Stop Android from Leaking Your Location History Over WiFi with this Simple Tip

It has become a challenge to protect and maintain your privacy in today’s world. As we are getting more connected, it has also become easier for apps to leak private information, like our identity, password, or location. The newest discovery is that an Android phone with its screen turned off and connected to a Wi-Fi network can leak the user’s location history to anyone who’s interested in a peek.

This “location history” is basically the names of all those wireless networks that your device has previously connected to. It may not seem to be the biggest issue on the surface, but is potentially more dangerous than earlier encrypted data leaks because your phone is basically broadcasting where you’ve been (using what Wi-Fi networks you connected to) in simple terms. What’s worse is that it’s pretty easy to pinpoint users’ exact location on the globe through some easy techniques.

The interesting bit: This was never intentional. We don’t really believe that Google ever meant for this to happen in Android, as this technique uses Android’s ability to connect to known networks faster.

While Google should be fixing this issue soon, here’s what you can do at present to prevent others from using this method to find out your Wi-Fi history:

1. On your Android phone, open up the Settings app.

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2. Scroll down to “Wi-Fi” settings.

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3. Navigate to Advanced Wi-Fi Settings and change the behavior for “Keep Wi-Fi on during sleep” to “Never.”

Wi-Fi-Leak-Android-Advanced

Wi-Fi-Leak-Android-Wi-Fi-Sleep

Wi-Fi-Leak-Android-Never

Doing so could potentially slow down your device, as your device will be off during sleep and won’t update any apps, but this method could save your Wi-Fi location history from falling into the wrong hands.

Let us know what you think of this latest discovery in the comments below, and tell us if this fix worked for you or not.

11 comments

  1. What if you just set your device to airplane mode when out and about? Or just turn off Wi-Fi for the duration of your errands, etc.?

    • We’ll in the end it’s up to you on what you do: turning Airplane mode on will also disable your cell phone network, by which you won’t be able to call and send/receive texts from others.

      On the other hand, yes, another solution would be turning off Wi-Fi and only enabling it when you need to use it. However, many prefer to leave their Wi-Fi for quick access to Facebook, emails etc. which is why we didn’t mention it in the article.

    • Yes, another solution would be turning off Wi-Fi and only enabling it when you need to use it. That should also work.

  2. “This was never intentional.”
    Maybe not but anybody and everybody is taking advantage of that “feature” to track us.

    “While Google should be fixing this issue soon”
    Is Google going to fix it properly or are they only going to mask it so it still exists but the users cannot do anything about it?

    It has been know for quite a while that smartphones can be tracked through GPS, which is also an invasion of privacy. That has not been fixed and is not about to be because it gives the snoops an easy way of tracking people. The only way to combat the tracking by GPS is to turn the phone off, defeating the entire purpose of having a phone.

    • It’s no wonder that mystery novelists include public phone booths, on the premise of not being tracked. With those booths disappearing & being considered for conversion to public wifi access points, the novelists will only be left with prepaid cell phones for private communication.

  3. How does this prevent android from leaking your location? all it does is disable the wifi when the phone asleep. what about the times when you are actually using the wifi cause you have no cell service? how do you stop it then?

    • This new bug has revealed that while your phone is off (sleeping) and your device’s Wi-Fi is enabled, hackers can find out your device’s location history in the form of the Wi-Fi networks you connected to. By simply disabling this feature as in the steps above, you can easily prevent this from occurring.

  4. I agree with James. Just because it’s not on when asleep… Probably could go into managed networks and clear out all the old history though.

  5. I suggest use the app Wi-Fi Matic (Carlos Prados) this app switches off WiFi when leaving your location(s) and switches back on when back in your known WiFi reach.

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