How to prevent apps from tracking your every move

How to prevent apps from tracking your every move

Imagine if a data broker knows your phone is on the nightstand next to another phone six nights a week and on the town on the seventh night. This data broker also knows where you are going and how long you are there. Creepy.

Do you want a shock? If you have an iPhone, hidden deep within the settings is a feature Apple calls “Notable Places.”

You may be wondering, “How is this tracking done?” You allowed it. Install an app, and the legalese says that the app developer has the right to share or transmit data collected from users to third parties, including advertisers, marketers or data brokers.

A snooping partner, stalker, or family member may be tracking your location. I’ll help you stop it.

Your place is worth a lot

Apps can use location tracking in a number of ways.

  • Location-based services: Many apps use location tracking for GPS navigation, weather updates, local news, or finding nearby restaurants or shops.
  • Advertisement: Have you ever driven past a Starbucks or Duncan Donuts and gotten a $5 off coupon on your phone? An app may use your location to show you offers from nearby businesses or services.
  • Analytics: App developers collect data to understand how users move around a physical area or to identify trends and patterns.
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Some apps offer the option to limit or completely turn off location tracking. These settings are easy to fiddle with, but you need to be thorough. You may have already turned off location tracking on your phone, but you haven’t done the same on your laptop. Knocks off the target.

Phone applications
Kim Komando tells you how to stop phone apps from tracking you.
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I’ll walk you through how to change your device and account settings with a number of major players.

Start with Google

Your Google Account is tied to various apps and services, so let’s start there.

Location history

As the name suggests, Location History saves your location wherever you take your phone. It’s off by default, but you might have turned it on and forgotten. No problem. To turn it off:

  • Sign in to your account at or through the Google app.
  • Go Data protection > Location history.
  • Tap or click Turn off and confirm your choice.
  • While you’re here, make sure auto-delete is turned on Next.

One last super important thing: open it Tools in this account to see a list of devices that save your location. Select it Turn off to block any devices you don’t want to be tracked.

Location sharing

Location Sharing allows you to share your location with the people you choose from your devices. Your loved ones may be using this setting, but it’s worth checking.

  • Sign in to your account at or through the Google app.
  • Go Data protection > Location sharing.
  • If you don’t share your location with anyone, there’s nothing you can do.
  • The people you share your location with appear here.
  • Tap or click Stop next to the name of anyone you want to stop sharing your location with.

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Location tracking on iPhone

Location Services has two parts: A global setting that stops your location from being shared with Apple, and individual settings for apps installed on your iPhone.

Let’s review the service controls:

  • Go Settings > Privacy and security > Location services.
  • From there you have the option to switch Who Location services in full.
  • Alternatively, you can turn off Location Services for individual apps by scrolling down the list and tapping the apps you want to change.

Location sharing

Location Sharing lets you share your location with family and friends in Messages, Find My, and other services.

  • Go Settings > Privacy and security > Location services > Share your position.
  • If you share your location with someone, you’ll see their name here.
  • Switch Who Share your position at any time.

Cookies aren’t just used on your computer to track your passwords, shopping carts, and everything else. They are also there on your phone. You can delete them.

Location on your Android phone

Choose to turn off location tracking entirely or fine-tune settings for individual apps.

  • Go Settings > Location and switch Who Use the Location option.
  • If you leave the setting on, scroll down and change the settings for each app by tapping on them.

Location sharing on Google Maps

You may have shared your location with friends and family through Google Maps. Here’s how you can check if you’re doing it without realizing it.

  • Open the Google Maps application and touch yours profile.
  • Tap the Location sharing. Not sharing your location with anyone? There is nothing more to do.
  • The people you share your location with appear here.
  • Tap the profilethen touch the option Stop for anyone you don’t want to share your location with.

Location settings on Windows

You can turn off location services entirely on your Windows PC or for individual applications. This is a smart step to take, especially if you have a laptop that you take with you on the go.

  • Go Start > Settings > Private life > Location.
  • Click changethen switch Who Device location.
  • Turning off Location on this device also prevents apps from knowing your location.
  • When Allow apps to access your location is turned on, scroll down and turn off the setting for each app.

Location services on macOS

Here’s how to change location services on your Mac:

  • Click on the Apple menu > System settings > Privacy and security > Location services.
  • Switch Who Location services.
  • If you want some apps to know your location, switch Location services turn it on or off for each application in the list.

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