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Keep your location info secure on your iPhone and iPad

Controlling your location data on your iPhone or iPad is an important privacy concern for many. If location data were to get into the wrong hands, it could spell disaster. Control what apps have access to your location data is a great way to help minimize the chances of data of your whereabouts getting into the wrong hands. This simple guide will show you how to control your location settings on your device.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

Apple recently released iOS update 4.3.3 (4.2.8 for the Verizon iPhone 4) to ease consumers fear that Apple was tracking their every move. Even though Apple has taken steps to encrypt and decrease the size of the location cache, third-party developers still have the potential of accessing your location information. This simple guide will explain how to manage which apps can access your location info on your iPad and iPhone.

iPhone on iOS 4.3 and 4.2 Location Services screens Screenshot by Jason Cipriani and Matt Antoniewicz
iPad on iOS 4.3 Location Services Screen Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

The Location Services setting can be found inside the Settings app on your device. If you are using a device running iOS 4.3 and above you can find it listed on the initial Settings screen. If you have a Verizon iPhone 4 running 4.2.x, you will have to navigate to General >Location Services.

Once you have entered Location Services, you will be presented with a list of apps that have requested permission to acquire your location during use of the app, as well as the status of that apps location permission.

The Location Services screen allows you to turn off location access to applications individually as well as for the entire device. If you turn off the main switch at the top of the screen, not a single application will be able to pull your location. Before the iOS update from Apple, turning off this option didn't stopped Apple from storing your location data, with the update your device no longer pulls any location info.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

If you want to deny location permission to a single app, simply tap on the switch to turn the permission off. As you can see in the image above, once you turn off access to a particular app, that app won't be able to access your location info. You may then be prompted with a dialog when you run the app that the permissions are denied.

Screenshot by Jason Cipriani

You may see some apps with a location arrow next to the on-off switch. This indicates that a particular app has used your location info in the last 24 hours. (This is the same arrow you will see in the top bar next to the battery icon on your device to indicate when your location is being pulled.)

Now that you know how to go in and turn location permission on and off for the device as whole, or individually by application, you can feel a bit more secure about who has access to your private data.