How to Disable Geo Location Services on your Browser

Last Updated by Nick Soucy on April 02, 2019

Today, the top browsers have similar general settings and defaults. One common standard is to permit website servers to request and use your geolocation for various functions and apps.

While this feature can be useful, it can also be intrusive or even dangerous. It can be valuable to know how to disable location settings when you need to.

Helpful Uses for Geo-location

Some uses are legitimate, and they help tailor browsers to your needs. For example, focusing content on local entertainment, news, or weather, or ads relating to previous searches.

When active, geolocation settings can assist you in many ways.

  • Locate nearby services
  • Work as satellite navigation
  • Allow apps like Uber locate you accurately
  • Movement tracking for fitness/wellbeing apps

Why Disable Your Browser’s Geolocation?

We’re living in an era of increasing access to online content and services through our smart devices. What this means is we’re learning a lot of new terms and technologies and the more access we have to online content, the more those content providers have access to our information.
geo web It’s also important to recognize the impact our browser’s geolocation settings can have on our privacy.

For example, sharing geo-tagged posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, sharing your location on Snapchat or Tinder. All seem harmless, but anyone with access can view each of these, with any intention.

Privacy Concerns

The broadcasting of your location also has unwanted privacy implications. When allowing this data, browsers indiscriminately share your location info freely, including to questionable third-parties.

Once you familiarize yourself with the various uses of geolocation, you might want to turn this feature off altogether. Thankfully, it’s not hard to do. For many mobile devices, it’s a simple toggle on/off switch or checkbox.

We’ll walk you through disabling settings using Chrome, Firefox, and IE.

Chrome logo Disabling Geo-location in Chrome

  1. Launch the Chrome browser.
  2. Click the Chrome Menu Button (the three stacked dots or three stacked lines, depending on the desktop or mobile versions).
  3. Scroll down to click “Settings.”
  4. Click on the “Advanced” option.
  5. Now go to “Privacy and Security” to find “Content Settings.”
    Disabling Geo-location in Chrome
  6. Go to the “Location” options and turn off the feature called “Ask before accessing.”
    disable geo-location Chrome
  7. Now it will show “Location” as “blocked.”
    howto disable geo-location in Chrome
  8. You’ve successfully disabled geolocation broadcasting.

Firefox FireStick app Disabling in Firefox

  1. Launch Firefox.
  2. Type “about.config” in the URL bar and hit enter.
  3. If it takes you to a warning page stating “This might void your warranty!” Click “I accept the risk.”
  4. A long list will populate. You’re looking for “geo.enabled.” so type “geo” into the search bar.
    Firefox disable geo location
  5. Scroll down to “Geo.enabled” and double-click on it to turn it from “true” to “false.”
    Firefox disable geolocationHowto disable geolocation Firefox
  6. Close the “about.config” tab and you’re done.

Internet Explorer IEDisabling in Internet Explorer

  1. Launch Internet Explorer
  2. Click “Internet Options” and go to the “Privacy” tab.
    IE menu
  3. Under the “Location” heading, check the box next to “Never allow websites to request your physical location.”
    IE privacy
  4. To be thorough, you should also click the “Clear Sites” on the right, button. This removes sites that previously accessed your location.
    IE clear
  5. That’s it.

Does Disabling Geo-location make You Anonymous?

In short, no. Turning off geo-location settings won’t make you entirely anonymous, especially if you’re using a typical browser. Your IP address and other identifying data can still be accessed or leaked.

For complete encrypted security and privacy, you need to use a VPN whenever you access the internet on any device.

Can I Access Netflix Just by Turning Off the Location?

Netflix FireStick_appHere’s the thing; Netflix has grown more sophisticated over the years. They’re wise to a lot of the tricks used to try to bypass their regional restrictions, including if you’ve turned off geolocation on a standard browser.

With most browsers, Netflix can still determine your IP address, and therefore your location.

By using a VPN client to log onto Netflix, you have a much higher chance at successfully streaming restricted content.

Why You Still need a VPN to Spoof your Location

Virtual Private Network (VPN) When all’s said and done, you’ll still want to turn to a reputable, paid VPN service to keep your private information encrypted.

Although disabling geo-location settings in a standard browser is a step in the right direction, this method suffers by relying on the unencrypted servers of your ISP. These days, most ISPs will collect some data, and regularly sell or exchange it; with geolocation not an exception.

Turning off geo-location won’t completely obscure your location unless you mask your IP address as well, which any good VPN will do for you.

  • Note: even while using a VPN, you have to be sure to turn off geo-location settings manually.
  • To be cautious, visit ipeak.com to check for potential IP address leaks; even when using a VPN.
  • Use a VPN for added online security

Final Word

While geolocation services can be beneficial and great for social media, they can have drawbacks. We recommend activating these settings when only they’re needed and having them turned off by default.

While disabling geolocation settings doesn’t anonymize your devices, it does make them a little safer and puts a level of control back into your own hands.

Nick Soucy
Nick Soucy is passionate about cybersecurity and cutting-edge technologies—especially those that safeguard online privacy and First Amendment expression. He also has a deep curiosity about artificial general intelligence (AGI) and the philosophical sciences of futurism and transhumanist evolution.