This morning when listening to KPCC radio, I came across a discussion about how Android always tracks user’s location even if you turn off the location history. Apparently, someone turned off Google’s location history setting off and found out that other apps were still able to track their location. This used to be a big problem in some of the older versions of Android. But starting from Android 6.0 (Marshmallow), you can control the location access permission of individual apps. In fact, when you install a new app Android displays all the information about which permissions and access the app would require.
If you want to turn off the location access for any app, then you can use these steps:
- Open settings in your Android smartphone.
- Tap on Apps on the settings screen.
- Select an app for which you want to disable location access, for example, Chrome.
- On the app information screen, select Permissions.
- Tap on Your Location to turn this setting off.
- Repeat the process for all the apps that you do not want to be able to access your location.
One of the points made in the above mentioned discussion on the KPCC radio was that even if you turn off Location from the quick settings screen (that you can access by swiping top-to-bottom on your screen using two fingers), some of the apps can still try to locate you using your IP address whenever you go online. But this will make pin-pointing your location very difficult. For making it even harder for these misbehaving apps, you can use VPN services for Android such as F-Secure Freedome, Avira Phantom or ProtonVPN that will shield your real IP address and the apps that try to find your location through IP address will think that you are location in some other part of the world.