How to Change and Disable Your Geolocation in Browser?

Julia Smith
Julia Smith
Community manager @ SOAX15 August, 2022

Geolocation determines a user’s location and ties it to a web browser or an app. Many websites use this information to adjust users’ browsing experience so it matches their current location.  

Geo is important because this feature helps websites offer services tailored specifically for users’ location and provide information relevant to their area. Moreover, by tracing geo websites provide their users with geo-located websites’ versions and regional ads.  

If you do not feel secure when somebody knows about your physical location, you might want to fake or block this information by changing geo settings, an IP address, and device details.

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What is Geolocation?

Geolocation is a convenient and legitimate feature that web browsers and mobile devices use to track users’ real location and offer them products and services relevant to the area, show localized ads, etc. This feature, however, is an opt-in and can be turned off. Most websites and network devices work fine when the geolocation is toggled off. It would not affect browser performance and user experience while surfing the web.

Browsers

Most web browsers usually combine details of a user’s IP address, browser user agent information, and a range of WiFi networks in the area to estimate the exact user’s location. One can disable geolocation requests for privacy or security reasons by turning off Location Services in the browser settings.

VPN

Browsers can log users’ real locations even if VPN is enabled. And this geolocation data is eerily accurate. Even though a VPN service substitutes the real users’ IP addresses, if they, however, permit a website to track geo, the web server will learn all about their users.
If a website still detects the location even with a VPN running, one should check an IP for an IP leak. If an IP checker shows the true IP address or the address assigned by ISP, the issue should be fixed before a user decides to switch off the location settings.

Mobile Devices

Mobile devices track the above-mentioned information in addition to GPS data, mobile network information, and mobile IMEI — a unique identification number.

The Main Reasons to Disable Geolocation

Why hide the location?

  • Users might want to conceal their location if they are cautious about privacy or have security reasons. Although by keeping the physical location secret, one might not be able to see relevant content for current geo.
  • Revealing geolocation data may cause a web server to block user’s browsing or VPN requests if connection from their location is not allowed by the source or a website blocks access for VPN services. That means a user would not be able to watch Netflix shows for licensing reasons being in the unwanted country or a region.

How to Change or Disable Geolocation in Browser

By default all browsers will ask a user’s permission to track geolocation before sending this data to websites. If a browser — both desktop and mobile — does not inform a user, one can disable the geolocation tracking feature.

The best way to spoof the physical location is by using VPN or Proxy. However, one can also hide the location by changing location settings in browsers manually or revoke location permissions.

Chrome on Windows/Mac

Go to “Settings” (by clicking the three dots on the right corner of Chrome) → “Advanced” → “Privacy and Security” → “Content Settings” → “Location Settings” → Toggle on the option “Ask before accessing”

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Chrome on iOS

Go to device “Settings” → type “Chrome” in the search bar → tap “Location” → tap “Never” under Allow Location Access.

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Chrome on Android

Open Chrome app → “Settings” → “Site settings” → “Location” → Toggle the option off.

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Firefox on Windows/Mac

In the browser address bar type “About:config” → “Proceed with Caution” warning → Click “Accept the Risk and Continue →

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→ In the search bar at the top of the screen type “Geo.enabled” → Double click to change the line to “False”.

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Firefox on Android

Open the Firefox app and tap three dots in the lower-right corner → Tap “Settings” → Tap “Site permissions” under the Privacy and security section → Tap “Location”“Blocked”.

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NB: There is no setting for disabling geolocation sharing in Firefox on iOS.

Safari on Mac

Open a browser → Click “Safari” → “Preferences” → Click the “Privacy” tab → Next to website tracking check the box for “Prevent cross-site tracking”.
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Safari on IOS

Go to “Settings” → In the search bar, type “Safari” → Tap “Location” → Tap “Deny”.

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Opera on Windows/Mac

In the browser address bar type “About:config” → “Settings” → “Advanced” → Click on “Privacy & Security” →  “Site settings” → “Location” → Toggle off the option “Ask before accessing”.

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Opera on Android

In the Opera browser, tap the menu button in the bottom-right corner → “Settings” → Under Privacy, tap “Site settings” → Tap “Location” → Tap “Denied”.

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NB: There is no setting for disabling geolocation sharing in Opera on iOS.

Edge on Windows

Open the Action Centre on your computer → “Location” “Go to Settings” → Toggle off the option for “Allow apps to access your location” → Scroll down to “Location history” → Click the “Clear” button and wipe out your location history.

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Edge on Mac

In a browser click three dots on the right corner → Select “Settings” → In the left sidebar, select “Cookies and Site Site Permissions” → Click “Location” → Toggle “Ask before accessing (recommended)” off.

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Edge on Android

Go to “Settings” → Tap “Apps or Apps & notifications” → Tap a magnifying glass → Search for “Edge” → Tap “Permissions”“Location” → Tap “Deny”.

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NB: There is no setting for disabling geolocation sharing in Microsoft Edge on iOS.

Having disabled geolocation tracking, clear the cache, cookies and browsing history to start fresh.

Geolocation is used to determine the geographical location of devices accessing the Internet, thus it helps to deliver better content and customise users’ browsing experience.

Users can prevent the website from knowing their location by disabling geolocation. Main advantages of disabled geolocation is that it allows users to access and share content from any location and keep their privacy. Some websites however block disabled geolocation for security reasons, so it is recommended to check those restrictions before accessing online sources.
VPN can hide the true IP address, but some websites might still know where their users are because of an IP leak. If you find an IP leak, contact your ISP and only then disable geolocation in your web browser.
Like a VPN, a proxy acts as a middleman between the device and the Internet. Although it is a universally recognizable tool for the IP masking, the original user’s IP can be exposed if the proxy connection drops for some reason, so one should know how to test a proxy before diving into the depths of the Internet.