How to control which apps and System Services have access to your personal information on your iPad

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One of the most important things we can do to keep us safer in this day and age is to actively take a responsible role in controlling the information we share on our  electronic devices.  Apple has made this somewhat easier for us by adjusting many of the iPad’s default settings to safer modes out of the box.  Safeguards like this force us to have to give permission to apps the first time they require information that would generally be considered private.

The category at the top of the list when it comes to privacy is the often debated, Location Services.  This is because apps that are compatible with Location Services can potentially gather and use your information as data points indicating your location. One way this information can be translated is via local Wi-Fi networks, when activated on your iPad.  However the data collected by Apple is completely anonymous and does not identify you or your location in a way that personally identifies you. Furthermore, you will always be able to tell when an app is currently using your location because there will be an icon of an arrow next to it in the Location Services portion of the Settings App.


The extent to which the app has used your information is further broken down and identified with color and clear outlined arrows.  Solid purple indicates that an app has recently used your location. A dark gray filled arrow icon means that an app has used your location within the last 24 hours, and a purple outlined arrow indicates that a geofence is being used for that app.  A geofence is a perimeter, and it is helpful when you would like to be notified when you arrive and leave specific locations.

While still in the Settings App, you can turn location services on or off under Settings–> Privacy–> Location Services.  Here, all the apps and services that you had previously granted permission to use your location are displayed.  One thing to note–if you ever choose to turn off location services for a particular app that you had once allowed to use your location, you will once again have to grant this app permission to use your location again.


Lastly, you can also control when System Services use your location. This happens when services like location-based ads, motion calibration and automatic time zone adjustments are made in the background.  Full the full list of these services and to view the last time they were activated, scroll to the bottom of the list of Location Services Apps in Settings, and then select System Services.

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