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Computer Location Is Wrong? Here’s What You Can Do


The current location of your computer affects many settings and services. Many web contents are only available in certain countries. Also, if your location is incorrect, you may not be able to download system updates. It can also set incorrect date and time settings on your system.

If the wrong location changes your date and time settings, you can bypass the issue by setting your timezone manually. But if you want to debug this issue for other reasons, there are limited things you can do. First, let’s look at how location services determine your computer’s location.

Why is the Computer Location Wrong?

Most computers do not have a built-in Global Positioning System (GPS). Computer location services use the connected network or IP address to find its position.

Your system builds a location database using some or all of the following factors:

  • IP address or your router and ISP.
  • Nearby WiFi access point.
  • Other devices connected to the same network (if they have GPS).

Some systems also use other application components and data to determine location. Your system then sends the database to Microsoft, Google, Apple, etc., depending on the system.

While historical data is useful in making more accurate predictions, the main factors in determining the location displayed on your computer are current IP addresses.

You can always see the location of your ISP because it is the last access point before the public internet network routes. However, some Internet Service Providers (ISPs) direct their traffic to another location as an exit point to the public internet. In this case, the location shows the exit point, which may be further away from your current location.

What to do if the location of the computer is not correct?

As long as the computer or any apps you use show the correct general location, there is no problem. But if the location is completely wrong, there are some things you can try, such as:

Grant Location Access Permission

Usually, if you haven’t enabled the setting to allow access to location services, you’ll get prompts asking you to enable it whenever you use Maps. However, some apps will only show the incorrect location.

You need to give your system and apps access to location services to avoid such issues. Here are the necessary steps for this process on Windows, Mac and some web browsers:

In Windows

  1. Open Run (Win + R) and enter ms-settings:privacy-location.
  2. Toggle the switch for Location services or Allow access to this device’s location.
  3. can Allow apps to access your location or Allow apps to access your location.|
    enable-location-windows
  4. Make sure the switches next to all apps that show incorrect location are turned on.

On the Mac

  1. Go to Apple icon > System Preferences > Security and Privacy Preferences > Policy > Location Services.
  2. Click the lock and enter your password.
  3. Search Enable Location Services and all the apps you want to allow access to your location.
    enable-location-mac

In Chrome

  1. entry chrome://settings/content/location?search=location in the address bar.
  2. Search Sites may ask for your location.
    enable-location-chrome

In Firefox

  1. entry about:preferences#privacy in the address bar.
  2. Scroll down to Permissions and click Settings next to Location.
  3. Unchecked Block new requests asking to access your location and click Save Changes.
    enable-location-firefox

Change Default Location

It is possible to set a default location on your PC. Your Location apps and services will only use this location if it fails to find your current location. Most people usually set their home location as default account for such cases.

If you have entered a different default location, your computer may have failed to recognize your current location and displayed the default location. You can change this data using the steps below:

  1. Open Run (Win + R) and enter ms-settings:privacy-location.
  2. Under Default location, select Set the default.
  3. On the Map, click the Show my location (Circle) icon.
  4. If it shows We can’t find your exact location or shows an incorrect location, click the Default location, and Set the default location or Renewal in the floating tab.
    set-default-location
  5. Manually enter the location you want to set as default.

Disable Mock Locations

Some applications that fake your location on a computer are also available on the internet. You might be using such an app and forgot to turn it off, leading to this issue. In such a scenario, disable or close the program.

Clear Browser Cache

Some users have also encountered this issue with a web browser while browsing websites that use their location, such as Amazon. This happens when the browser’s cache location information is incorrect.

You need to clear the browser cache to resolve this issue. The process is different for all browsers. However, here are the steps for Google Chrome:

  1. entry chrome://settings/clearBrowserData in Chrome’s address bar.
  2. Set the Time range to All the time and check the following:
    • Cookies and other site data
    • Cached images and files
  3. Click Clear data.
    clear-cache-chrome

We have a dedicated article on How to Clear Cache in Browsers that you can visit to get the necessary steps for other browsers as well.

Update Windows OS

Microsoft’s location determination algorithm has evolved in recent years. If you have an older Windows system, you should update Windows to have the most accurate location services.

To update Windows:

  1. Press Win + I to open Settings.
  2. Go to Windows Update or Updates and Security > Windows Update.
  3. Click Install now or Check for updates if a new update is not available. If you have stopped your update, select Keep updating.
  4. Also install all available additional updates.
    optional updates

You can also go to the Microsoft update catalog and install the latest updates.

Use Google Maps

Most users consider the Google Map algorithm to determine their location superior to Bing Maps or Apple Maps. You can use this app instead of your system’s default location services if it shows the wrong location.

Disable Virtual Private Network and Proxy

VPNs and Proxies redirect your IP address to different locations. So, naturally your computer will show a wrong location when using such services.

If you really need to know or use your current location, you can disable your VPN or proxy temporarily.

Conclusion

If there are any issues with your location permissions or you are using a VPN, the methods we provide will solve all of them. However, even after implementing the solutions, your computer may not show the correct location.

As we mentioned earlier, this is an infrastructure flaw because most PCs don’t have GPS. So there isn’t much you can do except contact your ISP.



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