How to prevent Apple getting your location data every 12 hours

According to this article by eWeek.com, and by extension Apple themselves, Apple collect location data from your browser every 12 hours, though they do anonymise and encrypt it (though how much anonymising can be done with, for example, your home address, I don’t know).

EULA: “To provide location-based services on Apple products, Apple and our partners and licensees may collect, use, and share precise location data, including the real-time geographic location of your Apple computer or device.”

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Specifically, they take information from Safari, the Windows, iPhone and Macintosh browser. However, you can disable this quite easily. If you don’t like the idea of Apple having your location data, and don’t use location-based apps, this is for you. I should point out, though, that this disables Location Services entirely and is a “small nail, big hammer” kind of solution. It switches off all location-based services, such as automatic timezone switching “Find my iPhone” functionality.


Mac OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard

Open System Preferences, go to the Security tab and check “Disable Location Services”.

Windows Vista and Windows 7

In Safari, go to Edit>Preferences, go to the security tab, and uncheck “Allow websites to ask for location information”.

iOS 4.0 (iPhone, iPod Touch)

Go to Settings, General, Location Services, and simply switch “Location Services” off.

iPad

Go to settings, General, and switch “Location Sevices” off.

(Thanks to @GabrielVisser for the iOS4 and iPad screenshots)


Job done. Kudos to Apple for at least making this easy, though hiding the practice in an End-User License Agreement longer than several books is a little shady.

About the Author

Carl Lange

I'm currently a Computer Games Development student at Carlow IT. I love programming and all things technical, and I'll learn anything if it's interesting. I'm passionate about technical education, and naturally about games. Check out my resume, and follow me on Twitter!

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3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this. Surprisingly, I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the camera n my iPhone to stop asking me to use my current location for about a year now! It creeps me out, thinking about people knowing where I am 24/7.

  2. If you don’t like the idea of Apple having your location data, and you do use location-based apps, you’re stuck. I’m surprised they’re allowed to add this location tracking to the terms and conditions for people who have already signed up for a long contract. As you allude to, such accurate location data is not anonymous.

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