About Location Services and Privacy

Learn about services in iOS that protect your private information, including your location, on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Apple Watch.

With your permission, Location Services allows Apple and third-party apps and websites to 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 to help you find nearby coffee shops or theaters. Or your device might set its time zone automatically based on your current location.

To use these features, you need to enable Location Services and give permission to each app or website before it can use your location data. Apps might request limited access to your location data (only when you're using the app) or full access (even when you aren't 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, Bluetooth, crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot, and cellular towers to determine the location of your device. Your Apple Watch might use the location of your paired iPhone if it's nearby. If Location Services is on, your iPhone will periodically send Apple the geo-tagged locations of nearby Wi-Fi hotspots and cellular towers in an anonymous and encrypted form. This information is used for augmenting this crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspot and cellular tower locations. By enabling Location Services, these location-based system services are enabled:

  • Traffic: If you are physically moving (for example, traveling 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 when and where you have purchased or used apps in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple to improve a crowd-sourced database. This database may be used to offer geographically relevant apps and other Apple products and services.
  • Frequent Locations: To learn places that are significant to you, your iOS device will keep track of places you've recently been, as well as how often and when you visited them. This data is kept solely on your device and won't be sent to Apple without your consent. It will be used to provide you with personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing.
  • Location-Based Apple Ads: Your iPhone will send your location, including travel speed and direction, to Apple to provide you with geographically relevant Apple Ads.
  • Location-Based Suggestions: When you use Spotlight suggestions or Safari suggestions, the location of your iPhone at the time you open Spotlight, use Look Up, or submit a search query to Spotlight or Safari will be sent to Apple to make location-based suggestions more relevant and to improve other Apple products and services. 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 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 Friends.
  • HomeKit: Your iPhone will use your location to enable accessories to turn on or off when you arrive or leave a specific location, such as turning on your lights when you get home.

The crowd-sourced location data gathered by Apple doesn't personally identify you.

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, its partners, and licensees to provide and improve location-based and road traffic-based products and services.

You may choose to disable Location Services at any time. To do so, go to Settings on your iPhone, tap Privacy, tap 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 Websites to Never. You may also disable location-based system services by tapping on System Services and turning off the switch for each location-based system service.

If you allow third-party apps or websites to use your current location, you are subject to their terms and privacy policy and practices. You should review the terms, privacy policies, and practices of such apps and websites to understand how they use your location and other information.

Information collected by Apple will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy.


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