How to prevent Android applications from accessing geolocation data

Geolocation for Android By installing an application on your smartphone, the system asks you to allow this application to access some types of data. People often do not spend time studying this list, but it should be.

Apps that you install may require access to your contacts, messages, even your location, as well as many other important things. If you are concerned about data privacy, you should pay attention to the data that application developers require access to. Learn how to prevent apps from accessing your location in this article.

There can be many reasons for restricting apps from accessing their location. However, there are apps that shouldn't be doing this, such as GPS navigators.

There are two ways how you can block access to geolocation data: using Android settings or using specialized applications. The procedure may differ for different versions.

Android 9.0 Pie

For all applications.

In the new Android, the location settings have been slightly changed. The menu itself has been moved: find “Security and location” – “Location” – “Advanced settings” – “Locate”. Here you will see the item “More accurate location” (WiFi +). When enabled, the device will use the mobile network and GPS together. When disabled, only GPS will be used.

Geolocation settings

The “More accurate location” option can be enabled / disabled at any time.

For individual applications.

You need to follow exactly the same procedure as in Android Oreo. Go to “Settings” – “Applications” – “Permissions”. Here click on “Location” and you will see a list of all the applications that track your location. To restrict access to it, just move the slider on the desired application. Similarly, you can restrict access to applications and other things: camera, contacts, etc.

Application access to geolocation data

There is no difference from Android Oreo.

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Android 6.0 – 8.1 (Marshmallow – Oreo)

For all applications.

Go to “Settings” – “Location” and move the slider. You should remember that this method will restrict or allow access to your location data for all applications on your phone. If that doesn't suit you, read on.

Close access to location

The location function can operate in 3 different operating modes:

  • “By all sources” – uses all possible methods (WiFi, Bluetooth, GPS, etc.) to determine the location.
  • “By network coordinates” – uses Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, mobile network but not GPS.
  • “By GPS satellites” – uses only GPS.

For individual applications.

Go to “Settings” – “Applications” – “Application permissions”. You will be taken to a menu in which you can choose which applications allow / deny access to certain parts of the system (microphone, camera, contacts, etc.), including location data.

Application access to location

Here you can see which of the apps are using your geolocation data and which are not.

Find the item “Your location” and uncheck those applications that you want to restrict access. Some applications still need to leave access to this data, for example, Google Maps or other Google services. You can safely restrict access to other applications, especially applications downloaded from unknown sources.

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Android 4.3 – 5.1

For all applications.

As with newer versions of Android, you can turn off the use of location data with a single tap. Go to “Settings” – “More” – “Permissions”, and move the slider “Location”. When this feature is disabled, apps will not collect geolocation data.

You can also change the operating mode of this function if you decide to use it. Tap on “Location” – “Mode”. There are 3 options to choose from. Which one to use is up to you (see screenshot below).

Setting up geolocation

Your device can use various methods to determine your location.

If you scroll down to the bottom of the Locations section, you'll see a list of applications that have requested access to location data. You can then examine the settings for individual applications to determine if it is possible to restrict access to this data.

When your device is updated to Android Marshmallow (Android 6), you can configure access to various data for individual applications through a special menu.

Application request for geolocation data

Here you can see which apps are tracking your location.

In addition to the apps you have installed, preinstalled services such as Google Now can use geolocation data. You can restrict access even to them. Under the list of applications, tap on “Collect Google Location Data” and you will see a list of all the accounts used on your smartphone.

Access of Google services to the location

The vendor-preinstalled services can track your location just like other apps you've installed.

You can change the access rights to your location through the “Location Data Transfer Settings” for each individual account. Data that has already been collected can be deleted via the Location History menu.

For individual applications.

Although in older versions of Android you can restrict access to the collection of location data, you can do this only for all applications. To configure individual applications, you will have to download additional software, we recommend AppOps (or its equivalent) – a free application with which you can restrict access to geolocation data to certain applications.

There are many similarly named apps in the Play Store, so make sure you download the one you want. Run the app and you will see a list of programs that use your location data.

AppOps app

AppOps allows you to change the location data access settings for specific applications.

Tap on the application you need and you will see a list of the permissions it uses.

Permissions for installed apps

To disable any permission, just move the slider.

Do you care if the apps use your location data, or doesn't it bother you at all? Write in the comments.

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