Privacy might be the last thing on your mind when it comes to browsing the internet. However, when you visit a location-aware website, the HTML 5 geolocation feature will try to estimate your location on a map accurately to the nearest latitude and longitude coordinates from the information supplied by your browser.
This means for example that your location can be attached to your tweets and Facebook posts. So if you don’t want people knowing when you are away from home or for any other reason not want to share your location, you can fake it or even completely hide it. This article explains how to do this in Google Chrome and Firefox and Internet Explorer.
Hiding/Spoofing Geolocation In Google Chrome
To hide or completely disable geolocation in Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- Go to Settings.
- Scroll all the way down to the bottom and press Show advanced settings…
- In the Privacy section, press the Content settings… button:
- In the Window that opens, scroll down to the Location section and select Do not allow any site to track your physical location.
Done. Your Geolocation has been disabled for your Chrome browser.
If, instead, you want to spoof your geolocation by sending fake coordinates in Google Chrome, follow these steps:
- From a new Google Chrome tab, press Ctrl+Shift+I (on a Windows machine) or Cmd+Opt+I (on a Mac). This will open Chrome’s developer tools.
- To open the Console window, press the Esc (escape) key
- Go to the Emulation tab. If you see a message like this:
Just press the toggle button on the top right to enable emulation:
- Now go to the Sensors section in the left sidebar of the Emulation tab.
- Next check the box next to Emulate Geolocation coordinates and enter the exact latitude and longitude coordinates that you want your browser to share with any website.
Tip: You can get the exact latitude and longitude coordinates of any place easily from Google maps. This Google support article explains how.
- Now refresh the browser (while developer tools is still open) and it will take your fake location. Note that the developer tools panel has to remain open otherwise, Google Chrome will not override your geolocation.
Hiding/Spoofing Geolocation In Firefox
Location-Aware browsing is also optional in Firefox. No location information is sent without your permission.
If you want to completely hide or turn-off location awareness in Firefox, follow these steps:
- In the URL bar, type about:config
- If you see a message like the screenshot below, just promise Firefox you’ll be careful 🙂
- In the next screen type geo.enabled in the search box.
- Double click on the geo.enabled preference. This will toggle the current value. The value you want is false.
The geolocation feature is now disabled.
NOTE: You can also turn off location-awareness when you are first given the chance to either allow or deny location in Firefox. The above steps are in case you already allowed it.
Related Reading: Does Privacy Still Exist?
Although you cannot spoof your geolocation via the developer tools in Firefox (like we did for chrome), you can easily do this by using a Firefox browser extension. The browser extension method is described below:
Step 1: Download and install the Firefox browser extension called Geolocater and restart your browser.
Step 2: Now you will find Geolocater as a sub-menu of the Tools menu.
NOTE: You may need to enable the menu bar in your browser to see the Tools menu.
Step 3: Point to Geolocater to reveal the Manage and Google service Sub-menus.
Step 4: Click Manage to launch it.
Step 5: Create a new Geolocation by pressing the Create button (highlighted below):
Step 6: Press the Toggle search mode button. The following screen will display:
Step 7: Move the map to your desired location, enter a name for it and save by clicking the save button.
That’s it! The next time you visit a location aware website in Firefox, the location you set in Geolocater will be used.
Hiding Geolocation In Internet Explorer
This one is very easy too. Go to Internet Options >> Privacy. Check the box “Never allow websites to track your physical location” and press Apply.
Even With Location Disabled You Can Still Be Tracked
Even after you disable or spoof your geolocation information, a lot of information about where you are is still sent just by using the Internet. Your IP address for example, can narrow down your location to your country and maybe even your specific city. If complete anonymity is very important to you, you may want to consider using a VPN.