Nowadays, many apps require access to your location, such as navigation apps, social media apps and even eBook reader apps. You can’t use Google Maps if you disable location in app permissions. It is reasonable that a navigation app requires access to your location. But it’s weird that search engines, stand-alone games and eBook reader apps request location permission. This raises users’ concern about whether these apps compromise their privacy.
Most apps request access to user location
Recently, I downloaded several mobile games from the app store on my phone. I found that most game apps, both the officially licensed games and those that claim to be stand-alone, include location in the app permissions even if their services have nothing to do with the user location.
Many users even find that they need to allow an app to access their contacts, photos or location when they download and try to run this app on their phones. Otherwise, they are not able to use this app.
In addition, social media apps such as Facebook and Twitter allow users to share their locations. I suppose you are very familiar with this function. If you turn GPS on and approve the location permission of relevant apps, your posts will be attached with location details.
Even a photo that you took can reveal your location. Because the Exif information of the photo contains information about your location. Thus, you should also be careful when sharing a picture on social media apps.
Various apps make your life convenient
Life does become more convenient with the services provided by these apps. When you are traveling, you can open an app to see what’s nearby, such as the delicious food, supermarket, bus station bank and so on. When you are driving, you can run the navigation app to find the nearest way to your destination or avoid traffic congestion. You will also be told the speed limits currently. You fave to admit that these powerful functions make your life more convenient.
However, this can also be exploited by cybercriminals to get access to your personal information.
How to stop apps from exposing your real location?
Your apps on the phone may not only reveal your real location but also your movement track.
Fortunately, in most cases, you can manually turn GPS off. You are also allowed to change app permissions of the installed apps. Check app permissions in the settings and disable unnecessary permissions. Or turn off manually when a page pops up asking for the location permission.
It is important to pay attention to whether there is any correlation between app functions and the permission it requests when installing mobile phone software. You should avoid approving permissions before you think carefully. If the app requires permission to something that has nothing to do with the function it provides, you shouldn’t approve the permission. Otherwise, your private information might be compromised.
You’d better turn off “Frequent Locations” on your iPhone, install apps that ask for as few permission as possible and turn off unnecessary location services in a timely manner.
Some apps can still access your location even if you turn off the GPS
Some Internet users turn off GPS when they’re not using it for safety reasons. But every time you turn off the GPS, you have to turn it back on again when you use an app that requires GPS positioning.
But the bad news is that malicious apps can also reveal user location even if the GPS is turned off. Why?
Disabling GPS can’t stop malicious apps from revealing your location. They can access your lock screen password so as to gain your location information.
If the lock screen password cannot be obtained, malicious apps can exploit the built-in sensors of your phone. In addition to GPS and signal positioning, the built-in gyroscope and acceleration sensor can also be used to track a user’s location. So, some malicious apps exploit these sensors to track your location without your permission.
There are a number of sensors built into the phone, including the gyroscope, accelerator, magnetometer, barometer, microphone, camera, thermometer, pedometer, optical sensor, humidity sensor and so on. However, many apps can access these sensors without user authorization.
How to prevent malicious apps from tracking your location?
Since location tracking is so terrible, how do I avoid revealing location details?
The first thing that’s important to prevent malicious apps from revealing location information is not to download apps from unknown sources. Apps will be effectively checked in the official app stores. Downloading apps from official app stores can effectively prevent the disclosure of personal location information.
Secondly, make use of the built-in security app or third-party security apps to check all apps on your phone. If it finds any apps that are likely to reveal your location, try to remove them immediately.