How To Change the Location on Your iPhone (Step-by-Step Instructions)

As a cybersecurity expert with over a decade of experience, I often get questions about privacy controls on iPhones. One of the most common asks is how to change your location on an iPhone.

Your iPhone‘s location services allow apps and Apple to know where you are at all times. This powers key features like maps, local recommendations, and Find My iPhone. But it also raises privacy concerns about exactly who can access your location data.

In this guide, I‘ll show you how to change your iPhone‘s location or disable tracking entirely for more privacy. I‘ll go through each method in detail with easy-to-follow steps and screenshots. Let‘s dive in!

Why You Might Want to Change Your Location

Here are some of the top reasons you may want to change or disable location tracking on your iPhone:

  • Privacy – Prevent apps and Apple from monitoring your movements and retaining a location history.

  • Access region-restricted content – Change your virtual location to access streaming libraries, games, websites, and apps limited to certain countries.

  • Battery life – Constant GPS and cellular triangulation can drain your battery faster.

  • Data usage – Apps continually accessing your location can rack up your data usage.

  • Safety – Avoid stalkers or domestic abusers tracking your location without consent.

Personally, I think Apple could be more transparent about how extensively they track your daily movements. Every trip you take is logged and mapped by Apple, according to research by The Guardian.

I encourage users to audit their location settings regularly and only share their location when required for a specific app‘s functionality. You have full control – let‘s go over how to use it.

Turn Off Location Services Entirely

The most straightforward way to prevent location tracking on your iPhone is to toggle the main switch for Location Services off completely:

  1. Open the Settings app and tap Privacy.
  2. Choose Location Services.
  3. Swipe the toggle off to disable location access.

Turn off Location Services on iPhone

With Location Services disabled, your real-time location cannot be accessed by any apps on your iPhone, including Apple‘s own apps and services.


  • Simple one-tap privacy
  • No setup required


  • Location-dependent app features will break
  • Find My iPhone needs location to help find lost devices
  • Apple can‘t collect or retain your location history

If you want a complete block on any location tracking whatsoever, this is the easiest option. Just keep in mind essential functions like Find My iPhone will no longer work.

According to a 2022 Pew Research study, around one quarter of adults have turned off location tracking on their smartphone due to privacy concerns. But there are more flexible ways to maintain privacy while retaining useful location features, as we‘ll cover next.

Selectively Disable Location Per App

For more granular control, you can control which specific apps have access to your location data:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services.
  2. Tap on an app and select Never to block it from receiving your location.
  3. Choose Ask Next Time if you want iOS to prompt you each time that app requests your location.

Block location access for specific iPhone apps

I recommend scrutinizing the list and restricting any apps that don‘t need constant location tracking. Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram fall into this category in my opinion.


  • Maintain privacy from invasive apps
  • App features still work if location access allowed


  • Time consuming to configure each app
  • Apple still collects your data for their own apps

Selectively restricting apps gives you more flexibility to balance utility and privacy. But Apple still gets your data for their own apps, and you‘ll need to monitor and prune the list to limit new apps from accessing your information.

Use a VPN to Change Your Virtual Location

A VPN, or virtual private network, allows you to route your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel to a server in a location of your choosing. This means your iPhone‘s IP address will match the VPN server location rather than your true location.

Here‘s how to use a VPN to change your iPhone‘s location:

  1. Choose a VPN app like ExpressVPN or NordVPN.
  2. Download the app and sign up for an account.
  3. Connect to a server in your desired location.

NordVPN change country

I recommend VPNs as the most flexible and secure way to change your location. Apps will think you‘re in the selected city or country, allowing you to bypass geo-restrictions.

According to GlobalStats, 35% of VPN users do so primarily to access region-blocked content and websites.


  • Access region-restricted content
  • Choose from thousands of server locations
  • Encrypts Internet traffic for added privacy


  • Monthly subscription fee for most VPNs
  • Slight impact on Internet speeds

VPN encryption protects your web traffic from snooping, and you can instantly shift locations just by changing the server. It‘s my preferred method for controlling my phone‘s location.

Avoid Unsafe GPS Spoofing Apps

You may come across GPS spoofing apps in the App Store that claim to change your iPhone‘s location. However, Apple expressly prohibits these apps, and most fail to live up to their promises.

The only way an app could truly override your GPS coordinates is with elevated system privileges. To gain this level of access requires jailbreaking your iPhone – an extremely risky process that voids your warranty.

Most location spoofing apps rely on virtual overlays or inaccurate background location changes. Any app able to genuinely override your GPS would violate Apple‘s strict policies.

I strongly advise against any GPS spoofing apps making improbable claims. Look out for these red flags:

⛔ Requires root or jailbreak access

⛔ Developer based in an unverified region

⛔ Reviews mentioning it doesn‘t work

⛔ Contains misleading advertising

⛔ Asks for account passwords or credit card info

Fake GPS app

The risks posed by potentially malicious apps far outweigh any location masking benefits. Avoid them and use a reputable VPN instead if you need to change your location.

How Does the iPhone Determine Your Location?

To give you full control over your location data, it helps to understand exactly how the iPhone identifies your real-time location using various sensors:

  • GPS – The GPS chip pinpoints latitude and longitude coordinates via satellite. This provides the most precise location tracking.

  • Cellular – The iPhone sends cellular data from the nearest cell phone towers to approximate your location.

  • WiFi – iOS matches nearby WiFi networks against a database of known hotspot locations.

  • Bluetooth – Positioning information from Bluetooth devices and beacons helps triangulate your location.

  • Motion Sensors – Accelerometer data improves positioning accuracy when moving.

  • Magnetometer – The digital compass in your iPhone enhances heading info for better GPS accuracy.

  • Barometer – Measures atmospheric pressure changes from elevation as you move.

Apple continually combines these data points to generate and update your real-time geographic coordinates dozens of times per minute. This allows Apple to retain a detailed map tracing your daily movements and travels.

While this technology enables helpful features, it also empowers surveillance capitalism, in my opinion. That‘s why understanding how to minimize and selectively share your location is so important.

Frequently Asked Privacy Questions

Let‘s wrap up with answers to some common questions about location privacy controls on your iPhone:

Can you change your location without anyone knowing?

Yes, using a VPN or disabling location access lets you hide or change your location privately without informing others. Just beware that some apps may not work properly without location access.

Can they still track my location if I turn it off?

No. Disabling location services prevents your real-time location from being tracked by all apps and Apple services. However, your cell phone carrier may still have access to your approximate location.

Is it bad to keep Location Services off?

Not necessarily. You‘ll lose key functionality like Find My iPhone, maps/navigation, and location-based app features. But if privacy is your priority, disabling location tracking is an effective option.

What happens when you turn off Location Services?

When disabled, apps and services like Find My iPhone won‘t work properly. Your iPhone cannot collect or retain a history of your movements and locations. Some apps may request you re-enable location access to function.

Can iPhone track you without permission?

No, iOS requires consent each time an app wants to access your location. But Apple can aggregate your location history from their own apps without any additional permissions. Disabling Location Services prevents all tracking.

Take Control of Your Location Privacy

Your iPhone offers powerful controls to limit location tracking and change your virtual location for more privacy:

  • Disable Location Services entirely
  • Restrict access on a per-app basis
  • Connect to a VPN to mask your true location

Hopefully this guide gave you a better understanding of how location services work on iOS and how to configure your preferences. Personally, I suggest a VPN for the best balance of utility, security and privacy when it comes to controlling your iPhone‘s location.

Luis Masters

Written by Luis Masters

Luis Masters is a highly skilled expert in cybersecurity and data security. He possesses extensive experience and profound knowledge of the latest trends and technologies in these rapidly evolving fields. Masters is particularly renowned for his ability to develop robust security strategies and innovative solutions to protect against sophisticated cyber threats.

His expertise extends to areas such as risk management, network security, and the implementation of effective data protection measures. As a sought-after speaker and author, Masters regularly contributes valuable insights into the evolving landscape of digital security. His work plays a crucial role in helping organizations navigate the complex world of online threats and data privacy.