Androids newer versions have changed the 'GPS' button into a 'Location' button which now offers 3 options for determining your position (recording wifi router information and comparing it to a google database, using the devices GPS, and doing both) each of those options prompt a disturing and annotying popup each time you turn the GPS on, "advising"/badgering the user into sharing his information with Google.

The only solution which was suggested to me for this popup problem (without installing any 3rd party apps or rooting the phone) involves disabling the Google Play Service- it worked great exept that it created something strange which I'm not sure about... If previously the user could choose which way of locating he wants and the device remembered it- now every time the GPS is turned on it is automaticlly goes into "local device&wifi tracking" mode (the first option).

I want to know if a)Does the device indeed monitors that information (even if it can't send it anywhere with google services being disabled)? b) any way to stop it? c)can this default be changed so that only the local GPS chip will be used?

Thank you very much!

  • 1
    1) Which specific Android version is it? I suspect a 5.x. 2) I've not connected my device to a router since ages but to device hotspots, so I don't know what kind of router details you're talking about. But, in Lollipop, see /data/misc/wifi/networkHistory.txt. 3) "local device&wifi tracking" mode (the first option). -- please post a screenshot, 4) any way to stop it? -- don't bother stopping it, but restrict it using a firewall, 5) can this default be changed so that only the local GPS chip will be used? -- is the device rooted?
    – Firelord
    Commented Aug 9, 2015 at 19:14
  • @Firelord Thank you very much for the response, yours is the most helpfull one I got! 1)yes it is 5.0.2. But is it not the same on KItkat? 2) Thank you (I'm not 100% sure what router details are being copied by android but I'm assuming it would include IP, MAC and other identifiers) but my device is not rooted, do you know any way to see this networkhistory nevertheless? 3)screenshot attached. 4) Can firewalls (without root) be trusted though? It is my understanding that they work by the pronciple of directing all traffic through them... 5)
    – jdoe
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 18:57
  • 5)nope, the device is not rooted (fear of losing the warranty). :(
    – jdoe
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 18:57
  • 4) actually, if the device is gathering info even with a firewall on- then if a trusted app sends those recordings during the time that I allow it to access the internet (like if I want to activate GOOGLE PLAY for a moment)- then the firewall won't help. Right?
    – jdoe
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 19:00
  • 4) The non-root firewalls in Android usually works by utilizing local VPN. They don't send but fool the apps that the device is connected a a VPN so that every kind of data pass through them and be applied its rules. I've not searched/researched yet but it could be that they send data to their servers as well. If it is a matter of strict privacy then rooting is must. // 3) I assume the screenshot is yet to be posted // 2) In my network history, the details were SSID, BSSID, CONFIG, MAC, among other things. No, there is no such file in my Kitkat.
    – Firelord
    Commented Aug 10, 2015 at 20:19

1 Answer 1


Android collects information about WiFi routers through the normal course of WiFi operation. You cannot get around this fact if you want to use WiFi. During normal WiFi operation the device listens for management packets like beacons that are sent from WiFi access points, and this information, which is used to communicate with WiFi APs, can be used to estimate location with an appropriate database (Google, Apple, Skyhook, etc.).

In some older versions of Android, it was actually possible to read the AP information with network permissions only and estimate the location using this information with a custom query to a database (not directly through Google's service). In more recent versions (maybe starting at 6?), I think this loophole has been fixed, so that the results of a wireless scan no longer give AP information that can be used to compute location. See https://stackoverflow.com/q/34957118/4107809.

I don't know anything about the default settings.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .