Making sense of new privacy labels (Google Translate)

The only Google app I have so far tolerated on my iPhone is Google Translate. It was just recently updated so it now comes with Apple’s mandated privacy label information. :+1:

Google Translate tells me part of the data linked to me that it’s using for “analytics” is my coarse location data. I don’t see any need for that app to know where I am so I decided to head over to Settings > Privacy > Location Services and set Google Translate’s access to ‘never’. So much for my plan. As I end up scrolling through my list of 3rd party apps in the Locations Services list I realize that Google Translate does not show up in there.

So what am I not understanding about that privacy label? Is Google Translate phoning home my whereabouts or not? And if so, why doesn’t iOS let me turn that off?

That setting determines whether or not the app can use iOS’s location services (e.g. GPS, cell tower triangulation, Wi-Fi SSID availability, etc.) to determine your location.

If Google is determining it through some other means (e.g. the server applying your IP address to a lookup table to determine your ISP and therefore coarse location), there’s nothing iOS can do to prevent it.

Of course, if this bothers you, you can use a VPN, which will make your publicly-visible address one of the VPN’s exit points, which (depending on your choice of VPN provider) may be anywhere in the world.

1 Like