iOS 4: Keeping Track of Location Services

Plenty of apps can use the Location Services feature built into iOS 4 to keep track of exactly where you are, or to help you figure out where you might be. Since apps can use this feature even when they’re hiding in the background, Apple added a way for you to know when one it doing its thing.

If an app that’s running in the background is using Location Services to find your location, you’ll see a compass pointer near the battery charge indicator on your iPhone’s Home screen. Some turn-by-turn navigation apps, for example, can use the built-in GPS to direct you to your destination even when they’re running in the background.

The Location Services indicator.

If you don’t want apps using Location Services, you can disable the feature for all apps, or for individual apps. Here’s how:

  • Tap Settings.
  • Tap General.
  • Tap Location Services.
  • Set the Location Services slider to Off to disable the feature completely, or disable specific apps from the Location Services list.

You can disable Location Services globally, or per-app.

Disabling Location Services will prevent apps from finding your current location, or in the case of the Camera app, from tagging your photos with the current location. For the power conscious, it will help conserve battery life, too.