AVG Signal Blog Privacy Privacy Tips How to Turn Off Location Services on iPhone

Written by Anthony Freda
Published on April 24, 2023

How to turn location off on iPhone

You can turn off iPhone location sharing by going to the Privacy menu in your device Settings and toggling off Location Services. This means all apps — and even iOS itself — won’t be able to access your location data. Although your privacy will be increased, Maps as well as other apps and features that use your location won’t work properly.

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    If you’re happy with your phone tracking your location to conduct background system functions and give you a more personalized experience, and you just want to restrict certain apps from having access to your data, it’s also possible to disable Location Services for specific apps.

    Follow our step-by-step guide below to learn how to turn off location services on your iPhone and find the right privacy settings for you.

    Turning off Location Services on iPhone

    Wondering how to turn off your location on an iPhone? Here’s how to completely disable Location Services for all apps:

    1. Open Settings and tap Privacy.

      To turn off Location Services on iPhone, go to Settings and Privacy.
    2. Tap Location Services and then tap the toggle next to Location Services so that it turns grey (off).

      A view of Location Services settings in iPhone, with the switch toggling all Location Services switched to off.

    Now, your iPhone is no longer using your location for any of its functions, which can help prevent your phone being tracked.

    Why you need to turn off Location Services on iPhone

    Turning off Location Services can help to protect your privacy by minimizing the amount of personal data your phone collects and shares with your apps and contacts. An additional benefit is that the reduced background processing leads to increased battery life and can even help stop your iPhone from overheating.

    You should always turn off the location on your iPhone if you suspect that spyware or another form of malware has slipped onto your device. That will help prevent any malicious use of your location data while you take steps to remove the spyware from your iPhone.

    In general, though, iPhone Location Services help you use your phone and its apps as they’re designed. You won’t be able to do much with your Uber app without location services turned on. If you turn off iPhone location, you’ll lose access to features like:

    • Rideshare location services

    • Live directions on Maps

    • Nearby event recommendations

    • Geofencing

    • Photo location tags

    • Automatic time zone switching

    • Severe weather warnings

    • Find My iPhone features

    • Search results that include “near me”

    Find My iPhone is especially important, because it helps you track your phone’s location if it’s lost or stolen. Your iPhone is arguably more secure with this feature turned on — you can use it to wipe the phone remotely to prevent unauthorized access.

    But even if you decide not to turn off Location Services completely, you can still disable it for any apps that don’t actively require location data to work properly.

    How to turn off Location Services for specific apps on iPhone

    Turning off Location Services on individual apps helps you privacy and functionality.

    Here’s how to disable location on an iPhone for specific apps:

    1. Open Settings, tap Privacy, and then tap Location Services.

      A view of the location services settings in iPhone. Apps like Camera and Deliveroo are shown.
    2. With Location Services toggled on, you’ll see a list of all the apps that use Location Services. Tap on the app you’d like to configure.

      A view of more apps shown in Location Services settings.
    3. Choose the level of location access you want to grant the app by selecting Never, While Using the App, Always, or Ask Next Time (meaning that the app will need to ask for permission each time you use it). You can also set whether the app can use your precise location or an approximate location.

       A view of the Google app's location services. It shows options for Allow Location Access: Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App, and Always.

    That’s how to disable location on an iPhone for specific apps. In addition to customizing your settings, remember the top tips for iPhone security, and install one of the best iPhone security apps to boost your security and privacy even further.

    How to disable location on iPhone System Services

    There are lots of iOS background processes that use your location. Thankfully, it’s also possible to customize the access your iPhone’s System Services have to your location information.

    Here’s how to do it:

    1. Open Location Services within the Privacy section of your device Settings. With Location Services toggled on, scroll down to the bottom of the apps list and tap System Services.

      A view of Location Services settings in iPhone. System Services at the bottom is circled.
    2. Then, simply toggle Location Services on or off for each service listed according to your preferences.

      A view of system services whose location services can be turned on or off.

    To help you decide what you want to enable or disable, here is a rundown of what each service does:

    • Apple Pay Merchant Information displays the appropriate merchant name according to your location.

    • Cell Network Search logs your phone’s connections to cell towers and sends data to Apple.

    • Compass Calibration enables your iPhone’s internal compass.

    • Device Management helps you securely and remotely configure devices and networks.

    • Emergency Calls & SOS provide a precise location to first responders.

    • Find My iPhone helps you track down a lost or stolen iPhone or even remotely wipe data.

    • HomeKit works with smart homes to make things around the house happen automatically.

    • Location-Based Alerts let you see local weather or news alerts.

    • Location-Based Suggestions let you get notifications about local events.

    • Motion Calibration & Distance help you track your fitness and walking activity.

    • Networking & Wireless records how you use your Wi-Fi.

    • Setting Time Zone automatically updates the time zone when you travel.

    • Share My Location is a feature in iMessage that shares your live location with a person or group of your choice.

    • System Customization changes how the phone works and behaves based on where you are in the world.

    • Significant Locations note where you spend the most time and give you relevant information about those places.

    • iPhone Analytics tells Apple how the iPhone behaves under your ownership.

    • Routing & Traffic helps Maps to give the best directions possible by analyzing your location and the traffic around you.

    Be discerning about which services you want to disable. When in doubt about a specific service, it’s probably best to keep it enabled so your phone behaves the way you’re used to.

    How to turn off Location Services in the Find My iPhone app

    Find My iPhone is a useful tool for tracking down a lost or stolen iPhone, and it can be used to prevent sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands. If you’re sure you don’t need those safeguards and want to disable Find My iPhone by turning off Location Services, here’s how to configure your location preferences via the Find My iPhone app:

    Open Find My iPhone, tap Me in the bottom right, slide the screen up, and toggle Share My Location so that it’s off (grey).

    Turning off Location Services on the Find My iPhone app.

    If you’ve set up Find My iPhone so that individual contacts have access to your location, you can also turn off Location Services for specific people by tapping People in the bottom left, selecting a person from the list, and tapping Stop Sharing My Location.

    How to disable Location Services in the iMessage app

    Sharing your location in iMessage is a convenient way to keep friends and family updated on your ETA, or give them peace of mind that you got home okay. But you probably don’t want them following your every move, 24/7. Here’s how to shut off location on iPhone by turning off Share My Location for specific contacts in iMessage:

    1. Open iMessage and select a chat thread with the contact you want to disable location sharing with.

    2. Tap the person’s name at the top, tap the Info icon (the “i” with a circle around it), and tap Stop Sharing Location.

    Improve your digital privacy to avoid tracking

    Turning off Location Services on your iPhone can help protect your privacy, but it also risks turning your device into a not-particularly-smart smartphone. And it doesn't hide your location or prevent web tracking completely. To really strengthen your privacy, you need a VPN.

    By channeling all of your online communications — the data and messages you send and receive — through a secure, encrypted tunnel, AVG Secure VPN helps keep your online activity hidden from snoops, hackers, web trackers, advertisers, and even your ISP. Try AVG Secure VPN for free today.


    Can my iPhone be tracked if Location Services is off?

    Yes, your phone can be tracked if Location Services is off. Hackers and anyone else trying to track you online will have a harder time finding you when Location Services is off, but disabling the feature doesn’t provide the airtight online security and other benefits of a VPN.

    How do I turn off Location Services completely?

    Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and toggle the switch next to Location Services to off (so that it’s grey). That turns off Location Services completely, disabling almost everything that uses your location, including background processes.

    How do I secretly stop sharing my location?

    Nobody is notified when you stop sharing your location, so to discreetly turn off location sharing on your iPhone, you simply need to turn off Location Services. But keep in mind that if you were sharing your location directly with a contact in iMessage or another location-sharing service, they’ll see that it’s been disabled the next time they try to find your current location.

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    Privacy Tips
    Anthony Freda