Since a week, a rumour has been circulating on social media that a recent iOS or Instagram update activates "Precise Location" on users' phone, leaving them vulnerable to stalkers and criminals.
The claim was made by an influencer marketing firm and amplified on Instagram by other users.
"Since a new update, people can find your exact location from Instagram and this is being used by individuals to target people to commit crimes including theft, stalking etc (sic)," it said, advising users to keep their precise location off.
But the Precise Location feature is not something new. Apple had unveiled it in 2020, Google launched it with Android 12, the PC Magazine reported.
Precise Location comes in handy when users want to get step-by-step directions or be pointed to, say a restaurant they could walk to.
On social media apps, Precise Location helps narrow in on where users are so they can offer them more relevant locations to tag in their posts, the magazine reported.
Instagram, taking note of the viral posts about Precise Location, clarified that it does not share users' locations with others.
People can manage Location Services via their device settings, and tag locations on their posts if they want to share that information.— Instagram Comms (@InstagramComms) August 25, 2022
"Similar to other social media companies, we use precise location for things like location tags and maps features," the social network tweeted. "People can manage Location Services via their device settings, and tag locations on their posts if they want to share that information."
For users unnerved by the location concerns, there is an option to change settings on their phones. They can choose to have some apps only see their approximate location.
However, turning off Precise Location for apps like Google Maps and Uber may lead to service troubles.