How to Work With Location Services in iOS 7

| How-To

The term Location Awareness is assigned to electronic devices, such as iPhones and iPads, that can passively or actively determine their location. Location Awareness is evident in several technologies present in our iDevices. For example, they are capable of establishing a virtual perimeter in the real-world geographic area in which they are located. This technology is called Geofencing, which I discussed in an article; “How to Adjust Geofencing in Reminders for iPhone and iPad” here on TMO. 

The underlying framework that manages all this magic, and more, is known as Location Services. It allows location-based apps and websites to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS, and now Bluetooth and iBeacons to determine your approximate location. Location-aware apps include Maps, Camera, Safari, as well as other Apple and vast numbers of third-party apps.

The Privacy settings panel in iOS

The Location Services panel has a “master switch”, but by disabling everything, the device’s full utility is compromised

An example of Location Services in action is where an app will use your location data as well as location search queries you make, to help you find nearby theaters, cafés, or banks to name a few. Also, how do you think your device sets its time zone automatically no matter what your location? Yes, via Location Services. 

Before all you Privacy nerds out there get all flummoxed, you’ll be glad to learn that for all this to work, Location Services must be manually enabled on the device. Essentially, you are empowered to give your permission to iOS and to each app or website before it can use your location data. The “master switch” is located in in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

The Location Services settings panel

The Location Services “master switch” plus the full list of all apps’ Location Services status. These can be individually controlled.

In iOS 7, if you disable Location Services and use Find My iPhone Lost Mode, Location Services will be re-enabled on the device as long as the device is in Lost Mode. Lost Mode settings can be found in the Find iPhone app (which is also on the iPad). Once Lost Mode is disabled, Location Services will return to its previous state. In case you are wondering, Lost Mode lets you lock and track a missing device. You can also provide contact information in case someone finds your little friend gone missing.

Next: How Accurate Are Location Services?

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Location services on my wi-fi only iPad lets me see my location on a map and will show a moving blue dot as I travel. It seems that I must have my map open while on wi-fi, and the dot and map shows my location. It works in urban settings but I do not think out in the wilds. Cool feature, if I remember to start off with the map app open.

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