Other Reasons Why Location Services is On
🔸 Background app refresh
This feature allows apps to check for updates and new content in the background. If an app also uses location data as part of its functionality, the location services icon might appear even if you haven’t actively launched that app.
🔸 Location-based alerts and ads
Features like location-based reminders (e.g., “Remind me to buy milk when I’m near the grocery store”) and location-based Apple ads that use your geographical position to provide localized content might be accessing your location.
🔸 System services
You’ll find a section dedicated to System Services in the iPhone’s settings under Privacy & Security.
Many services, such as Setting Time Zone or Share My Location utilize your geographical position for different iOS functions.
🔸 Health and fitness apps
Activity tracking or health apps might use your location to log outdoor workouts and routes or determine the distance covered.
How to Find Out Which App Is Using Your Location
Whenever you see the blue location icon appear on your iPhone you can easily check which app or website is accessing your location.
Just unlock your iPhone and swipe down from the top right of the screen to access the Control Center. The app or website that has been using your location will then be shown at the very top of the Control Center.
Note: If you have an older style iPhone with a home button then swipe up from the bottom to access the Control Center.
Fig 2. Control Center showing which app is accessing Location Services.
You can also easily see a list of all apps installed on your iPhone with access to your location. To do this, follow these steps:
➡️ Open Settings: Tap on the “Settings” app icon on your iPhone’s home screen.
➡️ Go to Privacy: Scroll down in the Settings menu and tap on “Privacy.”
➡️ Tap on Location Services: At the top of the Privacy menu, you’ll see “Location Services.” Tap on it.
➡️ View Apps & Their Location Access: In the “Location Services” menu, you’ll see a list of apps installed on your iPhone. Next to each app, there will be an indication of its location access setting:
- Never: The app doesn’t have access to your location.
- Ask Next Time: The app will ask you the next time it wants to use your location.
- While Using the App or Widgets: The app can access your location only when it’s actively being used or when its widgets are in use.
- Always: The app can always access your location, even in the background.
➡️ Check for the Arrow Icon: You might see an arrow icon next to each app. This arrow provides additional information about the app’s recent location access:
- No arrow: The app hasn’t used your location recently.
- Purple arrow: The app has used your location recently.
- Gray arrow: The app has used your location in the last 24 hours.
- Hollow purple arrow: The app uses a geofence (waiting for you to arrive at or leave a specific location).
Now you can understand which apps have been accessing your location recently.
➡️ Tap on Individual Apps for More Details: To see more about how each app uses your location, you can tap on any app in the list. This will show you the specific location access you’ve granted to that app, and you can change permissions if needed.
Remember to check these settings periodically to maintain awareness and control over which apps can access your location. Adjusting permissions can also help in preserving battery life and protecting your privacy.
Fig 3. Displaying all apps with access to Location Services.
How to Limit Location Access?
If the frequent appearance of the location services icon bothers you or if you’re concerned about your privacy, there are steps you can take:
✔️ Audit location permissions: Navigate to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can review and modify which apps can access your location and when.
✔️ Limit background activities: For apps that don’t need to access your location in the background, adjust the settings to “While Using the App.”
✔️ Download antispy software for your iPhone: iPhone users can use antivirus software like Certo AntiSpy to protect against malware tracking their location.
✔️ Use Apple’s status bar icon: Apple provides a small arrow icon next to apps in the Location Services menu, indicating which app has recently used location data. This helps identify culprits.
✔️ Turn off location for specific system services: If you delve into the System Services menu under Location Services, you can decide which essential functions to keep and disable the rest.
✔️ Educate yourself: Whenever downloading a new app, be mindful of the permissions it requests, especially concerning location data. Only grant permissions you’re comfortable with.
If you often see the location icon popping up on your iPhone, it means that specific apps are continually tapping into your location data. It might be harmless, like a navigation app, or something more concerning, like spyware.
In today’s digital age, protecting your online privacy is crucial. Regularly checking your iPhone’s location settings isn’t just about saving battery—it’s about keeping your personal data safe.
For added peace of mind and to ensure your phone’s utmost security, it is a good idea to perform regular antivirus and spyware scans with a tool like Certo AntiSpy.