Location Services missing from macOS 13.5

Last Week on My Mac: Ventura’s lost Location Services

When Apple released the macOS Ventura 13.5 update, it was opaque about what it had changed, writing: “This update provides important bug fixes and security updates and is recommended for all users.”

Apple had removed one of its most important privacy features: its Privacy & Security settings had lost all control over bundled and user-installed apps in Location Services.

As a result, since we updated to 13.5 last Monday, apps have had free run of Location Services without our even knowing which can access our private data, let alone being able to deny that access.


I saw another report indicting that only apps you had previously approved had access to Location Services, but you are correct that you cannot now disable access using Privacy & Security. It has been reported to Apple.

2 posts were split to a new topic: Web Apps in macOS 14 Sonoma

A post was split to a new topic: Discoverability problems with System Settings

3 posts were split to a new topic: State of software quality assurance

This topic spiraled wildly out of control while I had other things to do. I’ve cleaned it up by renaming it and deleting the complaining and the personal back-and-forth and breaking out all changes of topic. That seems to leave just one on-topic reply—thanks, @alvarnell!

A few reminders:

  • When creating a new topic, please use a clear, specific title that describes your post. (And please save me some time by spelling and capitalizing correctly. I don’t edit posts, but egregiously incorrect titles bug me sufficiently that I fix them.)

  • DO NOT CHANGE THE FREAKIN’ TOPIC! If you ever find yourself writing, “I know this is off topic…” just stop. Create a new thread if you have something to say that isn’t related to the topic you’re posting in.

  • PLEASE STOP COMPLAINING about Apple this and Apple that. It never solves anything and just winds up everyone else who wants to complain, often about slightly different things, and then we’re in a regular whinge-fest that makes my stomach hurt. It’s like babies on an airplane—once one starts crying, they all start crying, and all it does is make everyone more unhappy until the plane lands, which doesn’t happen any faster because of all the crying. But we’re not babies, so we can avoid this fate.

  • If you take exception to something that someone has posted, reply to them privately. Click their name and then click the big blue Message button. Or, better yet, just ignore it.

All future messages in this thread will be about Location Services in macOS 13.5, or I will delete them.


Took a quick look at the thread on Howard’s site – there is a comment as of today citing a MacRumors thread posting that indicates this is known to be a bug that Apple is trying to fix.

My guess would also be that if it’s a bug, it’s the removal of the interface to customize the settings–but with the underlying permissions remaining the same. (That is, apps would still have to ask for access to location services, and that apps whose access was denied would not have access to location services, but that there’s for the moment no way for the user to review and change existing access grants/denials. That would make the claim that “apps have had free run of Location Services” a bit of hyperbole. I don’t know about distinct apps, but I do know that in Ventura 13.5 websites continue to ask for location services access.)

The obvious check–as to whether it’s an intentional change or a bug–would be to compare to the same settings panel in the Sonoma public beta.

My assumption is that this slipped through in part because we’re close enough to Sonoma that the majority of engineers are focused on and working in pre-release versions of Sonoma, so relatively few Apple engineers would be spending time using Ventura 13.5 and even fewer would have tested the pre-release version of 13.5.


It is still in Sonoma beta, at least last I checked.
[don’t have the beta on my systems, checked with a colleague’s who had it installed]

Howard Oakley bases his assumption that it’s a bug rather than intentional on these settings still being presented by Sonoma just as on <13.5.

I just looked at my mini and I I’m at 13.4.1 and do have location services (everything is off, btw!) I’m more concerned that I had download updates and notifywhen new updates are available but no notify -nor download happened for 13.5 (it’s downloading now). After I reboot, I’ll check location services again. I think this is really odd. No cli for location? also odd.

Yep, they are gone. Over and out.

On the article linked above, Howard’s last comment (8/13) was:

And it’s now almost three weeks since we all lost control over Location Services. Apple really doesn’t think this important at all, does it?

This is kind of surprising for what is apparently an egregious testing error on Apple’s part. Have they actually made no comment on this, and when (or if) it will be fixed? It’s certainly keeping me from installing 13.5 on my main Mac.

Fix finally out for Apple’s most recent QC blunder.

Wow, apparently I hit a nerve with my earlier post. :grinning:

Thanks for the notice.
Glad it’s fixed.

“Is that really the best you can do, Apple?”

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