Prevent websites from tracking your location, by disabling Geolocation in your browser

Geolocation is a relatively new feature in the recent versions of most browsers. It allows websites to track your physical location, ostensibly, with a view to offer you location related search results, services or options.

You may have noticed that whenever you visit any website which requires access to your location the first time, you will see your browser saying that this website requires access to you location. We have the option to allow or disallow access, but we normally allow this. When you allow access, your IP address, along with your device details, MAC address, etc can be sent. These details are saved in Cookies. Other websites will not be able to access this data – only the website you have given access.

The privacy conscious among you may not want to disclose their physical location. Such users can tell their browsers to deny access by disabling the Geolocation feature. Let us see how to do it in Internet Explorer, Chrome, Opera and Firefox web browsers.

Disable Geolocation in Internet Explorer

Open Internet Explorer > Internet Options > Privacy tab. Under Location uncheck Never allow websites to request your physical location. Also press the Clear Sites button to remove old sites which have access to your physical location.

ie geo Prevent websites from tracking your location, by disabling Geolocation in your browser

Click Apply/OK and Exit IE.

The registry key affected by the change of this setting is:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Geolocation

The value of BlockAllWebsites as 1, will mean Do not allow, whereas 0 would mean Allow websites to request your location.

This will block all websites from using Microsoft Location Services to find your computer’s approximate physical location.

Disable Geolocation in Chrome browser

Open your Chrome and click on the Spanner icon > Settings > Scroll down > Click on Show advanced settings. Under Privacy, click on Content Settings button. Again scroll down, till you see Location.

chrome geo Prevent websites from tracking your location, by disabling Geolocation in your browser

Here check the Do not allow any site to track my physical location radio button.

Click OK and Exit.

Disable Geolocation in Opera browser

Open your Opera > Settings > Preferences. Click on Advanced tab and then on Network. Uncheck the Enable geolocation option.

opera geo Prevent websites from tracking your location, by disabling Geolocation in your browser

Click OK and exit.

Disable Geolocation in Firefox browser

Open Firefox. Click on Settings and press the Privacy tab. Here under Tracking, check the Tell websites I do not want to be tracked check-box.

firefox geo 2 Prevent websites from tracking your location, by disabling Geolocation in your browser

Click on OK and Exit.

Once you have done this, you should clear your Internet cache, Browser History & Cookies before you start using your browser.

Posted by on , in Category Windows with Tags
Anand Khanse aka HappyAndyK is an end-user Windows enthusiast, a Microsoft MVP in Windows, since 2006, and the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com. Please create a System Restore Point before trying out any software & be careful about any third-party offers while installing freeware. Add me on Google+.
  • rocky2925

    thank you this is the best way to get rid of hackers :P

  • http://www.greggdeselms.com/ Gregg L. DesElms

    If the device has no GPS in it, then the location is done by simply geolocating the IP address. In many parts of the world, the IP address is that of one of the ISP’s regional point-of-presence (POP) locations which services many tail-circuited physical locations that are sometimes many, many miles away.

    For example, I’m an AT&T DSL customer, physically located in Napa, California. However, when I look to see what IP address the Internet thinks I’m using…

    http://addgadgets.com/ipaddress/

    …and where said IP address is physically located (or at least the Internet THINKS it’s physically located), it shows that I’m about a hundred miles away from Napa in either Hayward, or San Leandro, or San Jose (or several other places in that general area), depending on what IP address was last dynamically allocated to my tail-circuited DSL connection way up here in Napa.

    The IP address is allocated by ARIN to AT&T, which has registered it with ARIN down in one of those regional POP locations. Then whenever my DSL connection way up here in Napa needs an IP address, one is assigned from whichever of those distant regional POPs has room for me at that particular moment.

    Because of this, no website using my IP address to geolocate me may get it accurate to within even a hundred miles! Oh, sure, a court of law could order AT&T to divulge that it was the DSL circuit associated with my home telephone number that was using the IP address in question at whatever date and time the court orders it to so divulge; and so I’m not saying that I can’t be located, based on my IP address. I’m simply saying that websites which geolocate using IP addresses can only get it accurate to within a hundred miles of where I’m actually physically located. Of course the fact that I happily sign posts like this with my city and state; that that my street address and phone numbers are freely available on my website and in a gazillion other places probably helps. But my point is that normal, simple website geolocation based on IP address ain’t gonna’ feed the bulldog in at least my case, at least when I’m on my AT&T home DSL connection.

    And I’m far from the only one. Verizon, for example, is notorious for registering in Washington, DC and other places many of the IP addresses which it uses all across the south and southeast United States… and now even further north. And there are many, many other similar examples. Geolocating by IP address has, for several years, now, become less and less accurate, depending on the ISP.

    It depends on the ISP, though. Some ISPs quite accurately register their IP addresses with ARIN such that geolocation is accurate to at least the city or town. But many of the really big ISPs can’t afford to do that. They need to keep all IP addresses intendef for use in very large areas assigned to regional POPs which serve customers both near and far. In my case, I’m always far.

    Now, all that said, if I’m at the other end of town, using someone’s WI-FI, well, then, who knows. If they’re using a different ISP whose local NAPA connections are all using local Napa-assigned IP addresses, then that’s another matter altogether. But I’m just sayin’ that whenever I’m at home, using my notebook on a hard-wired or WI-FI connection that’s fed by my AT&T DSL, then I simply cannot be accurately geolocated by websites which use IP addresses to so locate. Period.

    And many, many places around the globe are like that.

    Now, if turned-on the GPS in my notebook, or used my cell phone either via 2G/3G/4G or via WI-FI; and if the browser can read GPS data from the device (either because it’s a feature built-in to said browser, or because there’s a plugin or extension that allows it), and the website is capable of collecting said data from said browser…

    …well, then, all bets, at that point, would be off. At that point, the website could potentially geolocate me to within three or so feet of accuracy. But I never turn on the GPS in my notebook; and I give phone apps (or phone-accessed websites) permission to geolocate me only very rarely. I obviously turn on GPS in my phone for any mapping apps, the Yellow Pages app, and/or anything else that can really only help me if it knows where I and my phone are physically located; but GPS in the phone is off at all other times.

    If one is aware of how things work, and sets one’s browser to always ask about location, and pretty much always answers “no” unless there’s a darned good reason to do otherwise, then it’s really kinda’ not that big of a deal in the master scheme of things. Like pretty much anything and everything else about the Internet, one must use one’s head, and not always say “yes” to everything that every pop-up requests. The Internet is there to serve us, not the other way around. Oh, sure, it may THINK it’s the other way around, but if we take both control and responsibility for how we connect, and what we both do and allow once we’re connected, then geolocation is not really a problem.

    Or so, in any case, it is my opinion.

    Hope that helps!

    ______________________________
    Gregg L. DesElms
    Napa, California USA
    gregg at greggdeselms dot com

  • Xaccell

    When GPS is not available and the PC has an active WiFi connection, that is what the browsers use to triangulate the computer’s position. It is incredibly accurate…In this case, the IP Address has nothing to do with it, they use maps made out of billions of MAC addresses and from there, they start to triangulate the position of a computer in relation to the routers and NIC’s close by.

  • Fed77

    what do you do if the do not allow tracking of my physical location on Internet Explore is grayed out and it won’t let you select it? No body anywhere seems to know what causes this.

  • modi

    what could be the other hurm that occure by disabling the ip tracking button? will some helpfull tell!

  • Friend4life

    1) Are you trying to enable the Location Sharing settings from the “PC Settings > Privacy > Location” on the computer?

    2) Did you turn
    ON the Windows Location Platform from the “Location Settings” in
    Control Panel?

    I would suggest you to check if the “Windows Location Platform” is turn
    OFF in the “Control Panel > Location Settings”. If yes, then please turn it
    ON and then check if that resolves the issue. Please try these steps:

    a) Go to the Desktop Interface and press “Windows Logo” + “X” keys on the keyboard and click on “Control Panel” from that
    menu.

    b) Change the “View by” option from “Category” view to “Large icon” or “Small icon”
    view.

    c) Click on “Location Settings”.

    d) Then, turn
    ON the “Windows Location Platform” from that page.

    e) Click on “Apply” and then “OK”.

    f) Now, go to the “PC Settings > Privacy > Location” and check if you are able to enable the Location Sharing settings.
    This works. I had the same problem….I am glad I was able to help

  • Sid

    It doesn’t help much. I tried all of them but then it seems chrome is able to guess it from the IP address and also the rest of them as well.

  • Sulo Rouhiainen

    BS.. my router do not have GPS and it’s connected to my own ISP that thinks I am 500 kilometers away from where I really are.. there is no difference when I use wifi och the lan cable connected computer, and one more thing, I live outside the city and closest Wifi network are my neighbour 4km away.. can you tell me how triangulation are supposed to work in my case, sir?

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