information for the app has been disabled (some apps won’t be able to work properly when set to this status). Apps marked with a purple arrow have recently accessed your location; those that have done so within the past 24 hours are marked with a gray arrow. An outline purple arrow indicates that the app is using a geofence, which is a perimeter around a location that defines an area that is used to trigger some event, such as a reminder.
  12. Tap an app to configure its access to Location Services.

  13. Tap the status in which you want to place the app’s access to your location. Some apps only have the Always or Never options while others also have the While Using the App option.
  14. Tap Location Services.

  15. Repeat steps 12 through 14 for each app whose access to your location you want to configure.
  16. Tap System Services.

  17. Enable or disable Location Services for the System Services you see. As with apps, if you disable location services for a system function, it might not work properly.
  18. Tap Location Services.

  1. Tap Privacy. Next, allow or prevent apps from accessing data stored on your iPhone.

  2. Tap the first app on the list; this example shows Contacts. A list of apps that have requested to use the app’s data (in this example, contact information) is displayed. If the requesting app is able to use the app’s data, its switch is on (green).

  3. Prevent a requesting app from accessing the app’s data by setting its switch to off (white). That app is no longer able to use the data it requested (which can inhibit some of its functionality).
  4. Repeat step 21 for each app you see that you want to prevent from accessing the data.
  5. Tap Privacy.

  6. Repeat steps 20-23 for each app on the list. Most of time, you can just leave the permissions with the default setting (unless you want to block a specific app from using a certain kind of data).

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Last Update: November 17, 2020