Understanding “Your Location Is Currently in Use” in Windows 10

When using Windows 10, you may encounter the “Your Location Is Currently in Use” message. In this article we’ll explain what this message means and what you can do about it.

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In short, this message means that a Windows 10 application (downloaded from the Windows Store) is tracking your location, typically through an on-device GPS sensor, though Wi-Fi networks and ethernet connections can also be used for these kinds of services. Basically, you see this message as a polite notification from Microsoft that your location is being tracked.

Certain applications may need location services to function properly (e.g. a GPS/navigation app), but if you feel like an application you’re using doesn’t need to know your location, there are a few ways you can change it.

On Windows 10 press your Windows Key or open the Start Menu. Next, type “Location Privacy” and click “Location Privacy services” to pull up a Window that allows you to change your Location settings.

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By simply clicking the slider beneath “Location service” you can disable Windows Store apps from being able to track your location. To disable it device-wide (for all user accounts on the device, not just yours), click the “Change” button if the text above it says “Location for this device is on.”

However, you may prefer to allow certain apps to access your location. Keep scrolling down to see a list of apps allowed to use your location services.

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If you’re a fan of things you can do with Cortana, for instance, you may want to enable location services for that specific application so it can continue to function properly. Think carefully about your privacy and the apps you enjoy using before heading in and disabling features like this.

If you were paying attention earlier, you may have noticed that I only referred to “Windows Store apps” as opposed to “Windows 10 apps.” This is because only Windows Store applications are affected by the Location service in Windows 10.

Executables you get elsewhere, such as Google Chrome, can still get location data via WiFi networks, your ethernet connection and Google’s own location-approximation tech. Your IP address, seen by many sites and applications, can still tip others to your location unless you’re using a proxy or a VPN. Disabling the Windows 10 location function won’t do anything to help you there.

If you’re looking to protect your in-browser privacy, here’s one article for Chrome and another for FireFox..

In short, “Your Location Is Currently in Use” is a message that you’re receiving because an app you’ve acquired from the Windows Store is using Windows 10’s location service to determine your location. Disabling this service will prevent this behavior but won’t effect other applications (like most web browsers) which figure out your location through other means.

If you have any questions, sound off to me in the comments below, and I’ll do my best to answer them.

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