Posted in Commentary

Privacy, Protection and PRISM

With some of the latest revelations about alleged government monitoring and privacy concerns heightened, you may want to learn more about privacy settings on your iOS devices.


Location Settings

According to Apple

Location Services allows location-based apps and websites (including Maps, Camera, Safari, and other Apple and third-party apps) to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, and Global Positioning System (GPS) networks to determine your approximate location.
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 device and give your permission to each app or website before it can use your location data.

One quick way to determine whether location services is active is to look at the top of your iOS device and see if the little arrow is on. (Seen below in the red box).

Location Indicator

Of course, some services or apps you run you may wish to invoke or use location services. These include Find My Friends or your camera so you can automatically geotag an image as to the GPS location where the photo was taken.

Turning Location Services On or Off

Apple explains “You can turn Location Services on or off at Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You can turn Location Services on either during the Setup Assistant process or later through the Location Services setting. You can turn it off if you don’t want to use this feature or to conserve battery life. You can individually control which applications and system services have access to Location Services data.”

Settings > Privacy > Location Services:

Location Services on

You can then toggle the individual app’s ability to use the location services.

There are separate settings for  services used by the system. You can toggle these on or off as well.

Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services:

System Services scrreen in Location Services

Privacy Settings

Apple also explains “If you allow third-party apps or websites to use your current location, you are subject to their terms, privacy policies, and practices. You should review the terms, privacy policies, and practices of the apps and websites to understand how they use your location and other information. Information Apple collects will be treated in accordance with Apple’s Privacy Policy, which can be found at”

Ad Tracking

Apple uses an identifier for advertisers that assigns a unique and anonymous number to act like a cookie, keeping track of your app and web habits to target advertisements for each device. To opt out, you have to turn on Limit Ad Tracking.

This is accomplished by going to Settings > General > About > Advertising and sliding on. Additionally, to the extent your device has been tracked, you can tap on Reset Advertising Identifier to get a new identifier.

Ad Tracking



There are multiple ways that the tracking services used by your iOS device can assist you. Part of that assistance comes at the price of lack of anonymity. Learning more about the privacy settings of your device and apps can help you limit the access others have to your interests and activities.


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