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How to stop iPhone apps from tracking your location without you knowing

How To Stop iPhone Tracking

Last week, The Wall Street Journal confirmed an earlier report shedding light on the fact that Foursquare’s iPhone app is constantly tracking users’ locations even when the app is completely closed. “Starting today, users who download or update the Foursquare app will automatically let the company track their GPS coordinates any time their phone is powered on,” the report noted. “Foursquare previously required users to give the app permission to turn on location-tracking. Now users must change a setting within the app to opt out.”

Opting out in the Foursquare app solves your problem there, but any other iPhone apps can potentially track your location without your knowledge while it’s closed. Luckily, stopping them from tracking you couldn’t be simpler.

Going into your iPhone’s privacy settings and revoking an app’s access to your location data is one solution, but that means the app won’t be able to see your location even when it’s open. As a result, apps like Foursquare become completely and utterly useless.

For these apps, there’s a better solution.

A recent post from Forbes notes that by revoking an app’s ability to refresh in the background, you can stop apps from accessing iOS’s location APIs and tracking your location without preventing them from accessing location data while they’re open.

It’s easy — just open the iPhone’s Settings app and tap General, then Background App Refresh. Then scroll through the list and toggle any apps to the off position if you want to ensure that they’re not tracking you in the background.

Zach Epstein

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content.

Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment. His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.