Tech Guide

How to stop Facebook from tracking your location on Android even when you're not using the app

Key Points
  • Facebook on Wednesday rolls out a new feature that lets users stop the Facebook app from tracking their location on Android phones.
  • If location tracking was enabled in the past, Facebook's Android app tracks you even when you're not using it.
  • This isn't needed on iOS where users can change iPhone settings from tracking them without having to open an app.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg
Marlene Awaad | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Facebook is rolling out a new feature to its Android app that lets you stop the company from tracking your location even when you're not using the app.

This is a function that's already built into iPhones, which let you limit whether an app can track you any time, only when you're using it or never.

Facebook uses your location information to target ads, show you nearby events and to identify where you're logging in from, and it stores a copy of your precise location data. You have to manually enable Location History for Facebook to track you in the first place, but you may have done this if you've ever used a feature like location tagging for photos.

I'll show you how to stop Facebook from using your location on Android even when you don't have the app open.

Here's how to stop Facebook from tracking you when you're not using it on Android

  • Open Facebook on your Android phone.
  • You should see a notification that looks like the one above, tap "Manage Settings."
  • Toggle background location to off.

The update is still rolling out, so you might not see that notification yet. If you don't, you can still turn off full access to Facebook's ability to track your phone location, even while you're using the app.

To do that:

  • Tap the settings menu on the top right. It looks like three bars stacked on top of one another.
  • Choose Settings & Privacy.
  • Select Privacy Shortcuts.
  • Choose Manage your location settings.
  • Turn location tracking off.

And, in case you're an iPhone user, you can already stop Facebook — or any other app — from tracking you on an iPhone.

Here's how:

  • Open Settings.
  • Tap "Privacy."
  • Select "Location Services."
  • If you want to completely stop all apps from using your location, turn Location Services off.
  • If you want to manage settings app by app, tap each app and choose "Never" or "While Using." Make sure apps that don't need your location, like most games, are set to "Never." Other apps should be set to track your location only while you're using them. There's no reason an app needs to track you all the time.
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