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It’s time to take another look at your iPhone location permissions. Now you don’t have to give apps permanent access to your location: you can only grant access once and require consent each time an app wants your location.

New privacy option for your location

Prior to iOS 13 for iPhone and the new iPadOS for iPad, you only had three options when an app needed access to your location: Never, When Using, and Always.

The «When using» option is a good compromise, ensuring that apps can open maps and use your location while you’re using them. Unlike apps with Always permission, they cannot access your location in the background.

There’s still one problem here: if you give an app access to your location once, that app may continue to access your location over and over again if you use it in the future. What if you just want to open the map in the app without giving it permanent access to your location?

You can now force apps to «ask next time»

Now there is another compromise option: «Allow once», also known as «Ask next time». When an app wants to access your location, you can give it access to your location only this time and make it ask next time by tapping the «Allow once» option. You control how much the app can access your location.

This change is part of iOS 13 for iPhone and the new iPadOS for iPad. As requested by the new Bluetooth permission apps, this change can help protect the privacy of your physical location. It’s up to you if you want to show it to apps.

Previously, to accomplish something like this, you had to allow location access for the app, then immediately view the Settings app and revoke it.

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When you want to do it

Many apps ask for access to your location, but don’t necessarily require it all the time. For example, a store application might request access to a location when you open a map of nearby locations. Previously, you had to select «During Use» to grant this access, but then the app will have free access to your location as many times as you want while you’re using the app. This data can then be used to track your shopping habits and target advertising.

This new option only allows you to access your location once.

Should I make every app I use always request location access? Probably no. Some apps just need your location — you’ll probably want to share your location with Uber or Lyft every time you use it for a ride.

On the other hand, if you just want to tell the app your location once in order to access a certain feature, «Allow Once» is a reasonable option to start with. If you find yourself using app permissions quite often, you can select «Allow when using app» in the future and avoid prompts.

How to force previously installed applications to prompt

If you previously granted the app access to your location—or denied it—you won’t see this permission prompt. However, you can still select the «Ask next time» option for any of the installed iPhone or iPad apps.

To do this, go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. You will see a list of applications and their permission settings.

iPhone location services screen showing various Google apps with

Click the app name here to change its location. You can then choose to «Ask Next Time» if you like.

This option is available for all applications. App developers can’t stop you from choosing it for your apps.

iPhone location permissions showing Yelp app set to

By the way, if you select «Ask next time» and then deny access to your location, the app’s access to your location will be set to «Never» and it will not be able to access your location again. This prevents the application from being bombarded with location requests. You can still go to the Settings app and set «Ask next time».

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