Home > Resources for Library Staff > Teaching Moments > Understanding Location Data

Teaching Moment

Understanding Location Data

If you have a mobile device, you might have had an app request access to your location and wondered if you should share it. Location data is considered to be some of the most sensitive personal information about you, as it tells someone where you are and, over time, can let people infer things like where you live and work, as well as times when you’re not home. So you should only share your location data with apps that you trust and that need that information to work. Here are some things to think about when it comes to location data.

  • Most smartphones have “location settings” or “location services” under the privacy settings. You can turn off all location services on your phone, but it may make more sense to go through and turn them on or off for each app. 
  • Some apps need your location data to work. This includes Maps, Weather, and Transit apps. Check your settings–you might be able to change your settings so you only share your location with these apps when you are using them. 
  • Some phones let you share your location with trusted others. Make sure that you only share your phone’s location with people you know and trust like family members.
  • In general, it’s not a good idea to post on social media about your current location. For example, if you post that you’re out of state on vacation, someone could use that information to break into your home.