How to Manage Location Services on Your Smartphone & Desktop

Whether using your smartphone or desktop computer, enabling location services makes life easier. Here's how to manage location services for iOS, Android, Chrome, Safari, and Edge browsers.

Enabling iOS Location Services | Smartphone Browser

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services
  2. Make sure that Location Services is on.
  3. Scroll down to find the desired app.
  4. Tap the app and select an option:

    • Never: Prevents access to Location Services information.
    • Ask Next Time: This allows you to choose Always While Using App, Allow Once, or Don't Allow.
    • While Using the App: Allows access to Location Services only when the app or one of its features is visible on the screen.
    • Always: Allows access to your location even when the app is in the background.

ios iphone settings privacy location services

Enabling Android Location Services | Smartphone Browser

Android devices can vary greatly by make and model and we recommend that you consult your manufacturer's manual for more specific instructions. Below we will demonstrate the most popular methods.

Android 10

  1. Swipe down from the top of the screen.
  2. If Location is in your Quick Settings, click on the Location icon until it is blue.
  3. If Location is NOT in your Quick Settings, swipe down from the top of the screen AGAIN to reveal the full settings menu. Click on the Location icon until it is blue.
android home screen down swipe
android settings gear icon
android settings location icon

Android 9.0

  1. Open your device's Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location > Location.
    - If you have a work profile, tap Advanced.
  3. Then, choose an option:

    • Turn Location on or off: Tap Location.
    • Scan for nearby networks: Tap Advanced Scanning. Turn Wi-Fi scanning or Bluetooth scanning on or off.
    • Turn emergency location service on or off: Tap Advanced Google Emergency Location Service. Turn Emergency Location Service on or off.

Android 4.4 to 8.1

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Tap Security & Location .
    - If you don't see "Security & Location," tap Location.
  3. Tap Mode, then pick:

    • High accuracy: Use GPS, Wi-Fi, mobile networks, and sensors to get the most accurate location. Use Google Location Services to help estimate your phone's location faster and more accurately.
    • Battery saving: Use sources that use less battery, like Wi-Fi and mobile networks. Use Google Location Services to help estimate your phone's location faster and more accurately.
    • Device only: Use only GPS. Don't use Google Location Services to provide location information. This can estimate your phone's location more slowly and use more battery.

Android 4.1 to 4.3

  1. Open your phone's Settings app.
  2. Under "Personal," tap Location Access.
  3. At the top of the screen, turn Access to My Location on or off.

    • When location access is on, pick either or both of:
      - GPS satellites: Lets your phone estimate its location from satellite signals, like a GPS device in a car.
      - Wi-Fi & mobile network location: Lets your phone use Google Location Services to help estimate its location faster, with or without GPS.
    • When location access is off:
      Your phone can't find its precise location or share it with any apps.

Enabling Chrome Location Services | Desktop Browser

Chrome Settings

1. Open Chrome and click the three-dotted menu in the top right-hand corner followed by Settings.

Chrome web browser security site

2. On the Settings page, click Privacy and security from the left-hand menu followed by Site Settings.

Chrome Browser Location

3. Scroll down and click Location.

Chrome browser toggle

4. You can then toggle the Ask before accessing (recommend) option to enable location services.

Enabling Safari Location Services | Desktop Browser

Mac OS System Preferences

1. Start by clicking the Apple symbol in the upper left-hand corner followed by System Preferences.

Mac OS Security Settings

2. Then click Security & Privacy.

Mac OS Privacy Lock

3. Then click the Privacy tab. Click on the padlock in the bottom left-hand corner of the window. You will be asked to authenticate using your AppleID.

Mac OS Browser Safari

4. Once unlocked, ensure the box next to Enable Location Services is checked and then you can specifically check the box next to Safari.

Enabling Microsoft Edge Location Services | Desktop Browser

Microsoft Edge Setting

1. Start by clicking the three-dotted menu located in the top right-hand corner of Microsoft Edge followed by Settings.

Microsoft Edge Site Location

2. From the settings page, click Site permissions from the left menu followed by Location.

Microsoft Edge Toggle

3. Toggle the Ask before accessing option.

You can also allow or block specific sites from accessing your location:

  • Visit a website in Microsoft Edge.
  • In the corner of the address bar, select the Lock, Info, or Dangerous icon and select Site permissions.
  • Next to Location, choose Ask (default), Allow, or Block from the list.

This article was written in December 2020. We've included the most up-to-date instructions available. However, technology is always updating, so these steps may change with time.