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Monday, January 18, 2021

iOS 14 will let users protect their precise location data

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iOS 14 is a mega software update for iPhone users around the world. Unlike the past few releases, this year’s release brings drastic new changes. Some of them are focused on a revamped UI whereas others focus on improving the useability. Focus on security and privacy has been a topmost priority and this year, there’s another big addition to improve location privacy against third-party apps. Also Read – Flipkart Big Saving Days smartphone offers: iPhone SE, iPhone XR, Redmi K20 Pro and more

A recent report from 9To5Mac talks about the “Precise Location” feature in iOS 14. As the name suggests, this will allow any app on your iPhone to only get approximate location data. Unlike the existing location tracking, this feature won’t pinpoint your location on the map. This helps in improving privacy from a lot of apps and services. The feature is currently available in the beta version of iOS 14. Also Read – Apple could launch iPhone 12 series in two phases this year

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How is this a boon for iPhone users?

Most apps these days require location access to offer a service. For example, when you open the map to check out nearby locations, the app pinpoints your location by default. The exact location is only necessary when you are navigating or finding a route to someplace. In other times, all you need is a rough idea of the place. Additionally, apps don’t always need exact location data. For those concerned with privacy, this is an everyday hassle. Also Read – iPhone 12 launch could be delayed to October, hints Qualcomm

This is where Precise Location comes in. When you are exploring the map, you don’t need to give out your exact location. Instead, you can allow it to have a rough idea of your whereabouts. Apps that need your location will have a large radius of your location. This varies from place to place, i.e. the radius can grow larger in open areas whereas it can shrink in dense areas. The data given to the apps won’t allow precise reverse tracking. The services will know that you are somewhere within the location circle but not the exact place. This way, your privacy stays enhanced without affecting the functionality of the app. Apps such as Weather, some websites and e-commerce apps can do with a rough location of you instead of pinpointing you on the map.

How to enable/disable Precise Location on iOS 14?

In most apps that require access to location data, iOS 14 will throw up a prompt asking for location access. The window will show a small map with your location marked on it. At the corner, there will be an option to toggle on or off precise location. Toggling it off will include a rough estimation of your location. For example, in the Maps app, iOS 14 will give the location of your area instead of pinpointing you on the grid.

Users can also change this preference any time by heading to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. Choose the app and toggle Precise Location switch to on or off. All apps that you granted location permissions before downloading iOS 14 will get full access to precise location. Hence, you will have to head into the settings after downloading iOS 14 to change the preferences. Do note that when apps will require a full location for service, they will ask you to allow precise location tracking.

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