Is it truly possible to turn off location sharing on your smartphone?

Are your privacy settings actually doing anything to stop your data from being leaked? And what can you do about these leaks?

Is one smartphone more private than another? Or is it all the same now in a digital landscape where most companies thrive on collecting your data?

Despite common misconceptions, we often underestimate how private our smartphone data is. The rising issues with privacy settings on mobile phones—regardless of whether the phone belongs to Apple, Android, and so on—is that your location settings are always on, whether you want it or not.

For example, even with a VPN, your IP address isn’t the only risk privy to leaking your location: chances are some applications can and may instead either refer to your satellite location (via SUPL), your phone’s SIM card, cell towers (usually via tower triangulation), and so on, to figure out where you are located, giving a party such as Google the ability to track your location at any given time of the day if your phone is turned on.

Because your phone must use its GPS (or equivalent) in order to run properly, and the systems in place that provide users with the ability to use a GPS (or equivalent) are owned by third parties, at the time of posting this article there are currently no convenient and easy solutions to completely hide your phone’s location from a third-party during use — whether indoors or outdoors — as your phone uses these features to function.

There is a common misconception between consumers that Apple is more private than Google, which often tends to attract customers more to the idea of owning an Apple product when choosing which smartphone to buy—however, as you may have seen in the examples outlined above, Apple is able to utilize such technologies just as much as any other smartphone manufacturers and has done so before too, for example, when finding and recovering lost Apple smartphones. Apple has promised consumers that their data will not be sold, however, even when consumers know they can trust Apple, how can they know what third-party applications — who have no ties with Apple — will do with their data?

It isn’t possible to completely untoggle location sharing settings on any smartphone at the time of writing this article without finding some complicated workarounds that not every user might be familiar with, and while it is possible to activate a firewall on your connection, this isn’t possible to accomplish with a celluloid connection, which is likely what most users will be connected to when using their smartphones. Android users also have the option of «de-Googling» their smartphones — a process which consists of rooting your Android smartphone and uploading a different open source firmware: if you aren’t quite sure what this means or how to do it, don’t worry, we will cover this topic in more detail on our blog in a later post, so be sure to follow us if you’re interested in knowing more about this process.

In conclusion, and as you can see, there aren’t that many options to fully turn off location sharing settings for the regular consumer. The definition of privacy has become increasingly skewed when it comes to our digital lives—privacy is an illusion, sold as a false comfort to consumers of the technological world.

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BRIGHTSIDE AI - All Right Reserved | Copyright© 2024

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BRIGHTSIDE AI - All Right Reserved | Copyright© 2024