A cell phone or any electronic gadget for that matter, has become more like a necessity than an accessory. This is because ever since such cell devices have been initially introduced to the public, countless technological innovations have unfolded, allowing our lives and routines to evolve as well. Several online communication platforms allow us to strengthen relationships with loved ones across the world. Several mobile apps allow entrepreneurs to digitize and streamline their business operations. Several monitoring apps provide real-time access to their kids’ precise location, allowing them to steer them away from cyber threats.
Cell phones and mobile apps alike have, indeed, gone a great length in making our lives a bit more comfortable and convenient. Unfortunately, some people take advantage of technology for their malicious intentions. Some app location access requests, for instance, are being abused as gateways for unauthorized penetration. So, be extra cautious about allowing third-party apps or installing extra/additional mobile apps. Set home location, personal information, confidential details, and all other sensitive data in a way that they’re not easily accessible by anyone. Should you allow apps to know your location? Well, yes and no; read on to learn more about some recommendations from Kiwi Searches.
Why Do Mobile Apps Request Access To Your location?
Your cell phone likely has built-in GPS, movement sensors, and the like that make it easier to track your location. Location information or data, however, is often found at the top of the list when it comes to privacy concerns. There are several location apps on the market; there’s a Facebook locations app, Google locations app and so much more. An app that tracks cell phone locations could even be installed on a target cell where it would work stealthily in the background.
A great number, if not all, cell phone apps usually track locations. But why do apps track locations or request to access your location? The answer would depend on the kind of apps being used. Whether you should allow such apps to track your location via cell phone is another matter altogether.
It would be quite a tedious feat to enumerate every existing app that tracks your location. Instead of doing that, here are some of the most common app categories that could want access to your locations and why they want them.
- Navigation (Maps and Travel)
This category usually wants access to give turn-by-turn directions. In the case of travel, your location would allow the app to point out cool places nearby to visit.
Weather apps, especially the “hyperlocal” ones need your location to ensure the most accurate forecasts for your area.
Social media apps like Facebook allow you to “check-in” or tag yourself in, say, a restaurant or any other cool place; this is why they ask for access to your location.
Live streaming applications will need your location for certain features as well as for regional blackout confirmations.
Retail stores will ask for your location to conveniently see if there are shops or branches near you.
- Health and Fitness
Health and fitness applications like running applications will need your location so you could conveniently track your runs or even see possible routes through your cell phone.
How Do You See What Apps Are Using Your Location?
Cell phones or smartphones now allow you more control of your location settings. You can choose which apps to allow access to your locations. Conversely, apps nowadays no longer ask for permissions upfront but only when it is needed. To be fair, apps generally only ask for crucial access permissions for them to function properly.
Make it a habit to read and understand apps permission requests before allowing them to basically control your cell phone or other gadgets. You can also check which applications are using your phone’s location.
- Go to Settings
- Tap the Apps Menu
- Tap Permissions
- Tap Location (The switch beside the apps will be enabled (blue) for those with access to your location and gray for those that don’t have access)
- Head to Settings
- Swipe down and Tap Privacy
- Tap Location Services (this will show the type of location data access of your apps)
Should You Allow Apps To Know Your Location?
As previously mentioned, an app that tracks cell phone locations has varying reasons or purposes. Such accesses allow apps to enhance their products or services. So, saying “no” to requests for apps’ access to your locations isn’t always what’s best for you. In the same way, mindlessly allowing access to your cell’s locations won’t always benefit you.
Google maps or other location services, for instance, could be either good or bad depending on your point of reference. The bottom line is that you must always proceed with caution when allowing such requests. Bear in mind that you’re not merely allowing them access to that specific data, but you’re providing them a right of way to all your data. Here are some recommendations from Kiwi Searches.
When You Should Allow Apps to Access Your Cell Phone Location Data
New versions of most apps now only ask permission when you use a feature that will require access to your locations. Some still provide upfront requests, but in most cases, they give you an option to change settings anytime. If the app you wish to install falls into any of these categories, then that’s probably a legit and safe one. While there are still those that use your data for marketing purposes, the majority of them only require you to provide them access to a certain feature to fully function.
Generally, it’s okay to allow access to apps that fall under the categories of Navigation (Maps and Travel), Weather, Social, Streaming, Shopping, Health, and Fitness. Then, though these really need your GPS location to provide reliable service, remember to turn it off or disable the permission if you’re not using the specific application.
When You Should Not Allow Apps to Access Your Cell Phone Location Data
Never go mindlessly allowing all requests just to get rid of the pop-ups or to be able to start using the app. Requests usually come with explanations – be sure to thoroughly read and understand those. Figuring out if your location is needed isn’t rocket science. For instance, a guitar tutorial app asking for access to your location history doesn’t sound so right. Be sure to turn off location tracking on any apps that look suspicious.