Ever get the feeling that someone is watching you? Smartphone technology has revolutionized our lives but raised concerns about privacy. Location sharing, for example, can help us by letting navigation apps and ride-sharing services know where our devices (and usually us, too) are. However, sharing your location can lead to issues involving privacy, security, and even faster battery drain, especially if you don’t know it’s happening.
Thankfully, you can adjust your iPhone’s privacy settings to turn off location sharing, or at least minimize the amount of tracking information you’re sending elsewhere. This will allow you to control the data collected and shared with apps and services, and disabling Location Services is quick and easy on iOS.
How to turn off location on an iPhone
1. Open the Settings app, then click on Privacy & Security.
2. Select Location Services.
3. Turn off the green toggle switch to the right of Location Services at the top of the screen.
4. Confirm that you want to disable location sharing by tapping Turn Off in the pop-up menu. Turning off Location Services will turn off location sharing for all apps on your iPhone at once.
- Note: Disabling Location Services will also make it unlikely that someone will be able to track your phone, if you’re worried about that.
How to turn off a hidden location option in your iPhone’s System Services
Buried among all the other options in the iPhone’s Location Services menu is System Services, and the options there are both important and easily overlooked. Disabling all or some of these will help you ensure greater privacy, increased battery life, and that it’s harder for companies and people to track your location.
[Related: Hidden iPhone settings that feel like secrets]
For the purposes of this guide, though, we’re focusing only on a feature called Significant Locations, which tracks where your device goes in an effort to figure out which places are particularly important to you.
1. Go to the Settings app, tap Privacy & Security, and select Location Services. Scroll down to the bottom of the page and select System Services.
2. Find Significant Locations and toggle off the switch next to it.
How to hide your location on an iPhone
Hiding your location on an iPhone is similar to turning off Location Services entirely. To hide your location from specific apps, such as Apple’s Find My app, follow the first three steps from above. After tapping on Location Services, scroll down to find the app that you don’t want to access your location (Find My, in our example). You can then turn off Location Services for that specific app (choose Never), or select While Using to limit its access to your location data.
You may have heard that airplane mode will hide your location, but it won’t—not entirely, at least. Airplane mode turns off all wireless connections on your iPhone, including cellular data, WiFi, and Bluetooth, so your phone won’t be able to share your location that way. But Location Services uses GPS, which operates independently, so some apps and services may still be able to see your device’s location while your phone is in airplane mode.
How to temporarily stop sharing your location on an iPhone
You can enable the Do Not Disturb mode to temporarily stop sharing your location on your iPhone. To do so, swipe down from the top right corner of your screen (or up from the bottom on older models) to open the Control Center. There, you will see a crescent moon icon representing Do Not Disturb. Tap on it to turn the mode on or off. When enabled, this feature will stop your device from sending location updates to apps and contacts.
As mentioned above, you can also manually turn off location sharing for specific apps by going to the Location Services settings and individually adjusting the permissions for each app.
How to pull your iPhone location history from a computer
You can view your iPhone’s location history on a computer via iCloud’s Find My app.
On your phone, go to the Settings app and tap on your Apple ID at the top. Then, select Find My and ensure the toggle next to Find My iPhone is turned on. Only then will the following steps work.
1. Log in to iCloud.com using your Apple ID and password.
2. From there, click the Find iPhone icon and select your device. You can view your iPhone’s location history on a map and access other features, such as remotely locking or erasing your device.
Q. Can people see location on iPhone photos?
Yes, if you have enabled Location Services for your camera app, people can see the location on iPhone photos. This means that when you take a photo, the location data is embedded in the photo’s metadata, allowing others to view it if they can access the photo’s information.
Q. Does the iPhone alert you when someone checks your location?
No, the iPhone does not alert you when someone checks your location. However, others can only see your location if you have explicitly shared it with them through apps like Find My or Messages.
Q. Does turning off your phone stop location sharing?
No, even when your phone is turned off, certain apps or services may still be able to access your last known location data. To stop location sharing, you must disable Location Services and revoke app permissions to block them from accessing your location.