I'm using a Lumia 920 with Windows Phone 8.1. I generally keep location services disabled, unless I actually need them (e.g. for the HERE apps or Foursquare). However, occasionally I see the location icon in my phone's status bar, indicating that some app is accessing my location:

enter image description here

As you can see from the third quick action, location services are disabled, but the icon shows up at the top. How is this possible? Does this mean that some apps or system functionality can bypass the location services setting? Or does it mean that I've only disabled GPS and apps are still able to determine my location via other means like cellular or wifi triangulation? Is there any way I can check which app triggered the icon?

  • Is there any pattern to this, or particular time that you notice this happening?
    – caschw
    May 5 '14 at 20:14
  • No pattern that I've noticed, seems to happen randomly. The icon remains for maybe 10 seconds tops, then disappears on its own.
    – Indrek
    May 5 '14 at 20:19
  • 1
    Hot did you manage to take this screen shot? You were just fast enough or you know how can we reproduce? May 6 '14 at 1:14
  • 1
    Just happened to be looking at the phone while the icon appeared, quickly expanded the action centre and took the screenshot.
    – Indrek
    May 6 '14 at 4:52
  • With the services on, I notice that it tends to get my location when I unlock my phone a lot. I'm just wondering if it is caching your location locally only, so it will be available to apps when you turn your location on again. Apps in the background tasks get the cached version of your location not a "fresh read".
    – caschw
    May 6 '14 at 14:13

This may be due to the "Find My Phone" settings. If you go to Settings > Find My Phone, check to see if you have the "Save my phone's location periodically..." setting checked. The service will periodically check your phones location and send it to Microsoft.

I think the "Location" settings are only for apps and the "Find My Phone" settings may bypass that (it's more of a system thing, i think) if you have the phone setup to save its location for the service.

here's a link to some of the setup info for "Find My Phone": http://www.windowsphone.com/en-US/How-to/wp8/settings-and-personalization/find-a-lost-phone

  • Interesting... I do have that option checked. I'll try disabling it for a week or so and seeing if the location icon still shows up.
    – Indrek
    May 12 '14 at 20:35
  • Well, so far I haven't seen the location icon appear again, so I'll mark this as accepted. Thanks!
    – Indrek
    May 20 '14 at 5:52

If you're on 8.1, it's possible that Cortana is periodically looking at your location in case of "remind me when I fall into the grand canyon to pack a parachute"-type reminders. I'd hope it would be smart enough to not bother if you have no reminders in-notebook though.

  • I am on 8.1, but Cortana is disabled, as is geofencing.
    – Indrek
    May 13 '14 at 15:17

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