YOUR iPhone has a special setting that controls exactly how apps can track your location.
It’s possible for some apps to see exactly where you are – although this may not be necessary.
Luckily, changing it is very easy once you know what the setting is called.
It’s called Precise Location and it’s so hidden you might never have heard of it.
When using an app on your iPhone, you may sometimes need to give it “permissions”.
WhatsApp may need access to the microphone so you can send voice notes.
And Facebook may need access to the camera so you can upload selfies.
Locations are just another form of access you can grant an app.
For example, a game like Pokemon Go needs to know where to work properly.
However, there are TWO types of Apple location sharing – approximate location and precise location – and you can choose which ones you grant.
The first is the approximate location, which may be enough in some cases.
An app that recommends restaurants doesn’t need to know exactly where you are, just your approximate location.
However, a taxi app may need your exact location to pick you up at the right place.
Precise location is a setting used by Instagram – but also by many other apps.
For example, you can tag your posts with your location or find local businesses.
How to control the exact location
To control all your location data, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
Here you can manage which apps can access your location and under what circumstances.
If an app uses precise location, you can turn that on or off there as well.
You can also choose to allow iOS apps to use your location only once, or only while using the app.
But remember: you may lose access to some features that depend on it.
Is Precise Location safe?
Precise Location is as secure as the app you offer it to.
If it’s a trustworthy app and it’s obvious why it needs your location, you have less to worry about.
However, always try to keep location sharing to a minimum: after all, it is your personal data.
Precise Location can allow awesome features to work properly, so it’s good that it exists.
However, it’s always important to be careful about what you share online.
Consider including your location on social media posts.
While it’s uncommon, there have been police reports in the past of people being victims of crime for over-sharing online.
In August 2022, viral posts began circulating stating that thieves were exploiting Instagram’s “precise location” setting to find targets.
The Sun could not find any evidence of this hacking – and it is unclear how it would even be possible.
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