When you first get your hands on your Android smartphone, you’ll be asked about location services and whether you want to enable them. Google and your carrier will have its own location services that you’ll need to approve as well. But what you might not know is that there are actually a few other options for location services with Android which can affect your smartphone’s security. To that end, let’s take a look at how to change some of these Android settings.
Photos and GPS taggingYour Android smartphone gives you the ability to attach GPS coordinates to the pictures you take, known as geo-locating or GPS tagging. This lets you arrange pictures in albums by locations, or lets Google+ stitch together stories of your trips. Geo-locating images in itself isn’t a bad thing, but you can get into trouble when you broadcast sensitive locations to the world. For instance, a picture of your expensive watch with a GPS tag of your house isn’t the best idea.
Four ways to control geo-locating photos:
- Go to your camera settings and you’ll find an on/off toggle.
- Simply go into Settings>Location and from there you can decide if you want the location saved along with your images.
- Download an EXIF editor and manually remove the location information from specific images.
- You can also turn off location services altogether by going to Settings>Location.
Discrete location settingsApart from location settings in photos and GPS tagging, Android actually has three discrete location settings which allow you to set how accurately you want location reporting to be. You can find these at Settings>Location, Note that this affects your smartphone’s battery life immensely.
- High accuracy: This uses the GPS radio in your phone to pinpoint its exact location from satellites while making use of nearby Wi-Fi and cellular networks too.
- Battery saving: This mode only uses Wi-Fi networks and mobile networks to identify locations, and while it might not be as accurate it will help your phone last longer.
- Device sensors only: This only uses the GPS radio to find you. It may take a little more time to find your location since it’s not using nearby Wi-Fi and mobile networks to get your general location first. This also uses more battery.