Approximate Location Sharing
Whether’s it’s news, shopping, or food delivery, it’s hard to find an app lately that doesn’t want to access your location for some reason or another, but the reality is that most of these apps don’t need your exact location. For example, a news or weather app only needs to know what neighbourhood or even city that you’re in so that it can provide you with localized information. Any more detail than that is just too much, and yet up until now every time you granted an app access to your location, it got your exact pinpoint address, and you really had no way of knowing what the company behind the app was doing with that information.
Now in iOS 14, when an app asks for permission to read your location, you’ll have the option of only sharing your approximate location, and while Apple hasn’t really explained exactly how “approximate” this will be, it’s safe to say that it will be general enough to preclude the kind of tracking which could allow companies to personally identify you based on the places you go.
You can also change this for any app at any time in the Privacy section of the iPhone Settings app, where a new “Precise Location” switch has been added to allow you to switch off sharing of your exact location. You’ll obviously need to leave this on for things like Apple Maps, Google Maps, and Waze, but for the vast majority of apps you can switch it off for better privacy, since even those that suggest they need it to show you “nearby offers” should be able to do well enough with your general location. The only other major exception is that apps that need to look up your exact address, such as ride-hailing and food delivery apps, but for these you should already be taking advantage of the “Allow Once” feature introduced in iOS 13 last year.