These days, most apps requests access to my photos or to my current location. Of course, I can decide to grant or block that access, but I’ve always wondered why apps that are not related to maps or navigation need those specific details.
After searching for an explanation, I found out that there are two categories of apps requesting your geographic information. Some will use your current location to serve you relevant and useful information (like weather apps, travel apps and even Google maps) and other will use it for shady purposes, so they can serve you ads and offers in your own language or according to your location. While the ones in the first category have a good reason to know and to use your location, apps in the second category will probably use your location for their own benefit. More than that, they will probably run down your smartphone’s battery in their attempt to check your location every few minutes. Another shady practice is to let apps access your photos, even if these apps have nothing to do with images. They will probably use the photo’s embedded geotags to serve you some sort of advertising.
Should I reveal my location to these apps?
As I said, there are two categories of apps, and you should learn how to differentiate them, so you can grant or block their access to your sensitive details.
- apps that will use your geographic location to serve you useful information (that you’ve previously requested)
- apps that will use your location for their own profit, to serve you ads or offers that were not requested
In order to keep your smartphone as clean as possible (and maybe as safe as possible) you should always choose to install apps with good reviews. If you think that an app will work just as fine without knowing your current location, try to skip this step, using alternative methods of identifying your location (try to manually enter your ZIP code).
Another way to prevent your battery from going dry is to disable the location service when you’re not using the GPS or other special apps that will use it. You should reveal your current location only to established and well-known apps, and even then, try to skip this step if you can. Be smart, be safe!