When you first boot up an iOS device, it asks if you’d like to enable location services, which can be helpful within apps like Google Maps or when tagging your location on social networks.

Many hit enable and never look back. Customizing location settings to protect your privacy can be confusing and complicated for the average user. While there are very detailed options for the apps and services that utilize location services, determining what you can or can’t disable may be confusing.

So, what is location tracking? A lot of apps and iOS system services require location tracking in order to help customize the user’s experience and provide the most helpful information possible. All of these apps and system services ask permission before they start to track an iPhone or iPad, but some apps won’t function if you disable location tracking. You can tell if location services are active if a black or white arrow icon appears in the status bar at the top of the device.

Disable Location for iOS System Services

Click Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Scroll to the bottom and select System Services.

We recommend not disabling location services on all system services on your iOS devices. While a lot of services can be utilized without tracking your location, it’s best to go through the list individually.

Here’s how system services use location tracking:

  • Cell Network Search tracks cell tower usage and sends data to Apple
  • Compass Calibration uses location tracking to help calibrate the electronic compass
  • Emergency SOS is a newer feature that allows users to discreetly call 911 and uses location data to help…

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