How Do I Change Location Settings on an Android Device?

In this tutorial, you will learn:

·      what location settings are
·      why location settings are important
·      how apps and Android devices use location settings
·      how to manage location settings on an Android device


Most current mobile devices, such as Android, can track your current location. They do this to take advantage of built-in mapping capabilities and to personalize information for you. This information can be customized to your current physical location. This capability has both positive and negative characteristics. If you’re a runner, you may want to track your distance and location (Image 1) on daily runs. On the other hand, you may value your privacy and not want to track or provide your constant location.

The example shown here (Image 1) is the Runkeeper app, which uses location services to provide you with an exact map and details of your run or walk.

Image 1 - Runkeeper app
Image 1

Why Are Location Settings Important?

Location Settings are important because with each app that you use, you are subject to that app’s specific privacy policies and terms. You should always be aware of these terms before enabling location services for each app on your Android device.

How Do Apps Use Location Settings?

Apps might use your current location to help you find nearby restaurants and gas stations, or to label a specific location in a post.

How Do I Manage Location Settings On My Android?

Location Services on an Android device can also be found under Settings. Select Settings (Image 2), and then select Location.

Under Location (Image 3), select Mode. Android has three options for Location mode (Image 4). Each of the options affects your battery life in different ways. High accuracy uses GPS radio in your phone to get its exact location from satellites. It also uses nearby Wifi and cellular networks. The Battery saving option only uses Wifi and mobile networks. It will not be as accurate, but it will help your phone battery last longer. The Device only option uses GPs radio to find your location. It will take longer and be less accurate, but this option will extend battery life even further.

Image 2-3-4-Location Settings on Android
Image 2, 3, and 4

How Do I Manage Location History On My Android?

To turn off location history on an Android phone, go to Settings and choose Location (Image 5). Select Google Location History (Image 5). Select “off” to turn off location tracking (Image 6). Select “delete location history” (bottom of Image 6) if you would like to delete your previous locations that have been recorded on your Android phone.

Image 5-6 Location History on Android
Image 5 and 6

The Control Lies With the User

Remember – you are in control. You have the ability to enable or disable Location Services at any time. Android devices and Apps cannot use Location Services without your permission. The control stays with the user when it comes to location services on a smartphone.

Download this PDF file if you would like a printed version of this tutorial.