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How to deny websites access to your location in Safari (and why you should)

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Privacy has become something most users are acutely aware of. A big part of the reason for this is that so many companies have given in to using various types of information in such a way to target ads to users. For example, many sites use location information to fine-tune the ads they serve you. But it’s more than ads. Companies also use your location to serve up specific news you may or may not want.

As this type of behavior continues, your information will most likely be used in other ways that might not be as innocuous as ads and news. If you’ve found certain sites to be less than trustworthy with that information, or maybe you’re just starting to understand how important your privacy is… you might consider denying those websites access to your location. 

Also: How to check the Privacy Report for website tracking in Safari

Most web browsers are configured to always ask you permission to use your location. That’s all fine and good, but if you accidentally allow a site access — and forget that you did — every time you visit the site, it will continue to have access to your location.

If you use Apple’s Safari browser, there’s a convenient way to change the configuration for any site you have open in a tab. Let me show you how this is done.

How to block location on a site-by-site basis

What you’ll need: The only thing you’ll need is an Apple device with an updated version of Safari. I’ll demonstrate it on a MacBook Pro, running version 16.3.

The Safari menu.

Access the Safari Settings window through the Menu Bar.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the Settings popup, click the Websites tab and then click Location in the left sidebar.

The Safari Settings window opened to Location.

Here, you can configure access to a number of different services and features.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

In the Location section, you’ll notice all websites you currently have open (in the current Tab Group) will be listed. By default, each one of those sites’ Location permission will be set to Ask. 

Also: How to force Safari to always open new sites in tabs 

Click the Ask drop-down for any site you suspect is using your location information in ways you’d like to block and select Deny. If you have sites open in another Tab Group, you’ll have to close Settings, change to the other Tab Group, reopen settings, and configure those sites.

How to block all other sites from gaining access to your location

Now that you’ve selected the necessary access permissions for the sites you have open, you might want to configure Safari to block access to your location information for any site you visit. To do that, just click the When visiting other websites drop-down (at the bottom right corner of the Location section in Settings) and select Deny.

Also: How to block tracking pixels in Apple Mail (and why you might want to)

Another thing to keep in mind is that you can look through the sidebar and select any other service (such as Auto-Play, Camera, Microphone, and Screen Sharing) and deny sites access to those features as well.

It’s important that you take your privacy seriously. You never know when your location information could be used against you. With regards to your online privacy, it’s always best to be safe than sorry.

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