Mobile Geo-Tagging – How It Works and Important Things to Know

  • Location services and geo-tagging provide information that may be sold on to advertisers, who can use this data to provide you with targeted advertising based on your position – and loads of it.
  • Unintentionally revealing the location of yourself or your loved ones to those who have legitimate reason to assume that you or they are somewhere else. Showing up on Facebook drinking cocktails in the Bahamas when you’re supposed to be at work is at the milder end of this spectrum.
  • Giving enough information about your current whereabouts (and where you’re not) to allow thieves to target your home or work place in your absence.
  • Giving enough information about your current whereabouts to allow malicious parties to target you or your loved ones for assault, or worse.
  • Providing geo-tagging metadata that could allow outsiders access to your children or vulnerable members of your family or social circle.

How To Turn It Off

If that’s given you unpleasant food for thought, then you’ll be happy to know that it is possible to opt out of geo-tagging, as well. There are several strategies you can adopt[3], including:

  • Don’t enable it in the first place. Note that disabling your location services may throw a damper on your device’s mapping capabilities, public transport scheduling apps, and services that enable you to keep an eye on your children, so this may not be the best option if these functions are critical to you.
  • If you do use location services, check in to them with caution, and set your location data so that it’s not searchable or available for public view.
  • Consider deactivating geo-tagging functions on your social media accounts and any blogs or web sites that you frequent or maintain.
  • Geo-tag your photos with due diligence. Don’t geo-tag pictures of your children or your home.
  • If you use a family location service to watch over your children, make sure that unauthorized outsiders can’t locate them.
  • Exercise caution when checking in or posting geo-tagged content on social media. If you have young teenagers whom you feel may be vulnerable to these services, consider using parental control apps to prevent them from using check-in services as well.


  1. ^ metadata (
  2. ^ on the social media platforms (
  3. ^ several strategies you can adopt (
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