Android W-Fi and location settings: How to turn off Wi-Fi scanning

You’re a privacy conscious individual and you’ve turned off your phone’s Wi-Fi – but have you really?

Well if you’re an Android owner, the answer is; probably not.

An Android phone hack has blown up on TikTok which has split the online community, sparking debate whether location privacy is a fair trade-off for better usability.

Tech TikTokker TA Tech Tips has blown the minds of thousands by revealing an intriguing loophole which allows your phone to connect to Wi-Fi even when you’ve disconnected on your phone.

“So, turning off your Wi-Fi doesn’t necessarily mean you’ve turned off your Wi-Fi,” he explained.

“If you head over to your phone settings and go to location and then select location services – and then here you can see, it says Wi-Fi scanning.”

The Wi-Fi scanning setting lets apps use nearby Wi-Fi networks for location detection even when you have switched off your standard Wi-Fi setting.

“So that means when you’ve turned your Wi-Fi off but you’ve got your scanning on – your phone is constantly still sending out pro request for Wi-Fi.”

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“So if you want that extra level of privacy, turn your Wi-Fi scanning off as well. “

The post sparked a flurry of discussion in the comment section regarding privacy and battery life concerns.

“I like to think myself as an Android expert but didn’t know of this setting. Thank you,” one commenter wrote.

“This is one of so many things why I never buy an Android cell phone,” another wrote.

Some said it was a small price to pay for the luxury of accurate location – especially when using maps.

“ … It’s worth it for accurate location,” one commenter said.

“I keep scanning on especially if I want accuracy on Google maps,” another said.

Android’s best practices for app developers states “the device’s battery life may be noticeably shortened” when too many scans occur.

“Android vitals considers Wi-Fi scanning excessive when an app performs more than four scans per hour in 0.10 per cent of battery sessions while running in the background,’ the document states.

Originally published as Warning for Android users over secret location setting loophole

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