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How To Keep Your iPhone From Telling Everyone Where You Live

Talking to Tanya and Holly today, I learned they were unaware that their iPhones could be giving out personal information without them knowing it.  iPhones, as well as other smartphones and even GPS-enabled digital cameras, embed location information in pictures taken with the GPS on.  This can be a useful and fun feature when the pictures are from famous places and locations, but what if the picture is taken at your house?  Follow these instructions, and you won’t be giving strangers a road map to your house, literally.

Your picture is on the map

To show you an example of what I mean, I just took a picture here in the studio with my iPhone location services on, and opened it up in iPhoto on my computer:

matty j

Take a look in the bottom right corner.  That small Google map shows exactly where that picture was taken, right here at the corner of Court and State Streets in Binghamton.  Were I to email that picture, or post it directly to Facebook or a blog, anyone could see precisely where the picture was taken.  Had I taken that picture at home, that would be a nice little Google map to my house!

How to turn your iPhone’s camera location services off

Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to turn this feature off and back on whenever you want.  First, press the Settings icon on your iOS device, it will bring you to this screen:

Matty J

You want to change the ‘Privacy’ settings, so touch that:

Matty J

If ‘Location Services’ is already set to OFF, then you are all set, your pictures are not being tagged with any location.  Most people have this set to ON though, as Maps and Siri don’t work with it OFF.  Touch ‘Location Services’:

Matty J

This will show all of the apps on your phone that can use your location for various purposes.  Here you can individually select which apps can access the phone’s GPS.  I have all of them turned off except Siri and Maps.  To turn off the location tagging of your pictures, just touch the switch.   You can do this for individual pictures, or you can leave it on or off permanently.

Once the location service is off for the camera, it will no longer put your location on the picture, but any pictures you may have taken before that will still have that info.

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