How to Disable GPS on Apple Watch Devices

The Apple Watch is a popular smartwatch that offers a range of features through its connection to your iPhone. One of those features is GPS location tracking, which can be used for mapping, navigation, finding nearby places, tracking workouts, and more.

However, there may be times when you want to disable GPS on your Apple Watch, whether for privacy, security, or battery life reasons. Fortunately, it’s easy to turn off location services and GPS on an Apple Watch. Here’s what you need to know.

Why Disable GPS on an Apple Watch?

There are a few key reasons you may want to disable GPS capabilities on your Apple Watch:

  • Privacy – If you don’t want your location tracked for privacy reasons, disabling GPS will prevent your watch from accessing that data. This ensures your location stays private.
  • Security – Turning off location services also enhances security by limiting the avenues for potential hacking or location tracking by bad actors.
  • Battery life – Using GPS can drain an Apple Watch battery faster. By disabling it you may be able to extend battery life, particularly if you aren’t relying on maps or workout tracking.

How to Turn Off GPS on Apple Watch

Turning off GPS and location services on an Apple Watch only takes a few steps:

  1. Press the Digital Crown to access the home screen and launch the Settings app.
  2. Scroll down and tap on Privacy & Security (or just Privacy on some older models).
  3. Tap on Location Services.
  4. Toggle the switch for Location Services to the Off position.

Once Location Services are disabled, your Apple Watch will no longer access GPS for maps, navigation, finding places, or tracking workouts. All location tracking capabilities are disabled.

Turning Off Location Services from iPhone

You can also disable location services for your Apple Watch from the Watch app on your paired iPhone:

  1. Open the Watch app on your iPhone
  2. Go to Privacy > Location
  3. Toggle Location Services to the Off position

This will sync the setting to your Apple Watch and turn off all location access.

Impacts of Disabling GPS on Apple Watch

While disabling GPS location services gives you more privacy and security, and may help battery life, it does come with some downsides:

  • You won’t be able to get maps or directions on your watch. Any app that relies on location data will be limited.
  • Workout tracking accuracy may decline since most workouts use GPS to accurately track pace, distance, routes, and more.
  • Features like finding nearby places and location-based app recommendations will no longer work.
  • Emergency SOS capabilities may be limited since your watch can’t access location data to share.

So while disabling GPS has definite benefits, it does reduce functionality – especially for health and fitness tracking. You’ll need to decide if that tradeoff is worthwhile for your personal use case.

Other Options for Reducing Location Tracking

If you want to keep basic location services but limit tracking, there are a couple other options:

  • Turn off Location-Based Apple Watch Suggestions – This stops your watch from using location to serve up app recommendations.
  • Disable Location Access for Specific Apps – From your iPhone’s Watch app, you can customize which apps have location access rather than disabling it completely. Limit it only for apps you want to use location.
  • Turn Off Significant Locations – This will limit your watch from passively logging frequently visited locations in the background.

These options let you reduce location tracking while maintaining core features like maps and workout tracking.

When to Re-Enable GPS on Your Apple Watch

If you disable location services and later want to re-enable GPS capabilities, just:

  1. Open Settings > Privacy & Security > Location Services on your Apple Watch
  2. Toggle Location Services back to the On position

This will re-enable full access to GPS and location data for all apps and services.

You may want to turn location back on when traveling and needing navigation, when resuming workout tracking, or when wanting access to location-based suggestions again.

Just toggle it back on anytime location access is needed!

Key Takeaways on Disabling Apple Watch GPS

  • Disable GPS by turning off Location Services in Privacy settings on your Apple Watch or iPhone Watch app
  • Benefits include increased privacy, security, and potential battery gains
  • Downsides are losing access to maps, directions, finding places, and reduced workout accuracy
  • You can limit location access for specific apps or services instead of disabling it completely
  • Re-enable GPS anytime by toggling Location Services back on

Disabling GPS on your Apple Watch gives you greater control over your privacy and data. Just be aware it reduces functionality in certain apps. But if privacy is your top concern, disabling location services may make sense for your personal needs.