How to disable Location History on Facebook to extend iPhone battery life

iOS 7 (battery empty 001)

Yesterday, Facebook issued an update to its main iOS client to help extend your iPhone’s battery life by preventing it from playing audio silently in the background.

File the move under the ‘too little, too late’ drawer: if history is anything to go by, waiting for Facebook engineers to deliver a fully battery-friendly iOS app might be a fool’s errand.

The biggest contributor to Facebook’s infamous battery drain has got to be the app’s continuous monitoring of your location, which continues after leaving the app. In this tutorial, we’ll teach you how to prevent this by disabling a feature called Location History, thereby helping reclaim some of the juice lost to the battery-hogging app.

Location History is a setting that allows Facebook to build a history of your precise location, as provided by your iPhone’s GPS and iOS’s location services. When this is on, Facebook tracks your precise location even if you leave the app.

Cool, I just won’t be turning History Location on, I hear you saying. The problem is, using Facebook’s Nearby Friends feature automatically enables Location History.

While Nearby Friends is currently available in select areas, those who do have it should follow the steps outlined in this tutorial and turn Location History off to stop Facebook from monitoring your location when you’re not interacting with the app.

How to disable Location History on Facebook

Step 1: Launch Facebook’s official iOS app on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap More in the tab bar alongside the bottom.

Step 3: Now Tap the Nearby Friends section.

IMPORTANT: If you don’t see this option, then neither Nearby Friends nor Location History are live in your area yet.

Step 4: Tap the gear icon.

Step 5: Choose Location Settings.

Step 6: Tap to turn Location History on or off.

NEXT STEP: After disabling Location History inside the app, you also should change location access for Facebook’s app on your iPhone from ‘Always’ or ‘While Using the App’ to ‘Never’, as outlined further below.

How to change iPhone location access settings for Facebook

Step 1: Launch Settings on your iPhone.

Step 2: Tap on Privacy → Location Services → Facebook.

Step 3: Tap on ‘Never,’ or choose ‘While Using the App’.

Facebook location access iPhone screenshot 001

“If you haven’t opted into Location History by setting location access to Always and enabling Location History inside the app, then we aren’t accessing your device’s location in the background,“ Facebook claims.

‘Never’ vs. ‘While Using the App’

Choosing ‘Never’ is a sure-fire solution to the problem: this will stop all location tracking for the app and also prevent certain location-based features from working. For example, you won’t be able to add location to your posts, use Nearby Friends and Nearby Places, tag posts with location and so forth.

As a workaround, temporarily adjust location access for Facebook to ‘While Using the App’ in iOS Settings when using these features, and revert to ‘Never’ when finished.

Choosing ‘While Using the App’ allows Facebook to access your location when the app or its features are visible on the screen. “Facebook uses this to make some features work, help people find places and more,” says the prompt.

Keep in mind that Facebook has been found to employ dirty tricks to keep its app awake and running in the background on your iPhone, even when you’re not using it.

Bottom line: go with the ‘Never’ option to be 100 percent sure.

Have you found this tip useful?

If you would like to share Facebook battery-saving advice of your own with the community, feel free to post your tips in the comment section below.