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[Privacy] How do we turn off Google's (recent?) employment of cell-tower geolocation data in the Google Maps app?

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Wally J

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Sep 21, 2023, 9:29:11 PM9/21/23
to
Does anyone here have more technical information as to how Google Maps
obtains your location using cell tower data as described in this reference?
*How Maps finds your current location*
<https://support.google.com/maps/answer/2839911?hl=en&co=GENIE.Platform%3DAndroid>

Maps estimates where you are from sources like:
a. GPS:
Maps uses satellites to know your location up to around 20 meters.
When you're inside buildings or underground, the GPS is sometimes
inaccurate.
b. Wi-Fi: The location of nearby Wi-Fi networks helps Maps know
where you are.
c. Cell tower: Your connection to mobile data can be accurate
up to a few thousand meters."

Note the use of "mobile data" (and not "cellular data") in the above.

I was always aware that Google "could" use at least four types of data
1. GPS (which, IMHO, is perfectly sufficient alone for most needs)
2. Wi-Fi (i.e., your SSID/BSSID/dBm/GPS uploaded by your rude neighbors)
3. IP address geolocation (often more to the ISP's datacenter than you)
4. Cellular tower location (these are unique - but maps are proprietary)

Previously I was unaware Maps was actually _using_ cell-tower geolocation.
If Google Maps is using cell-tower geolocation, how do you turn that off?

Where do they get the database given they're supposedly not published by
the cellular carriers (although they are open sourced widely otherwise)?

Do you have a better reference on how "cellular tower geolocation" is used
on Android and do you have a better reference on how to turn it off?
--
I'll also ask the privacy question on the XDA Developers site found here...
<https://forum.xda-developers.com/m/galaxya325g.11604613/recent-content>

The Real Bev

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Sep 22, 2023, 12:34:31 AM9/22/23
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Put the phone in airplane mode?

I just found out that MY location is picked up by google maps only via
wifi+location services. With wifi off and cell service+location
services on it can't see me.


--
Cheers, Bev
I bought a tape called "Subliminal Advertising"
The next day I bought 47 more.

Jörg Lorenz

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Sep 22, 2023, 12:35:28 AM9/22/23
to
Am 22.09.23 um 03:29 schrieb Wally J:
> Does anyone here have more technical information as to how Google Maps
> obtains your location using cell tower data as described in this reference?

Arlen, you are the wisenheimer of this group.
Epic fail.

--
De gustibus non est disputandum

Jeff Layman

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Sep 22, 2023, 4:18:56 AM9/22/23
to
Not answering your question, but don't forget that Google can find you
even with location supposedly turned off. "Personal Safety" recently
appeared in my list of system apps during an update (it might already
have been there and in use but didn't appear until the update). Under
the section "Crisis alerts", it states "Personal safety uses your
device's location to find info about the crises affecting your area,
even when the app is closed or not in use.". There is a link to "learn
more". This opens another help page apparently relating to Pixel phones.
It notes I am using a custom version of Android, and that the "steps
might not apply". The page is at:
<https://support.google.com/pixelphone/answer/7055029#crisis_alert>

There is a long section in "Get help during an emergency" about "Send
your location automatically". It starts "Your phone uses Emergency
Location Service (ELS) only when you call or text and emergency number.
If your phone has ELS turned on, ELS may use Google Location Services
*and other info* (my emphasis!) to determine the most accurate location
for your phone during an emergency call...".There's a link at the end to
location sharing with Google Maps. What the "other info" is it doesn't say.

None of this may be relevant, but it shows that Google can access
location information even when its supposedly turned off.

--

Jeff

Andy Burns

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Sep 22, 2023, 5:40:14 AM9/22/23
to
Wally J wrote:

> I was unaware Maps was actually using cell-tower geolocation.
> If Google Maps is using cell-tower geolocation, how do you turn that
> off?

Under Settings > Location > Location Services > Google Location Accuracy
there's an "improve location accuracy" toggle, if you turn that off
it'll only use GPS without WiFi/Mobile.

> Where do they get the database given they're supposedly not published
> by the cellular carriers
Google have billions of android devices, many/most of which will have
GPS enabled, those devices can report where they are and which
cell-towers they can "see" along with signal strengths. It's not hard
for them to build a database of towers from that.

Newyana2

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Sep 22, 2023, 8:24:20 AM9/22/23
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"Wally J" <walte...@invalid.nospam> wrote

| Does anyone here have more technical information as to how Google Maps
| obtains your location using cell tower data as described in this
reference?
| *How Maps finds your current location*

To carry a cellphone turned on is to wear a tracking
collar. You ccan make some adjustments, but if you
dopn't want to be tracked then power off your cellphone
when you're not using it. To want to keep your location
private while using these services is missing the point.

Many services won't work at all without location. Uber,
restaurant recommendations, real-time dating apps...
Many free app developers get paid by selling your
private data.

Do you know about Google geofencing? It's a paying
business for them. Some of the Jan 6 rioters were
caught that way:

https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/19/google-geofence-warrants/

Some years ago there was also an article about iPhones
storing a log of location data. The reporter used it to create
a map of where he had been for several weeks.

If you want privacy then use maps on a computer and
preferably avoid Google maps. I actually wrote my own
software that gets Bing maps if I need a map. But of
course, most cellphone addicts these days don't know how to
read maps, so they use Waze. Once again, an app that's
of no use without knowing your location.

Long story short, you've missed the concept of living
on a cellphone. Most people who live that way see these
intrusions as services. They don't care about privacy.
It's like you put an ad in the paper to advertise your
yard sale and now you're complaining that people are
coming to your house.


Frank Slootweg

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Sep 22, 2023, 11:16:59 AM9/22/23
to
The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On 9/21/23 6:29 PM, Wally J wrote:
[...]
> > Do you have a better reference on how "cellular tower geolocation" is used
> > on Android and do you have a better reference on how to turn it off?
>
> Put the phone in airplane mode?
>
> I just found out that MY location is picked up by google maps only via
> wifi+location services. With wifi off and cell service+location
> services on it can't see me.

Nope. Google Maps doesn't *show* *you* (or someone else?) where you
are. There's no proof that *Google* doesn't know where you are.

In modern Android versions, you can no longer really turn off all
location determination. All you can do is limit what *your* *apps* can
do, but you can not prevent other Google/Android components to determine
your location. You can only 'trust' Google to do no evil. Good luck with
that!

[Rewind/repeat:]
> I just found out that MY location is picked up by google maps only via
> wifi+location services. With wifi off and cell service+location
> services on it can't see me.

In the latter case, was 'Mobile data' off or on?

candycanearter07

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Sep 22, 2023, 11:27:05 AM9/22/23
to
On 9/22/23 10:16, Frank Slootweg wrote:
> In modern Android versions, you can no longer really turn off all
> location determination. All you can do is limit what *your* *apps* can
> do, but you can not prevent other Google/Android components to determine
> your location. You can only 'trust' Google to do no evil. Good luck with
> that!

And they removed the "don't be evil" slogan
--
--
user <candycane> is generated from /dev/urandom

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 22, 2023, 11:34:53 AM9/22/23
to
Well, you can use offline navigation apps on a smartphone and turn on
Airplane mode. That way the app will use GPS and there's no possible
connection to any 'service'. Guess what I use when in the Outback in
Australia? :-) No mobile/Wi-Fi signal in the air anywhere (only
satellites).

But in general you're of course right, most people are visible most of
the time. *They* might not know where they are, but Google *does*! :-)

The Real Bev

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Sep 22, 2023, 1:00:56 PM9/22/23
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I can choose 'airplane mode' on/off and wifi on/off. I hunted around for
a 'mobile data'/other choice with no success.


--
Cheers, Bev (Registered Linux User 85683)
Some people have told me they don't think a fat penguin really
embodies the grace of Linux, which just tells me they have never seen
an angry penguin charging at them in excess of 100mph. They'd be a
lot more careful about what they say if they had. -- Linus Torvalds

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 22, 2023, 1:58:47 PM9/22/23
to
Hmmm!? Strange!? On most phones the 'Mobile data' on/off toggle is on
the same panel as the 'Wifi', 'Bluetooth', 'Airplane mode', 'Location',
etc. toggles. My panel has 4 pages and I can arrange what goes on which
page, so perhaps your 'Mobile data' toggle is not on the main page.

Can someone with a Pixel <whatever> tell Bev where to look for the
'Mobile data' on/off toggle?

Roger

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Sep 22, 2023, 2:49:37 PM9/22/23
to
On 22 Sep 2023 17:58:43 GMT, Frank Slootweg
Pixel 6a. Settings / Network and Internet / SIMs / Mobile data
--
Roger

David Higton

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Sep 22, 2023, 3:37:18 PM9/22/23
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In message <ueiql2$3p8so$1...@dont-email.me>
Wally J <walte...@invalid.nospam> wrote:

> Does anyone here have more technical information as to how Google Maps
> obtains your location using cell tower data

The timing of the RF burst returned by your phone gives your approximate
range from the cell tower. One tower just gives a ring centred on the
tower; the intersections of two or more rings from other towers reduce
the uncertainty.

If your phone is on and able to make and receive calls, there's nothing
you can do to prevent gathering this information.

It can be used by emergency services to locate callers if GPS data are
not available.

David

Char Jackson

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Sep 22, 2023, 4:10:44 PM9/22/23
to
I would just add that a Mobile Data switch probably isn't actually needed. My
phone, a Samsung Galaxy S20FE, doesn't appear to have such a switch, but it does
have Airplane Mode, which does the same thing.

If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable Airplane Mode,
which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, then manually re-enable WiFi and BT.

The Real Bev

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Sep 22, 2023, 5:16:39 PM9/22/23
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Ah. Settings | Mobile network (movistar) | Mobile data on/off and
Roaming on/off. Both were on. I was told that Keepgo used T-Mobile and
AT&T. When I was setting it up the guy said that it was ok to leave
movistar there (as if I had an actual choice). Movistar is a Spanish
network and Keepgo is supposedly in Spain. OK...

The Real Bev

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Sep 22, 2023, 5:23:55 PM9/22/23
to
Mostly I worry about battery drain, but there doesn't seem to be an
accurate way of determining the relative usage of wifi-readiness and
phone-readiness. If I can get 3 years out of a battery which costs me
$60 to have replaced I shouldn't whine. People pay more than $20 for a
SANDWICH, for chrissake!

> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable Airplane Mode,
> which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, then manually re-enable WiFi and BT.

Just think, there are people living today who don't give even half a
shit about any of this stuff -- they just buy a new phone, pay their
phone bill and get on with life!

--
Cheers, Bev
In theory there is no difference between theory and practice,
but in practice there is.

Wally J

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Sep 22, 2023, 6:40:06 PM9/22/23
to
The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote

>>> Can someone with a Pixel <whatever> tell Bev where to look for the
>>>'Mobile data' on/off toggle?
>>
>> Pixel 6a. Settings / Network and Internet / SIMs / Mobile data
>
> Ah. Settings | Mobile network (movistar) | Mobile data on/off and
> Roaming on/off. Both were on. I was told that Keepgo used T-Mobile and
> AT&T. When I was setting it up the guy said that it was ok to leave
> movistar there (as if I had an actual choice). Movistar is a Spanish
> network and Keepgo is supposedly in Spain. OK...

This might be beyond TheRealBev's interest, but I wrote a few tutorials
recently on how to make _everything_ you want to set a single tap.
<https://forum.xda-developers.com/t/tutorial-illustrated-mostly-privacy-based-one-tap-shortcuts-so-that-you-can-access-in-a-single-tap-any-buried-android-setting-or-app-activity.4625951/#post-88989959>

No longer do you need to dig into the Android settings to change stuff.
<https://forum.xda-developers.com/m/galaxya325g.11604613/recent-content>

Wally J

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Sep 22, 2023, 6:51:05 PM9/22/23
to
Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote

>> Can someone with a Pixel <whatever> tell Bev where to look for the
>>'Mobile data' on/off toggle?
>
> I would just add that a Mobile Data switch probably isn't actually needed. My
> phone, a Samsung Galaxy S20FE, doesn't appear to have such a switch, but it does
> have Airplane Mode, which does the same thing.
>
> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable Airplane Mode,
> which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, then manually re-enable WiFi and BT.

As Frank Slootweg said, every phone I've ever seen has a mobile-data on/off
switch - which is usually right next to the other on/off radio switches.

But be advised, there are intelligent settings that can modify that.

For example, on my Android 13 Samsung Galaxy, these are in the setup.

Settings > Connections Data usage > Mobile data only apps
"Set apps to always use mobile data,
even when your phone is connected to Wi-Fi"

In addition, if you're sophisticated user, you can use NetGuard which will
prevent some apps (like Google Maps) from using cellular data geolocation.
<https://netguard.me/>

Both will probably block the Google Maps geolocation of your Wi-Fi address.

candycanearter07

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Sep 22, 2023, 10:21:12 PM9/22/23
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So that's how emergency services get your position.. neat!

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 23, 2023, 8:44:35 AM9/23/23
to
But Airplane mode also disables calls and SMS. That's why most phones
have a 'Mobile data' on/off toggle, in addition to all the other ones.

Example scenario: At home, streaming video. I don't want to risk that
a WiFi problem makes my phone switch to Mobile data, so I switch off
Mobile data and still can get/make calls (and get/send SMS (Yeah,
*right*!)).

Does your phone have a - probably swipe-down - panel with icons which
work as on/off toggles for things like WiFi, Sound, Bluetooth, Location,
Airplane mode, etc.?

If so - no offense intended - can you drag/swipe down that panel to
get more toggles and more pages?

For example, my swipe-down panel initially shows 5 toggles (I can
configure which ones). If I drag/swipe it down further, I get 2 rows of
4 toggles each. If I swipe left the extended panel, I get 3 more pages
of 8 toggles each.

The settings part (three vertical dots) calls this panel the 'Quick
panel', which term I assume is also used on other Samsung phones.

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 23, 2023, 9:10:13 AM9/23/23
to
Roger <inv...@invalid.invalid> wrote:
> On 22 Sep 2023 17:58:43 GMT, Frank Slootweg
> <th...@ddress.is.invalid> wrote:
>
> >The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote:
> >> On 9/22/23 8:16 AM, Frank Slootweg wrote:
> >> > The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote:
[...]
> >> > [Rewind/repeat:]
> >> >> I just found out that MY location is picked up by google maps only via
> >> >> wifi+location services. With wifi off and cell service+location
> >> >> services on it can't see me.
> >> >
> >> > In the latter case, was 'Mobile data' off or on?
> >>
> >> I can choose 'airplane mode' on/off and wifi on/off. I hunted around for
> >> a 'mobile data'/other choice with no success.
> >
> > Hmmm!? Strange!? On most phones the 'Mobile data' on/off toggle is on
> >the same panel as the 'Wifi', 'Bluetooth', 'Airplane mode', 'Location',
> >etc. toggles. My panel has 4 pages and I can arrange what goes on which
> >page, so perhaps your 'Mobile data' toggle is not on the main page.
> >
> > Can someone with a Pixel <whatever> tell Bev where to look for the
> >'Mobile data' on/off toggle?
>
> Pixel 6a. Settings / Network and Internet / SIMs / Mobile data

No, that's the settings/configuration part, i.e. not for day-to-day
use.

I mean a - probably swipe-down - panel which has icons for each of the
above functions and these icons function as on/off toggles, i.e. you tap
the icon to switch the function (for example WiFi) on or off.

On most phones. there's also such an icon/toggle for Mobile data. On
my phone. the icon is two white arrows - one up, one down - in a blue
(when on) circle. If the panel is not extended, it only shows the icons.
If it is extended, it shows the icon with its description ('Mobile
data').

Does you Pixel 6a have such a panel with on/off icons/toggles? If so,
how do you get to it?

The Real Bev

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Sep 23, 2023, 11:58:23 AM9/23/23
to
The Pixel2 has the swipe-down thing. No data on/off, but there is a
data-saver icon which turns off data downloading in the background --
which I just turned on.

Looking at the battery-usage history I see a number of apps using
minuscule amounts of battery even though I had NOT used those apps.
We'll see if this setting fixes that. Using MY battery to do unwanted
stuff is definitely undesirable.

I just noticed that some apps have a yes/no background battery usage
restriction toggle. YESSSSS!

It would be really nice if there were a BIG online manual for Androids.
Having to discover stuff by wandering around randomly in the dark is
less than desirable.

--
Cheers, Bev
"Do not try to solve all life's problems at once -- learn to
dread each day as it comes." -- Donald Kaul

Roger

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Sep 23, 2023, 12:53:56 PM9/23/23
to
On 23 Sep 2023 13:10:09 GMT, Frank Slootweg
Not quite as what you described. Swipe down then Internet gives
two toggles: mobile operator name and Wi-Fi. Press operator name
and a box appears "Turn off mobile data?". The options are Turn
off and Cancel.
--
Roger

Patrick

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Sep 23, 2023, 1:19:41 PM9/23/23
to
On Sat, 23 Sep 2023 08:58:18 -0700, The Real Bev wrote:
> The Pixel2 has the swipe-down thing. No data on/off, but there is a
> data-saver icon which turns off data downloading in the background --
> which I just turned on.

On almost everyone's phone, there is a swipe-down icon for data on/off.
That icon looks like a "two way traffic" sign (arrow down + arrow up).

If it's not there, it "could" have been removed by a user since you only
get to put four, five or six icons in that top swipe-down panel.

As an example, the first image in this big online manual doesn't have it.
https://www.urtech.ca/2020/08/solved-the-complete-guide-to-icons-on-android-devices/
https://www.urtech.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/Common-Android-Icons-Explained.jpg

Neither does the first icon image here (so it might not be the default).
https://www.computerworld.com/article/3640523/android-12-quick-settings.html
https://images.idgesg.net/images/article/2021/11/01-android-12-quick-settings-old-100911545-large.jpg

Mine is set to these which I use the most frequently for example
1. Wi-Fi on/off
2. Data on/off
3. Sound on/off
4. Location on/off
5. Airplane on/off

But there is a further swipe (or a settings gear icon) to change them.
https://www.howtogeek.com/725118/how-to-change-the-navigation-buttons-or-gestures-on-android/

Oddly, that site also doesn't have the required icon in the image.
https://static1.howtogeekimages.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/2021-04-26_15-37-18.png

This site doesn't have the up/down data on/off image in the first image.
https://www.digitalcitizen.life/change-quick-settings-android/

So I think the default may be that the data on/off icon isn't there.
https://www.digitalcitizen.life/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/quick_settings_3.png

But later on in that same article they show you how to put it there.
https://www.digitalcitizen.life/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/quick_settings_7.png

> Looking at the battery-usage history I see a number of apps using
> minuscule amounts of battery even though I had NOT used those apps.
> We'll see if this setting fixes that. Using MY battery to do unwanted
> stuff is definitely undesirable.
>
> I just noticed that some apps have a yes/no background battery usage
> restriction toggle. YESSSSS!
>
> It would be really nice if there were a BIG online manual for Androids.

I googled for "android manual quick settings icons explained" for you.
https://www.google.com/search%3Fq%3Dandroid%2Bmanual%2Bquick%2Bsettings%2Bicons%2Bexplained

There were too many results to reference but at least this one has the icon
that you want to add to your quick settings tiles (the two up/down arrows).
https://www.guidingtech.com/manage-android-quick-settings-menu/

The up/down data on/off icon is the first one in this image from that.
https://www.guidingtech.com/wp-content/uploads//How-to-Customize-and-Use-Quick-Settings-Menu-on-Android-2.jpg

> Having to discover stuff by wandering around randomly in the dark is
> less than desirable.

I don't think any of us ever took a class in how to use Android.
So we learned it the same way that you are learning it right now.

Once you learn it, they change it with the next Android release!

Wally J

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Sep 23, 2023, 1:48:52 PM9/23/23
to
Patrick <pat...@oleary.com> wrote

>> Having to discover stuff by wandering around randomly in the dark is
>> less than desirable.
>
> I don't think any of us ever took a class in how to use Android.
> So we learned it the same way that you are learning it right now.

If you search the Android newsgroups for "Tutorial", you'll see that I have
spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours trying to help people like you.
<https://groups.google.com/g/comp.mobile.android/search?q=tutorial>

You'll see similar articles if you search XDA Developers for my tutorials.
<https://forum.xda-developers.com/m/galaxya325g.11604613/recent-content>

They are some of the best-written most-detailed Android tutorials on the
planet (if I do say so myself). :)

I write them because I'm one out of a million in that I truly care that
people can do what I can do - so I try to teach them (and learn from them).

I'm nothing like your average poster to Usenet... I'm not here for
amusement but to learn from others and to teach them what I can do.

And I learn from others, like Andy Burns, who know more than I ever will.

BTW, I'm working on a tutorial as we speak where these are my one-tap
shortcuts to turn all the Google invasive privacy features on/off.
<https://i.postimg.cc/x1BL0M8G/shortcut-location-accuracy04.jpg>

Note you must turn most of them on to use Google Maps - but you can
immediately turn them off when you're done with using Google Maps.

And please do note that you can _easily_ get online real-time traffic
without ever turning ANY of those location-related radios on!!!!!
*Most people don't know that tidbit!!!!!*

See my tutorial on how to get real-time online traffic without giving away
your privacy - as routing needs your location - but traffic never does!

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 23, 2023, 2:56:28 PM9/23/23
to
Thanks! Hopefully Bev's Pixel (2?) has a similar panel/setting.

The Real Bev

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Sep 23, 2023, 3:45:26 PM9/23/23
to
Settings / Network & internet / Mobile network [only when 'on'] /
Mobile data off/on and Roaming off/on

Since I leave the 'phone' off unless *I* want to make (or am expecting)
a call or actually need to use non-wifi data, I'm leaving both settings
ON.


--
Cheers,Bev
"It is a matter of regret that many low, mean suspicions
turn out to be well-founded." -- Edgar Watson Howe

Wally J

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Sep 23, 2023, 6:40:10 PM9/23/23
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The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote

> Settings / Network & internet / Mobile network [only when 'on'] /
> Mobile data off/on and Roaming off/on

I just noticed I didn't have a 1-tap homescreen shortcut to roaming.
So I made one and put that one-tap shortcut into my shortcuts folder.

*Tutorial: How to make a 5-levels deep 1-tap shortcut to Google Precise Location Settings*
<https://groups.google.com/g/comp.mobile.android/c/KGDGRm7rUO4>

> Since I leave the 'phone' off unless *I* want to make (or am expecting)
> a call or actually need to use non-wifi data, I'm leaving both settings
> ON.

The problem isn't you leaving it on - it's Google's Android turning it off.
<https://i.postimg.cc/yx1yKMTJ/roaming-shortcut.jpg>

Hence you need to have a set of shortcuts to keep Google's location honest.
<https://i.postimg.cc/x1BL0M8G/shortcut-location-accuracy04.jpg>

Char Jackson

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Sep 23, 2023, 7:52:24 PM9/23/23
to
On 23 Sep 2023 12:44:30 GMT, Frank Slootweg <th...@ddress.is.invalid> wrote:

>Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote:
>> I would just add that a Mobile Data switch probably isn't actually
>> needed. My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S20FE, doesn't appear to have such
>> a switch, but it does have Airplane Mode, which does the same thing.
>>
>> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable Airplane Mode,
>> which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, then manually re-enable WiFi and BT.
>
> But Airplane mode also disables calls and SMS. That's why most phones
>have a 'Mobile data' on/off toggle, in addition to all the other ones.

I think you missed the last part of what I wrote. :)

c/p
>> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable Airplane Mode,
>> which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, **then manually re-enable WiFi and BT.**
(emphasis added)

So that's how I disable mobile data, which I admit is an extremely infrequent
thing, but on closer examination I see now that my Samsung Galaxy S20 does,
indeed, have a Mobile Data switch. I'll probably never use it since I'm used to
using the Airplane Mode method.

> Example scenario: At home, streaming video. I don't want to risk that
>a WiFi problem makes my phone switch to Mobile data, so I switch off
>Mobile data and still can get/make calls (and get/send SMS (Yeah,
>*right*!)).
>
> Does your phone have a - probably swipe-down - panel with icons which
>work as on/off toggles for things like WiFi, Sound, Bluetooth, Location,
>Airplane mode, etc.?

Yes.

> If so - no offense intended - can you drag/swipe down that panel to
>get more toggles and more pages?

Yes, and that's where I finally found a Mobile Data switch, but I'll never use
it because Airplane Mode and WiFi are more important to me, and they do the same
job as the Mobile Data switch.

Wally J

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Sep 23, 2023, 8:15:21 PM9/23/23
to
Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote

>> If so - no offense intended - can you drag/swipe down that panel to
>> get more toggles and more pages?
>
> Yes, and that's where I finally found a Mobile Data switch, but I'll never use
> it because Airplane Mode and WiFi are more important to me, and they do the same
> job as the Mobile Data switch.

There are so many ways to efficiently access that mobile data on/off
switch, that it will end up being different based on personal preference.

For example, you can put into your shortcuts folder on your dock a one-tap
icon to open up the mobile-data activity in your Android settings menu.

But I simply swipe down, just like Frank Slootweg says he does too.
For efficiency, my Android 13 quick-settings tiles are set to:

1. Wireless debugging (can only be added from Developer options!)
2. Airplane mode
3. Location on/off
4. Data on/off
5. Wi-Fi on/off
6. Sound on/off

The Real Bev

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Sep 23, 2023, 11:59:26 PM9/23/23
to
Since I have a cheap prepaid phone/data SIM I want to use it as little
as possible. Why would I worry about google turning anything off?

Although Firefox (linux, not android) does close tabs of its own
volition now and again. So does chrome. Android seems to turn
'location' off every once in a while, but if I need to have it on I'll
notice that.

Wally J

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Sep 24, 2023, 12:14:43 AM9/24/23
to
The Real Bev <bashl...@gmail.com> wrote

> Since I have a cheap prepaid phone/data SIM I want to use it as little
> as possible. Why would I worry about google turning anything off?

The problem is you can set up your phone perfectly, however you wish.
As I do... <https://i.postimg.cc/28KvcG6H/spoofwifiprovider01.jpg>

And then, after using just one or two of those secretly nefariously
not-so-well-behaved apps, it's no longer set up the way you had it set up.

For example...
... If you use _any_ Google apps, you'll find most are poorly behaved.

They turn things back on that you had expressly turned off for example.

If that's fine by you - then there shouldn't be any worries on your part.
But it's not fine by me that Google apps secretly change privacy settings.

Always in favor of less privacy... toward more data collection...
... so I turn them off ...

Which is where the easy-to-use efficient one-tap shortcuts come in handy.

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 24, 2023, 5:01:20 AM9/24/23
to
Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote:
> On 23 Sep 2023 12:44:30 GMT, Frank Slootweg <th...@ddress.is.invalid> wrote:
>
> >Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote:
> >> I would just add that a Mobile Data switch probably isn't actually
> >> needed. My phone, a Samsung Galaxy S20FE, doesn't appear to have such
> >> a switch, but it does have Airplane Mode, which does the same thing.
> >>
> >> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable
> >> Airplane Mode, which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, then
> >> manually re-enable WiFi and BT.
> >
> > But Airplane mode also disables calls and SMS. That's why most phones
> >have a 'Mobile data' on/off toggle, in addition to all the other ones.
>
> I think you missed the last part of what I wrote. :)

No, I didn't, but you missed what *I* wrote! :-)

> c/p
> >> If I wanted to disable only Mobile Data, I would have to enable
> >> Airplane Mode, which disables mobile data, WiFi, and BT, **then
> >> manually re-enable WiFi and BT.**
> (emphasis added)
>
> So that's how I disable mobile data, which I admit is an extremely
> infrequent thing, but on closer examination I see now that my Samsung
> Galaxy S20 does, indeed, have a Mobile Data switch. I'll probably
> never use it since I'm used to using the Airplane Mode method.

Yes, I understand that. But *my* point is that when you do that, you
*also* switch off calls and SMS. That may not matter to *you*, but is
*my* point:

> > Example scenario: At home, streaming video. I don't want to risk that
> >a WiFi problem makes my phone switch to Mobile data, so I switch off
> >Mobile data and still can get/make calls (and get/send SMS (Yeah,
> >*right*!)).
> >
> > Does your phone have a - probably swipe-down - panel with icons which
> >work as on/off toggles for things like WiFi, Sound, Bluetooth, Location,
> >Airplane mode, etc.?
>
> Yes.

Thanks for the confirmation. Being a Samsung, I thought it likely that
it would have the Quick panel.

> > If so - no offense intended - can you drag/swipe down that panel to
> >get more toggles and more pages?
>
> Yes, and that's where I finally found a Mobile Data switch, but I'll
> never use it because Airplane Mode and WiFi are more important to me,
> and they do the same job as the Mobile Data switch.

No they don't (see above), but for you the difference (no calls/SMS)
apparently does not matter.

Anyway, the beauty of the (Samsung's) Quick panel is that you can put
the buttons on the initial/main panel which are important to you and
leave the rest on the extended panel / extra pages, or hide them
alltogether.

Char Jackson

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Sep 24, 2023, 6:14:25 AM9/24/23
to
You're right, but calls and SMS are only off for a second or two, right? As
quickly as you can hit the WiFi switch, they're back on again. For me, that
hasn't been a big deal.

<snip>

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 24, 2023, 1:48:35 PM9/24/23
to
Ah, I see our confusion!

What's back on is *WiFi* calling/SMS (if your provider and phone
supports that). I meant normal 'cellular' calling/SMS. Cellular
calling/SMS is off, because Airplane mode turns off *all* radios and the
only way to turn the 'cellular' radio back on, is to switch off Airplane
mode.

Does this explain our misunderstanding?

> <snip>

candycanearter07

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Sep 24, 2023, 2:00:13 PM9/24/23
to
On 9/23/23 12:19, Patrick wrote:
> I don't think any of us ever took a class in how to use Android.
> So we learned it the same way that you are learning it right now.
>
> Once you learn it, they change it with the next Android release!

Not everything changes, right? Hopefully?

Wolf Greenblatt

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Sep 24, 2023, 9:01:55 PM9/24/23
to
On 24 Sep 2023 09:01:16 GMT, Frank Slootweg wrote:

>>> Does your phone have a - probably swipe-down - panel with icons which
>>>work as on/off toggles for things like WiFi, Sound, Bluetooth, Location,
>>>Airplane mode, etc.?
>>
>> Yes.
>
> Thanks for the confirmation. Being a Samsung, I thought it likely that
> it would have the Quick panel.

In each version of Android they add more quick settings tiles that can only
be added via the Developer options settings page such as in Android 13
Settings --> Developer options --> Quick settings developer tiles
Show layout bounds
Profile HWUI rendering
Force RGL layout direction
Window animation scale
Winscope trace
Sensors off
Wireless debugging
Show taps
Volume Up Press & Power Double Press Bugreport

The only two that I added are the "Sensors off" and "Wireless debugging"
quick settings tiles, where I mostly use the "Wireless debugging" switch
since it's required for adb to talk to Android using the LAN's Wi-Fi AP.

Wolf Greenblatt

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Sep 24, 2023, 9:04:48 PM9/24/23
to
On 24 Sep 2023 17:48:31 GMT, Frank Slootweg wrote:

> Airplane mode turns off *all* radios and the
> only way to turn the 'cellular' radio back on, is to switch off Airplane
> mode.

Good to know.

The "Airplane mode" quick settings tile turns off all the radios.
The "Sensors off" quick settings tile turns off all the sensors.

Char Jackson

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Sep 25, 2023, 1:35:09 AM9/25/23
to
Yes! :)

>(if your provider and phone supports that).

I thought that most do, but perhaps it's less than I thought.

>I meant normal 'cellular' calling/SMS.

But doesn't that use Mobile Data where you are? If you turn off Mobile Data,
isn't WiFi your only remaining option for calls/SMS? Where I am, we don't use
circuit switched cellular connections anymore. Instead, it's all packet switched
for quite a few years now, so calls, SMS, and other data are all just data. At
least, that's my understanding.

>Cellular
>calling/SMS is off, because Airplane mode turns off *all* radios and the
>only way to turn the 'cellular' radio back on, is to switch off Airplane
>mode.

Agreed.

> Does this explain our misunderstanding?

Yes, and my apologies for dragging it out. My little neck of the woods may not
be representative of the entire world.

Andy Burns

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Sep 25, 2023, 2:56:38 AM9/25/23
to
That's not quite the full story.

On a "stock" version of Android (such a google Pixel) the first time you
turn on airplane mode, it does indeed turn off all radios.

However, if you manually turn back on bluetooth and wifi radios, the
phone remembers this, and subsequently when you turn on airplane mode it
only turns off the cellular radio (and pops up reminder that this is the
case).

sms

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Sep 25, 2023, 7:02:52 AM9/25/23
to
On 9/25/2023 1:56 AM, Andy Burns wrote:

<snip>

> That's not quite the full story.
>
> On a "stock" version of Android (such a google Pixel) the first time you
> turn on airplane mode, it does indeed turn off all radios.
>
> However, if you manually turn back on bluetooth and wifi radios, the
> phone remembers this, and subsequently when you turn on airplane mode it
> only turns off the cellular radio (and pops up reminder that this is the
> case).

I did not realize that all Android devices with the latest version of
the operating system didn't function like this. It's the logical way for
Airplane mode to operate.

--
“If you are not an expert on a subject, then your opinions about it
really do matter less than the opinions of experts. It's not
indoctrination nor elitism. It's just that you don't know as much as
they do about the subject.”—Tin Foil Awards

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 25, 2023, 10:46:32 AM9/25/23
to
Yes, it's all data, but it's not all 'Mobile data'. Quite confusing,
but that's how it is. I just had a similar discussion with sms (the
poster), about MMS using data, but not 'Mobile data'.

The easiest to explain is probably that 'Mobile data' is data used for
Internet access and gets billed (or is included in your bundle)
*seperate* from calls/SMS/MMS. Any other data is not 'Mobile data'.

Another comparison/analogy: If you have fixed broadband, every thing -
TV, telephone, Internet - is 'data', but the Internet part is seperate
from the internet parts.

In my mobile 'plan', I can see how much is used/charged for calls and
SMS on one side and for Mobile data on the other side. If Mobile data is
switched off on the phone, calls/SMS are still charged in the calls/SMS
part and nothing is charged in the Mobile data part.

In short: For 'Mobile data' just read 'Mobile Internet use'.

> >Cellular
> >calling/SMS is off, because Airplane mode turns off *all* radios and the
> >only way to turn the 'cellular' radio back on, is to switch off Airplane
> >mode.
>
> Agreed.
>
> > Does this explain our misunderstanding?
>
> Yes, and my apologies for dragging it out. My little neck of the woods may not
> be representative of the entire world.

No apology needed, none at all. It's very confusing. I just (think I)
understand *this* bit. Ain't technology great! :-)

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 25, 2023, 11:25:43 AM9/25/23
to
Interesting, but - as you say - only applicable to Pixels (and the odd
"stock" Android phone).

For the large majority, one has to assume that Airplane mode turns off
all radios, unless proven otherwise. (For example on Samsungs and my
previous Huaweis.)

That's the main problem with Android, very little is 'standard'/
the_same for different brands/models, especially in this category
(settings/toggles).

Char Jackson

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Sep 26, 2023, 12:11:39 AM9/26/23
to
I think I'm learning that different wireless carriers possibly handle things
differently. I worked at a US-based wireless telecom for about 10 years and in
that ecosystem, once we moved away from circuit-switched voice to
packet-switched voice, all data was data, as far as the handset was concerned.
If the cellular radio was off for mobile data, it was off for *all* mobile data.
Once the different kinds of data, (voice, SMS, MMS, Internet access, etc.) were
inside the network, that's when various steering and billing levers were pulled.
That sounds different from what you're describing.

> Another comparison/analogy: If you have fixed broadband, every thing -
>TV, telephone, Internet - is 'data', but the Internet part is seperate
>from the internet parts.
>
> In my mobile 'plan', I can see how much is used/charged for calls and
>SMS on one side and for Mobile data on the other side. If Mobile data is
>switched off on the phone, calls/SMS are still charged in the calls/SMS
>part and nothing is charged in the Mobile data part.

The most interesting part of what I think you're saying is that even when Mobile
Data is disabled, the cellular radio is apparently not disabled since calls/SMS
are still allowed, so in your situation disabling Mobile Data is different from
Airplane Mode. I wouldn't have expected that. Thanks for that.

Frank Slootweg

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Sep 26, 2023, 8:13:05 AM9/26/23
to
Char Jackson <no...@none.invalid> wrote:
> On 25 Sep 2023 14:46:29 GMT, Frank Slootweg <th...@ddress.is.invalid> wrote:

[Lots deleted.]

> > In my mobile 'plan', I can see how much is used/charged for calls and
> >SMS on one side and for Mobile data on the other side. If Mobile data is
> >switched off on the phone, calls/SMS are still charged in the calls/SMS
> >part and nothing is charged in the Mobile data part.
>
> The most interesting part of what I think you're saying is that even
> when Mobile Data is disabled, the cellular radio is apparently not
> disabled since calls/SMS are still allowed, so in your situation
> disabling Mobile Data is different from Airplane Mode. I wouldn't have
> expected that. Thanks for that.

Thanks for wording it so succintly! That's indeed the gist of the
issue.

An interesting experiment would be for you to do the following:

Switch off 'Mobile data' (you have found where that switch is on your
phone) *and* switch off Wi-Fi. Now see if you still can make or receive
a phone call or/and can send or receive a SMS message.

My 'guess' is that you can still do that. If so, we've proven that the
'Mobile data' part (read: Internet access) is off / no longer in use,
but the *other* data for calls and SMS is still on / in use. And that is
exactly my point.

FWIW, I can't imagine it's diffferent for you and for me. AFAIK, this
is world-wide technology and not location/provider/phone/etc. dependent.

BUT, of course I could be wrong. Happened before, so it's bound to
happen again. :-)

sms

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Sep 26, 2023, 8:53:27 AM9/26/23
to
On 9/26/2023 7:13 AM, Frank Slootweg wrote:

> An interesting experiment would be for you to do the following:
>
> Switch off 'Mobile data' (you have found where that switch is on your
> phone) *and* switch off Wi-Fi. Now see if you still can make or receive
> a phone call or/and can send or receive a SMS message.
>
> My 'guess' is that you can still do that. If so, we've proven that the
> 'Mobile data' part (read: Internet access) is off / no longer in use,
> but the *other* data for calls and SMS is still on / in use. And that is
> exactly my point.

Correct. But you won't be able to send or receive an MMS.

But remember in pre-smart phone days you could still send and receive
MMS with the phone using data over AMPS, GSM, and CDMA. The carriers
charged for "messaging" which included a fixed number of SMS/MMS but
IIRC they did not distinguish between SMS and MMS.

The early cameras on smart phones generated files only in the hundreds
of KB so the carriers probably saw no reason to charge seperately for
MMS, or they had no system to do so; if your plan included 300 messages
they could be SMS or MMS. Now, a single iPhone photo can now be 75MB so
if you take just 13 photos of your meal you're at nearly a GB.

Char Jackson

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Sep 27, 2023, 1:43:39 AM9/27/23