How Location Services works in iOS 9

Gone are those days when we were turning off and on the GPS of our smartphone depending on whether we used TomTom or Google Maps or not to prevent our battery from plummeting. Location services have become almost as essential as the data connection, and more and more applications and system functions require them to be activated. The improvement in the precision of our location and the lower battery consumption thanks to the use of new technologies to determine our location have allowed our smartphone to be able to know our location and even anticipate our needs, offering us what we are going to need according to our location even before that we ask for it. That is why it is worth taking a moment to learn how these location services work and what they offer us..

What are location services

They work without us even knowing it, in the background, always active, analyzing each and every one of the steps we take to know where we are going, what time we are in what places and what our daily routines are. Said like this, it can even be scary that our iPhone knows all that about us, but it is the only way it can help us. Our smartphone is already much more than a phone from which to call, send whatsapps and view Facebook. Apple, Google, Samsung… they all want it to become our personal assistant, and as any self-respecting personal assistant should know where we are at any given moment.

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But do not panic, because Apple puts in our hands the options to control this, and despite the fact that all this data about our location (according to Apple) does not leave our device or is used for any other purpose than that of offer us suggestions or use those functions that we need, we can always go to the system settings to give permission only to what we want.

Configuring the Location

Apple’s settings allow us to very finely control location and how third-party applications, including the system itself, can use it. Within Settings>Privacy>Location we have a general button that activates and deactivates the location in its entirety, but it is not recommended to disable it because we would be wasting functions that are very interesting. However, a little further down we do have configuration options that are worth knowing to know how to use them well.

The “Share my location” section is used to tell the system if we allow it to share our location with other peopleLike the members of our family. In addition, it also allows us to configure from which device we share it, as long as it has our same iCloud ID. So we can tell it to share it from our iPad that never moves from home, and whenever someone wants to check where we are, our home will appear as a location, even if we are with the iPhone in another place.

Just below this option we have the configuration by application. Individually we can allow applications to use our location, with several options available:

  • Never – You will not have access to the location
  • When used: You will only have access when the application is on screen or one of its functions is.
  • Always: you can use it even if it is in the background
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It is important to make sure which applications have access and which ones do not, especially when we refer to third-party applications that sometimes, despite Apple’s controls, they make inappropriate use of localization.

At the end of the long list we find the System Services, features of iOS that use location and that we can also control. Advertising and the time zone are functions that on many occasions are not necessary at all and that we can do without, or like HomeKit, completely expendable if you do not have any compatible accessories.

Finally we have the possibility configure the system so that each time location is used an icon appears in the status bar, useful to keep track of what our smartphone does.

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