Tech

Android Location Tracking and How to Effectively Stop It

By Jean Pierrie A. , Aug 27, 2020 03:24 AM EDT
Android Location Tracking and How to Effectively Stop It (Photo : Masakaze Kawakami)

Android location tracking gives you the ability to use your Android device as a sort of real-time location beacon. Say you've just moved in to a new city. You'd like to know where to find furniture shops nearby. You've just built your own gaming PC, and having a computer desk is the only thing that's stopping you from comfortably playing over the weekend.

What you just need to do is open your Maps app and search for any Ikea stores around your area. While you're at it, you might want to check too if your place has some good restaurants close by. Location tracking and its similar services are really helpful. However, why do some people show concern about it?

How does Android Location Tracking work?

Simply put, your phone has a location-tracking chip. It sends and receives information from GPS satellites, cell towers, and believe it or not, even public WiFi networks that are nearby.

Once sufficient data is gathered, it then displays all relevant information mostly in real time. You'd often see this on your Maps app. Whenever you're driving, isn't it a wonder that your phone can give you frequently accurate directions to your destination? It doesn't even stop there. Suppose you've misplaced your phone. Using another registered device, you can use it to track your missing phone. It's such a nice feature to have especially when you're always busy with the everyday hustle and bustle of life.

How to turn it off

Before proceeding, take note that disabling location tracking can reduce your apps' functions. Sometimes, they won't even work at all.

Now that we've cleared that up, head over to your phone's quick settings tray by swiping down on your home screen. Look for the Location icon. If you can't find it, swipe down again. You can edit its location on your quick settings so it'll be already visible on the first try. Simply tap on it to enable or disable it. This method allows you to quickly get location access when you're out on a photography assignment or just enjoying a walk in your local park. Once you want location tracking to be disabled, just tap on that icon again.

The method above is quite a simple one. If you want a thorough clean, you need to go to your phone's Settings app. Once there:

  • Look for "Accounts" and select the Gmail account you want to change.
  • Go to "Manage your data & personalization".
  • Search for "Activity controls". You can turn off or pause your phone's automatic activity monitoring
  • If you want to have a more detailed look, select "Manage your activity controls".

For third-party apps that uses location tracking, just go to the Location page. Select "App permission". You'll then see a list of apps that have permission to access your location. You have three options here:

  • Allowed all of the time
  • Allowed only while in use
  • Denied

Additionally, turning off location tracking gives your phone more battery to last at least an entire day. This is helpful when you're running low and there's no power outlet nearby.

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