Smartphones today offer users a lot of benefits, many of which rely on using the device’s GPS features. Of course, many people want to turn those features off at times so that their phone doesn’t use the battery required, and just to keep their location private. According to recent reports, however, Google may not be following user’s instructions to disable location services.
This doesn’t mean they are accessing your GPS, but rather they use a technology called ‘Cell ID’ which relies on information that is provided by mobile phone masts. This tech has been in place since early this year. To put it simply, using this option, Google can determine the location of a device even with location services turned off, and even with the SIM removed.
The location they can get won’t be nearly as accurate as if the device were using the GPS, but for many people, this is still quite a concern. Google’s spokesperson this feature is used to help improve the speed and overall performance of message delivery, and that it has never been used or stored for marketing or anything else.
Despite this, however, Google is going to stop using this system to avoid conflict with users. They said, “By the end of November, Android phones will no longer send cell-tower location data to Google, at least as part of this particular service, which consumers cannot disable.”