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How to Manage App Location Tracking on Android: Step-by-Step. Your device knows a lot about you, including where you are. Android has made big improvements in privacy recently, especially regarding who can access your info. Nowadays, apps on Android have to ask your permission before they can see things like your location. These permissions put you in charge of which apps can follow your movements. Let’s break down the tools you can use to control how apps track your location on your Android phone.
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How to Manage Location Permissions on Android
When an app wants to know your location on Android, you’ve got a few choices:
- Don’t Allow: You can say “no” and stop the app from knowing where you are.
- Allow All the Time: This means the app can use your location anytime, even in the background.
- Allow Only While Using the App: This limits the app to seeing your location only when it’s open and active.
- Ask Every Time: If you’re not sure, you can make the app request permission every time you use it.
But here’s the thing, not all apps offer all these options.
You might see different choices depending on the app.
Choosing Between Precise and Approximate Location
When you give an app permission to know your location, you can choose between precise and approximate:
Approximate Location: The app can tell you’re in an area of about 3 square kilometers (a bit more than 1 square mile).
Precise Location: This lets the app pinpoint your exact location. Now, because Android devices and software can vary, these steps might not be the same on every device. If things don’t match up, look online for instructions that fit your device better.
Here’s how to set your preferences:
- Open your device’s Settings and go to Location (Refer to the screenshots in the previous section on how to go about it).
- Tap on “App location permissions” to see the list of apps that want your location.
- Select an app to see its Location permissions.
- If location access is turned off, switch one of the other options on.
- Some apps might ask you to choose between these options when you first open them, so you don’t have to dive into your settings every time.
- Now, while “Approximate Location” might seem like a good choice for most apps, it’s not the best for everything. Use it for apps like weather or ones that only need to know your general area.
- For apps like maps, ride-sharing, and food delivery, you’ll want to keep “Precise Location” on. If you notice location issues in other apps later, turning on “Precise Location” can help fix them.
Checking Which Apps Have Location Access
Giving apps permission on Android is easy, but sometimes you do it without thinking much. Android makes it simple to see which apps can use your location, all in one place within the Settings app:
- Open Settings > Location.
- Choose “App location permissions.”
- Android will show you a list of apps that can access your location, organized by permission level.
- The last section shows apps that don’t have access.
READ ALSO: How to Stop Facebook from Tracking Your Location
Checking Which Apps Recently Used Your Location
In addition to seeing which apps have location access, Android also keeps track of when an app uses your location and other important permissions.
Here’s how to check it:
- Open Settings > Security & privacy.
- Tap on “Privacy” and select “Privacy Dashboard.”
- Choose “Location” to see the Location usage page.
- Here, you’ll find a 24-hour timeline of apps that recently accessed your location and when they did it. By default, system apps and services won’t show up here, but you can include them by tapping the three-dot menu at the top right and selecting “Show system.”
- If you can’t find the Privacy Dashboard on your Android, you can explore other Android apps that help manage permissions similarly.
Allowing Location Access Only When You Use an App
Some apps need your location to work correctly, but you might not want them to track you all the time. To keep control, you can let them access your location only when you’re actively using them:
- Go to Settings and find Location > App location permissions.
- Choose the app you’re interested in.
- Select “Allow only while using the app.”
- If you open the app again and need to use a feature that requires location, it’ll ask for permission.
Stopping an App From Using Your Phone’s Location
If you want to stop an app from accessing your location in the background, follow these steps:
- Open Settings and go to Location > App location permissions.
- Pick the app you want to stop.
- Tap “Don’t allow.”
- If you open the app later and need location access, it’ll ask for permission again.
Managing location permissions on Android doesn’t have to be confusing. With these steps, you can keep an eye on which apps have location permission, check recent location access, restrict apps to only use the location when you’re using them, and even stop apps from using your location altogether.
By following this guide, you’ll have all the tools you need to handle Android location permissions like a pro and take charge of your privacy.