Your apps don’t really need to know your exact location, do they? Most of the time, the answer is no. However, iOS has always shared your exact location with any apps you have location services turned on for. Thanks to a new setting in the iOS 14 beta, Precise location, you can choose to limit how far these apps can locate you.
The present and future of location services in iOS14
We already knew that Apple was improving the privacy features in iOS 14. This one hasn’t really been covered, although it is a huge step forward in protecting the privacy of your location. The new Precise Location setting in the iOS 14 beta lets you choose whether or not your iPhone reveals your exact location to apps and services.
For example, you might want to provide only your approximate location to your weather app. After all, you just need to know what city or town you live in, not your exact GPS coordinates. In the current version of iOS, the only location services privacy settings control when the app can access this informationon.
The Precise Location toggle, when enabled, only exposes your location within a circle a few miles in diameter. Your actual location will be somewhere in this area, not necessarily in the middle. Additionally, iOS will recalculate the exposed area several times per hour.
Enable or disable the precise location setting of iOS 14
From Developer iOS 14 beta 5 and iOS public beta 4, the toggle for Precise location is enabled by default. To turn it off, you can go to Settings> Privacy> Location services. Go to each app you want to limit location accuracy for and turn off precise location.
Going forward, I would expect app developers to update their apps to tell you whether the software needs your exact location or not. In the meantime, you can easily change the setting yourself. Keep in mind that some apps, like Door Dash and Uber, really need to know exactly where you are.
It’s also worth noting that you should look at the default settings, especially location services, for all of your apps. You might be surprised at how much of your privacy you are already giving up.