How to Use iPhone Setting Location Services

By Aaron Parson

Change the settings for your iPhone's GPS in the Location Services options. Permit or block particular apps or hide your location entirely.

Location Services on the iPhone combines data from GPS satellites, Wi-Fi routers, cell towers and Bluetooth connections to pinpoint your phone's geographic location. With your permission, iOS apps can use your location in a variety of ways: A mapping app can center on your current location, while a social media app or the Camera app can tag images with your locale. To turn Location Services on or off, or to change settings for an individual app, use the iPhone's Settings app.


When an app is using Location Services, an arrow icon appears in the status bar.

Step 1

Open the Privacy page in the Settings app.


On old phones running iOS 5 or earlier, you'll find the Location Services option on the main page of the Settings app rather than on the Privacy page.

Step 2

Location Services settings

Tap Location Services.

Step 3

Location Services toggle

Switch the Location Services option off to disable Location Services entirely. Switch it on to enable Location Services in permitted apps.


Open Share My Location to enable or disable location sharing with friends in the Messages app and the Find My Friends app. If you have multiple iOS devices, you can also pick which one to use when sharing your location.

Step 4

App-specific settings

Scroll down and tap an app to change its Location Services permissions. To change permissions for iOS system activities, scroll to the bottom of the list and tap System Services.


The Never setting blocks an app from using Location Services entirely. While Using permits the app to use your location while you have the app open. Always gives the app permission to use your location even when the app is running in the background. Not all apps offer all three options; most apps don't need your location while in the background.

Step 5

System Services Location settings

Switch off any of the system services to prevent them from using your location.


Turning off Location Services for system services can impede your iPhone's normal behavior. If you turn off Setting Time Zone, for example, your clock won't update when you cross time zones. If you turn off Find My iPhone, you won't be able to locate your phone if you lose it.


  • If an app or system service displays a gray arrow icon, it has used your location in the last 24 hours. A purple icon indicates recent location use.
  • Turn on Status Bar Icon at the bottom of the System Services page if you want to see the Location Services icon in your status bar when a system service uses your location. By default, with this option off, the icon only displays when an app uses your location.