How does Windows 10, 8 know my location accurately?

By: Andrew Wafer
3 minute read
how does windows 10 know my location

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In case you noticed, Windows 10, 8 systems are capable to tell where you are or where you live very accurately even when a GPS receiver isn’t enabled or available. So, how is that possible and how does Windows 10, 8 know your location so accurately without using dedicated GPS software?windows 8 location feature
Well, in order to offer a precise response to this question, we first have to talk about some general details that are related to your own privacy. First of all, you should know that you can anytime choose whether to let or block Windows 10, 8 from detecting your location. You can do this by disabling “My location” and also by disabling the same option within the apps you are using on your personal Windows 10, 8 powered laptop, tablet or desktop.

Yes, almost each tool you download from the Windows Store can have access to your location. So, the best, if you don’t want to share that kind of info will be to turn off this feature from your Windows 10, 8 system and within your apps. On Windows 10, 8 you just have to go to path “Charms bar -> Settings -> Change PC Settings -> Privacy” from where just turn off the location option. Then, for each of your app go to settings and find the privacy tab where the “my location” feature should be available.

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So, how does Windows 10, 8 know my location after all?

Usually, Windows 10, 8 determines your location quite accurately based on GPS info and on wireless point triangulation. Based on your own IP combined with triangulation, Windows 10, 8 can guess where you are or where you live, even if you are starting Maps for the first time.

Mainly, the system can see what wireless networks are nearby your device and also your IP address. The IP info will provide roughly data about your location, while on the same time there are many companies that have huge databases of WiFi networks with their positions that can be used by your Windows 10, 8 system. Of course, most of times, for mobile units and portable devices, GPS and cell towers can also be used for setting your location very accurate.

So, that’s how Windows 10, 8 detect your location even if you haven’t yet used Maps or other apps that are asking for “My location” permissions. Just remember that this is a default feature on any Windows platform, which can be anytime turned off with ease.

How to hide your location on PC

If you don’t like the idea of Windows knowing your location, you can simply turn Location off. Go to Start > type ‘location’ and select Location privacy settings.

turn off location windows 10

Now, disable Location and restart your computer. Keep in mind that many Microsoft apps and products, including Cortana and Edge, work best when the location settings are enabled.

In you want to further protect your privacy and personal information while online, you can install a VPN tool. We recommend you to install CyberGhost — we already tested and reviewed the software. You can also check out this list of the best VPN software to install on Windows 10.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2014 and has been since updated for freshness, and accuracy.

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