Location Services & Privacy

Location Services is designed to protect your information and enable you to choose what you share.

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 theaters, 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 receive location data from Location Services. Apps may request limited access to your location data (only when you are using the app or approximate location) or full access (even when you are not using the app or precise location).

For safety purposes, however, your iPhone’s location information may be used when an emergency call is placed to aid response efforts regardless of whether you enable Location Services.

Location Services uses device sensors, including GPS and Bluetooth (where those are available), along with crowd-sourced Wi-Fi hotspot and cell tower locations to determine your device’s 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:

  • Routing and Traffic: While you are in transit (for example, walking or driving), your iPhone will periodically send GPS data, travel speed and direction, and barometric pressure information in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple, to be used for augmenting crowd-sourced road traffic, roadway, pedestrian walkway, and atmospheric correction databases. Additionally, when you open an app near a point of interest (for example, a business or park) your iPhone will send location data in an anonymous and encrypted form to Apple which Apple may aggregate and use to let users know if that point of interest is open and how busy it is.
  • 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 personalized services, such as predictive traffic routing, and to build better Memories in Photos.
  • Suggestions & Search: 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.
  • Alerts & Shortcuts Automations: 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 Customization: Your iPhone will customize system appearance, behaviors, and settings using your current location, for example by automatically enabling Optimized Battery Charging when you are at home. This customization 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 an emergency call is placed, in addition to location already provided to emergency services, your iPhone or Apple Watch will make supplementary data available through the Enhanced Emergency Data service. This may include street address information if your current location is near the Home or Work address in your personal contact card (My Card). Triggering Emergency SOS will also send location to your emergency contacts at the end of the call.

The crowd-sourced location data gathered by Apple does not 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 and its partners and licensees to provide and improve location-based and road traffic-based products and services.

You can disable Location Services at any time. To do so, go to Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services, and either tap to turn off global Location Services 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 can also disable location-based System Services by tapping System Services, then tapping to turn off each location-based System Service. Apps or websites may still use other information, such as the IP address of your internet connection, to attempt to approximate your location, regardless of the state of the Location Services switch.

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.

At all times, information collected by Apple will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at www.apple.com/privacy

Published Date: March 5, 2024