As the recent revelation over Google’s background tracking of your location shows, it’s not as easy as it should be to work out when apps, giant tech companies and pocket devices are tracking your location and when they’re not. Here’s what you need to know about how location tracking works on a phone—and how to disable it.
Location information is one of the prime bits of data any company can get on you, whether they want to personalize your weather reports or serve up an ad for a local bakery. As a result apps and mobile OSes are very keen to get hold of it. It’s a compromise though, and if you don’t want to give it away, you’ll have do without some location-based services (like directions to the park). Do you want convenience or privacy? You can’t have both, but know how it works, and when you can or should activate it should help.
Of course, you can’t stop Google entirely and if you use your browser then data will be sent to the sites you are visiting. It’s an unfortunate fact that this is inescapable using Android and IOS and the alternatives aren’t quite there yet. But for a layman, this is a pretty good starter guide.