October 26, 2015
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Ever wonder how much location information your Android reports? Well, just take a look at how much Google knows about where you’ve been by clicking this link.

It’s at once impressive and a little eerie. That’s just Google, and they’re relatively transparent about how they use your information. What about all those other apps that you’ve granted access to your location by glancing right over the Permissions when you installed them? Here we’ll talk how to limit third-party apps’ ability to access your location, and also how to stop your phone from sending location information at all, even to Google.

Now, I for one will probably let Google keep accessing my location history because when the technological singularity happens and the Alphabet Overlord appears, there won’t be any way to hide anyway. But if you’re of the mindset that Candy Crush Saga doesn’t need to know about your trip to Disney World, then you’re probably going to want to…

Limit Individual App Location Access

You can see a list of apps that currently have access to your location information by going to Settings > Location and scrolling down. Unfortunately, you can’t revoke these permissions on an individual basis unless an app has that option within its own settings.

There is, however, a workaround.

Download AppOps from the Google Play Store.

AppOpps-interface

Boot up AppOps once its installed. Choose the app for which you want to restrict location access, and toggle the Location switch to OffThat’s all there is to it!

Totally Stop Location Tracking

Okay, this can get a little complicated. You ready?

Screenshot_2015-10-16-19-44-07

Go to Settings > Location. At the very top of the screen, toggle Location to Off. You did it! Okay… so maybe we meant “easy”, not complicated…

Conclusion

Letting apps access your location can drastically improve the performance of some apps. Google Maps, for instance, is far more useful if you let it know where you are. However, it’s important to control how much personal information you disseminate to third party apps, especially if you can’t think of a reason why a particular app would need to know where you are.

What are your thoughts on sharing your location with apps and companies? How much do you restrict your location information?