Disable location sharing on iPhone

iOS has unassuming little switches in Messages and Find My Friends for permitting friends and family to see your current geographical location or receive continually updated location as you move about with an iPhone in your pocket.

It’s a really great feature for power users but also a privacy nightmare for parents. You don’t want your kids to walk around with a probe in their pocket, no?

Responsible parents will weigh pros and cons of location sharing and restrict the feature so that kids cannot share their location with a stranger, intentionally or not.

This tutorial¬†will¬†teach you how to leverage restricted features¬†and other switches in iOS to stop built-in¬†location sharing in Messages and Find My Friends, and disallow¬†apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger or¬†Viber to¬†access iOS’s Location Services.

How to disable sharing of your location on iPhone and iPad

1) Go to Settings ‚Üí Your Account ‚Üí iCloud ‚Üí Share My Location and slide the Share My Location toggle to the OFF position. This shall¬†turn off iOS’s Share My Location feature in Messages and Find My Friends.

Turn off Share My Location

Next, we’re going to lock Share My Location settings.¬†This will ensure that¬†no one can re-enable Share My Location¬†in Settings.

2) Go to Settings ‚Üí General ‚Üí Restrictions on your device.

3) Type your restrictions passcode to access the section.

enter passcode to enable restrictions

Those who haven’t used Restrictions before must tap Enable Restrictions at the top in order to create¬†a restrictions passcode used to¬†adjust restricted settings on this device.

Tip: Choose a restrictions passcode different from the passcode for your iOS device.

4) Tap Share My Location underneath the Privacy heading.

5) Tap Don’t Allow Changes.

Don't allow changes to location settings

‚ÄúDisallowing changes locks the current settings for location sharing in Messages and Find My Friends,‚ÄĚ reads the description‚ÄĒand that’s¬†precisely what we set out to do.

Conveniently enough, disallowing changes to Share My Location grays¬†out the Add button¬†in Find My Friends, meaning your junior¬†won’t be permitted to add new people to share their location with.

iOS 9 Find My Friends Share My Location iPhone screenshot 002

On the flip side, the Send My Current Location option is still available in Messages.

But don’t worry, you only need to¬†take a few additional steps to completely turn¬†location sharing off in Messages and other messaging apps installed on the device.

6) Go to Settings ‚Üí Privacy ‚Üí Location Services ‚Üí Messages and tap Never.

This completely kills the ability to send one’s current location to another party via¬†Messages.¬†Don’t forget to¬†set¬†other messaging apps¬†on this device¬†to Never:¬†the¬†usual suspects include¬†Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Facebook Paper, WhatsApp, Viber, Snapchat, Foursquare and Swarm, to name a few.

But the problem is, iOS puts up a prompt upon attempting to share location in an app which is not permitted to use Location Services. It typically includes a shortcut button for Location Services settings.

Prompt to turn on location services

This is problematic because now¬†your kid can simply tap that button to be¬†taken to that app’s Location Services settings. There, they can grant the app access to their location¬†with a single tap.

Once again, Restrictions come to the rescue.

7)¬†Go to Settings ‚Üí General ‚Üí Restrictions, type in your restrictions passcode, tap Location Services under the Privacy heading and then hit¬†Don’t Allow Changes.

Don't allow changes to location services restrictions

This shall lock Location Services settings for apps on this device.

From now on, adjusting Location Services will be impossible without a restrictions passcode. As a bonus, locking down Location Services settings will prevent newly installed apps on this device from using its geographical location.

That’s tremendously¬†useful: no longer will you need to¬†degrade¬†your junior’s experience by turning off the ability to install new location-sharing¬†apps from the App Store.

Restrictions tips and tricks

Much like Parental Controls on Mac and iTunes, the Restrictions feature on the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad makes it simple to prevent certain features on your device from being used or exposed to the user.

If you’re a parent or just need¬†to restrict some¬†features on an¬†iOS device, use Restrictions to prevent deleting apps on your¬†device, disable In-App Purchases, set content restrictions,¬†prevent¬†explicit music from appearing in playlists, block certain websites, filter mature language for Siri and Dictation, prevent sharing of photos and videos to specific apps,¬†disallow changes to certain settings such as the volume limit,¬†prohibit¬†the use of certain apps¬†like FaceTime¬†and much, much more.

Need help? Ask iDB!

Not sure how to do certain things on your Apple device?

Let us know at¬†[email protected]¬†and our¬†future tutorials might cover your¬†specific problem and hopefully provide a solution.

Submit your how-to suggestions¬†at¬†[email protected].