Protect your privacy from apps and people tracking your every move

Mar 19, 2023, 5:00 AM

(Pixabay Photo)...

(Pixabay Photo)

(Pixabay Photo)

Imagine if a data broker knows your phone is on a nightstand next to another phone six nights a week and across town on the seventh night. That data broker also knows everywhere you go and how long you stay there. Creepy.

Want to be shocked? If you have an iPhone, hidden deep in its settings is something Apple calls “Significant Locations.” Click here to get the exact steps to see your personal map.

You might be wondering, “How is this tracking happening?” You let it. Install an app, and in the legalese, it says the app developer has the right to share or transfer data collected from users with third-party entities, including advertisers, marketers, or data brokers.

You might also have a snoopy partner, stalker, or family member tracking your location. I’ll help you make it stop.

Your location is worth a lot

Apps can use location tracking in various ways.

● Location-based services: Many apps use location tracking for GPS navigation, weather updates, local news, or finding nearby restaurants or stores.
● Advertising: Ever drive by a Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts and get a $5 coupon on your phone? An app may use your location to show offers for nearby businesses or services.
● Analytics: App developers collect data to understand how users move through a physical space or to identify trends and patterns.

Some apps offer options to limit location tracking or to turn it off entirely. It’s simple to fiddle with these settings, but you must be thorough. You may have already turned off location tracking on your phone but didn’t do the same with your laptop. It defeats the purpose.

I’ll walk you through how to change your device and account settings across many major players.

Start with Google

Your Google account is tied to various apps and services, so let’s start there.

Location history:

As the name implies, Location History saves your location wherever you take your phone. It’s off by default, but you may have turned it on and forgotten about it. No problem. Here’s how to turn it off:

● Sign into your account at or through the Google app.
● Go to Data & privacy > Location History.
● Tap or click Turn off and confirm your selection.
● While you’re here, make sure Auto-delete is On.

One last super important thing: Open up Devices on this account to see a list of devices saving your location. Select Turn off to disable any devices you don’t want to track you.

Location sharing:

Location sharing lets you share your location from your devices with people you choose. You may be using this setting with your loved ones, but it’s worth checking.

● Sign in to your account at or through the Google app.
● Go to Data & privacy > Location Sharing.
● If you’re not sharing your location with anyone, there’s nothing to do here.
● People you’re sharing your location with will be listed here.
● Tap or click Stop next to the name of anyone you want to stop sharing your location with.

Location tracking on your iPhone

Location Services has two parts: A global setting to stop sharing your location with Apple and individual settings for each app you have installed on your iPhone.

Let’s go over the controls for this service:

● Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services.
● From here, you have the option to switch off Location Services completely.
● Alternatively, you turn off Location Services for individual apps by scrolling down the list and tapping the ones you want to change.

Location sharing:

Location Sharing lets you share your location with family and friends in Messages, Find My, and other services.

● Go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services > Share My Location.
● If you share your location with anyone, you’ll see their names here.
● Switch off Share My Location anytime.

Cookies aren’t just used on your computer to keep track of your passwords, shopping carts, and everything else. They’re on your phone, too. You can wipe them out.

Location tracking on your Android phone

Choose between turning off location tracking completely or fine-tuning each app’s setting.

● Go to Settings > Location and toggle off Use Location.
● If you leave the setting on, scroll down and change the settings for each app by tapping on them.

Location sharing on Google Maps

You may have shared your location with friends and family through Google Maps. Here’s how to check if you’re doing that without realizing it.

● Open the Google Maps app and tap your profile.
● Tap Location Sharing. Not sharing your location with anyone? There’s nothing more to do.
● People you’re sharing your location with will be listed here.
● Tap a profile, then tap Stop for anyone you want to stop sharing your location with.

Location settings on Windows

You can turn location services off entirely on your Windows PC or for individual apps. This step is smart to do, especially if you have a laptop you take with you on the go.

● Go to Start > Settings > Privacy > Location.
● Click Change, then toggle off Location for this device.
● Toggling off Location for this device also prevents apps from knowing your location.
● When Allow apps to access your location is switched on, scroll down and toggle off the setting for each app.

Location services on macOS

Here’s how to change location services for your Mac:

● Click the Apple menu > System Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services.
● Switch off Location Services.
● If you want some apps to know your location, switch Location Services on or off for each app in the list.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.

Kim Komando

Use these tech tricks to take a trip down memory lane. (Pexels photo, left, Google Maps image, righ...

Kim Komando

See what the home you grew up in looks like now and other Maps tricks

Use these tricks with Google Maps and Google Earth to find out what your childhood home looks like, keep track of shipwrecks and more.

5 days ago

(Pexels File Photo)...

Kim Komando

Can you spot election deepfakes? Here’s how not to be duped

AI deepfakes are a massive problem this election season, and it’s easy to get taken — especially when your news and social feeds are full of this junk.

12 days ago

The Journal app is seen on an iPhone in this photo illustration taken on 10 November, 2023. (Photo ...

Kim Komando

Is Apple’s new Journal app a major privacy nightmare?

In this article, we debunk myths associated to Apple's Journal App. Is it safe, can our friends read our deepest darkest secrets? Read more.

19 days ago

facebook logo sign...

Kim Komando

I’m a tech expert, and you need to make these changes before it’s too late

In this article, discover crucial steps to protect your digital legacy and online security, such as adjusting privacy settings on Facebook.

25 days ago

(Pexels Photo)...

Kim Komando

Check out these 7 Mac and Windows tricks only the pros know

From closing browser tabs in a snap to troubleshooting tricks for Mac and Windows, optimize your digital life effortlessly.

26 days ago

We put three chatbots to the test to see which one came out on top. (Pexels File Photo)...

Kim Komando

AI showdown: Here’s which chatbots came out on top after a test run

We compare the free versions of ChatGPT from OpenAI, Google Gemini and Perplexity to see how well they helped with some real-life scenarios.

1 month ago

Sponsored Articles


Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.


Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

(KTAR News Graphic)...

Boys & Girls Clubs

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Protect your privacy from apps and people tracking your every move