Location Services allows Apple and third-party apps and websites to gather and use information based on the current location of your iPhone or Apple Watch to provide a variety of location-based services. For example, an app might use your location data and location search query to help you find nearby coffee shops or theatres, or your device may set its time zone automatically based on your current location.
To use features such as these, you must enable Location Services on your iPhone and give your permission to each app or website before it can use your location data. Apps may request limited access to your location data (only when you are using the app) or full access (even when you are not using the app).
For safety purposes, however, your iPhone’s location information may be used when you place an emergency call to aid response efforts regardless of whether you enable Location Services.
Location Services uses GPS and Bluetooth (where those are available) along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations to determine your device’s approximate location.
Your Apple Watch may use the location of your paired iPhone if it is nearby.
If Location Services is on, your iPhone will periodically send the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cell towers (where supported by a device) in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting this crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations.
By enabling Location Services, location-based system services such as these will also be enabled:
- Traffic: If you are physically moving (for example, travelling in a car), your iPhone will periodically send GPS locations and travel speed information in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting a crowd-sourced road traffic database.
- Popular Near Me: Your iPhone will periodically send locations of where and when you have purchased or used apps in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to improve a crowd-sourced database that may be used to offer geographically relevant apps and other Apple products and services.
- Significant Locations: Your iPhone and iCloud connected devices will keep track of places you have recently been, as well as how often and when you visited them, in order to learn places that are significant to you. This data is end-to-end encrypted and cannot be read by Apple. It is used to provide you with personalised services, such as predictive traffic routing, and to build better Memories in Photos.
- Location-Based Apple Ads: Your iPhone will send your location to Apple in order to provide you with geographically relevant ads on Apple News and in the App Store.
- Location-Based Suggestions: The location of your iPhone will be sent to Apple to provide more relevant recommendations. If you turn off Location Services for location-based suggestions, your precise location will not be sent to Apple. To deliver relevant search suggestions and news, Apple may use the IP address of your internet connection to approximate your location by matching it to a geographic region.
- Location-Based Alerts: Your iPhone and Apple Watch will use your location in order to provide you with geographically relevant alerts, such as a reminder to call someone when you get to a specific place, when to leave for your next appointment or an app or shortcut recommendation based on where you currently are.
- Share My Location: You can choose to share your current location with others, on a temporary or ongoing basis, from within certain apps such as Messages and Find My.
- HomeKit: Your iPhone will use your location to control accessories when you arrive at or leave a specific location, such as turning on your lights when you get home.
- System Customisation: Your iPhone will customise system appearance, behaviour and settings using your current location, for example by automatically enabling Smart Charging when you are at home. This customisation data does not leave your device.
- Apple Pay Merchant Identification: Your iPhone will use your current location to help provide more accurate merchant names when you use your physical Apple Card.
- Emergency Calls & SOS: When you make an emergency call, in addition to location already provided to emergency services, your iPhone will make supplementary location data available through the Enhanced Emergency Data service, where supported. In addition, triggering emergency SOS will send location to your emergency contacts at the end of the call.
By enabling Location Services for your devices, you agree and consent to the transmission, collection, maintenance, processing and use of your location data and location search queries by Apple and its partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based and road traffic-based products and services.
The crowd-sourced location data gathered by Apple does not personally identify you.
You can disable Location Services at any time. To do so, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services, and either turn off the global Location Services switch or turn off the individual location switch of each location-aware app or feature by setting it to “Never”. To disable Location Services for all websites, set the Location Services setting for Safari to “Never”. You can also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off each location-based system service. You can disable Location Services for your HomePod at any time in the HomePod settings in the Home app on your paired iOS or iPadOS device.