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I own a macbook and a old Android phone that needs to be replaced. To protect my privacy i had installed X-Privacy on my phone. Among other things, this allowed me to turn off location tracking by applications that do not need location and that cannot be trusted with it, specifically Whatsapp.

I am thinking of buying a iphone next, but a second hand, because i do not need a flashy phone. It will be easier getting my pictures from the phone to the computer, if nothing else.

My questions are:

  1. From which version onwards does iphone support turning off location access for specific apps? I'm under the impression this is possible on new iPhones, maybe i'm wrong.
  2. What other privacy related features can i expect? For example can i prevent an application that does not need it from accessing my contacts?
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In iOS…

  • Apps get no permissions when you install them.
  • Apps on iOS can never use features like Location Services without a run-time OS-level prompt for access.

iOS itself controls all access to such features, for all apps including those built-in to iOS and those downloaded from the App Store. No app can access functionality without you explicitly providing permission when running the app and the app requesting it. All privacy settings on iOS are per-app (with a system-wide off switch too).

iOS expanded the privacy controls in iOS 8 (September 2014) released as a free update to iPhone 4s (2011) and later. iOS privacy controls determine access to Location Services, Contacts, Calendars, Reminders, Photos, Bluetooth, Microphone, Speech Recognition, Camera, Health data, HomeKit, Media (Apple Music), Motion & Fitness.

About privacy and Location Services in iOS 8 and later - Apple

Apps from the App Store may request access to things such as your location, contacts, calendars or photos. You’ll receive a prompt with an explanation the first time a third-party app wants to use this data, so you can make an informed decision about granting permission. Even if you grant access once, you can always change it later in Settings.

Manage Your Privacy - Apple

  • An excellent answer and precisely what i wanted to hear \grin – Ivana Jan 9 at 14:52
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When apps use location tracking they request permission. The overall control for that is found in Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Also, under Privacy you can select an app to see what permissions are set for each service, i.e. Contacts

  • But can i revoke the permission to use location services on a per app basis, regardless of which permissions i gave the app when i installed it? This is what x-privacy on android does, it keeps apps from accessing functions forbidden by the user, regardless of what the terms of service of that app. – Ivana Jan 9 at 12:02
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    @Ivana iOS is different to Android. Apps get no permissions when you install them. Apps on iOS can never use features like Location Services without a run-time OS-level prompt for access. iOS itself controls all access to such features, for all apps including those built-in to iOS and those downloaded from the App Store. No app can access functionality without you explicitly providing permission when running the app and the app requesting it. All privacy settings on iOS are per-app (with a system-wide off switch too). – grg Jan 9 at 12:29

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