Managing Location Services
Managing Location Services
The iPad, like the iPhone and iPod Touch can tell where it is, thanks to its Location features. If you have a Wi-Fi only iPad, it uses nearby Wi-Fi hotspots to determine where it is. If you have a 3G iPad, it uses GPS cellular data and Wi-Fi to pinpoint its location. As you might imagine, in an area where there isn't a lot Wi-Fi signal around, the 3G iPad will be able to find its location far better than a Wi-Fi iPad. In this movie, we'll look at a few ways to use location to your benefit.
Maps is the obvious first choice, let's launch Maps, and then we'll tap the Location icon in the Menu bar, and Maps will do its best to tell us where we are. And sure enough there we are indicated by that blue dot. Now let's use the Search field to locate a nearby service. We'll enter Market. In the jiffy, red pins drop on the map indicating where you can find markets in the area. If I then tap on the Menu icon in the Search field, I can see the names and addresses for all those drop pins.
Tap one, and the name of the establishment appears on the map. I can then tap its Info icon and see more information about it. Better yet, the information in these panes are live links, so if I want to visit a market's web site, I just have to tap the URL in the Information pane. That launches Safari, and it takes me to the web site for that business. Weather apps make good use of location as well to provide you with local weather reports. This case, we'll tap on WeatherBug, it asks if it can use our location if we want it too, so we'll tap OK.
And it pinpoints our location because our Location service is turned on, at which point we can check out forecasts for where we are. Let's look at another app. With Fandango, the movie ticket service, you can use your location to tell you what's playing at your local theater. Again, it asks for permission, we say OK to use location. I don't need Push Notification, so I'll turn that off, and I'll tap on Theaters. And this shows me theaters in my area. Let's look at one more example. If you'd like to check out local services, the Yelp app provide you with a list along with user reviews.
Again ask for location, OK. It zeroes in on our location, it's found us on the map but we want a closer look so we'll tap on Refresh. Here we are. Now I'm a little bit hungry now so let's find burritos, so we tap in the Find field, and enter burrito, and click Search. And sure enough, here are restaurants in the area that serve burritos. Now let's go back to the Home screen.
There are times when you don't always want an app to reveal your location. For example, you might not want to broadcast the location of your home or place of work. Thankfully, the iPad allows you to manage which apps can and can't use location. Here's how. We'll launch Settings and then choose Location Services. At the top of the screen, you'll see an on/off switch that allows you to switch off location completely. If you don't want any apps to know where you are, flip this to off, we do want to keep this on. Some people do this because they don't want apps broadcasting their location without asking.
They needn't worry, the first time an app wants to use your location, as we've seen, it has to ask you via a pop-up menu. If you don't want the app to use location, just tell it no and it won't. Now beneath the switch is a list of all the apps installed on your iPad that use Location Services that have been launched. Next to each one is an on/off switch. As you can probability guess, to turn off Location for particular app, just flip the switch next to it to off. So, for example, let's turn off Twitter. Twitter now can no longer use my location.
When an app is currently using Location, a purple icon will appear next to its name in this list. If it's used Location in the past 24 hours, but isn't currently using the location, the icon will be gray. At the bottom of the screen is a System Services entry, tap it, and you'll find that the iPad uses Location to perform some of its background chores. This includes things like locating cell networks, compass calibration, and location-based advertising. One reason to switch off some of these is to save your battery charge.
When your iPad uses Location it taxes the battery a bit, and switching off services you don't want can give you slightly more operating time. At the very bottom of the screen is a Status Bar icon switch. When you switch this on, the Location Service icon will appear in the iPad status bar when using one of these services. Now let's return to the main Location screen and take a look at Find My iPad. Tap this entry and you see the option to switch Find My iPad on. We have it on now. You'll also find a Status Bar Icon switch.
This second switch is off by default and I'll leave it off. When you switch it on, the Location Services icon will appear when you track your iPad from your computer or another iOS device. Now if some bad guy made off with your iPad, I'm not sure it's a good idea to let him know that he is being tracked by switching on this option. Generally I find Location a real help with some applications, Weather apps, for example. But some apps request location information when they don't really need it. Some games and social networking apps, for example. My rule of thumb is that if I can immediately see why Location would be helpful I'll allow it to be switched on, otherwise I keep it off to help protect my battery charge as well as my privacy.
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