Just like every other social media app, Instagram wants to learn as much about its users as possible so that it can more accurately sell advertising based on that information. That's part of the bargain that social media companies have made with consumers who use their services for free, and for the most part, people are OK with it. Occasionally, though, users discover a feature that feels like it crosses a line.
Instagram can track your precise location now.
A new feature being rolled out by Instagram allows the app to track your precise location. When users first signed up for Instagram, they likely had to agree to share their location information with the app. More recently, though, Instagram quietly rolled out an update to that functionality that allows them to track where you are with much more precision.
Now, Instagram can essentially track you wherever you are throughout the day. While it doesn't share this information with other users, many are concerned that the information could wind up in the public domain anyway, and could be used by malicious actors as a way to stalk people. Fortunately, users on Twitter have been raising the alarm bell and letting users know that there's a way to turn the setting off.
Here's how to turn off your precise location info on Instagram.
While there's a way to turn off your precise location, Instagram will still be able to determine your more general location, which is how the app has tracked users throughout its history. If you want to turn off the precise location tracking, it's actually pretty easy.
If you use an iOS device, go to Settings, scroll down to Instagram, tap Location, and toggle off the Precise Location button.
When you're playing with the Location settings, you can also select whether you want the app to never track your location, whether you want it to ask next time if it can track, or whether you want it to track your location while you use the app. Those with privacy concerns will likely want to turn the feature off, but Instagram is not the only app that can track your precise location.
Plenty of apps can track your location.
While precise location tracking has gone viral because of its connection to Instagram, that app is far from the only one that can track your location. If you don't want any of your apps to track your precise location, you'll need to go through the same process outlined above for each one individually. At the moment, it looks like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter all track your precise location, but apps like TikTok, Pinterest, and Reddit do not.
If you want to be extra cautious, though, it might be best for you to go through each app individually and check to see if your precise location is being tracked. Keeping your personal information private can be difficult, but thankfully, there are ways to turn these types of settings off.