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How To Use Location Based Features Without Enabling Location Access [Windows 10]

Windows 10 has a few features that require access to your current location. You can enable location access from the Settings app under Privacy>Location. When you turn on location access, Windows 10 is able to give you the current weather and Cortana can find places nearby. Third party apps can request access to your current location. It is entirely up to you to select which apps can and cannot access your current location. If you want to use location based features without enabling location access for the OS, you can. The solution comes built-in with Windows 10. Here’s what you need to do.

To use location based features without enabling location access, you need to set a default location. This is something you can do in the Maps app. Windows 10 will use the default location to give you the current weather. It can also use the location to schedule Night Light.

Set Default Location

Open the Maps app and click the overflow button at the top right. Select ‘Settings’ from the menu.

Scroll down on the Maps settings screen and look for the Default Location option. Click the ‘Change Default location’ button. You will switch back to the app’s main interface.

Click the Change button and search for the city you want to set as your default location. That’s all you need to do.

Why Does This Work?

Windows 10 has this feature for one simple reason; your location isn’t always accessible. If at any time, Windows can’t get your current location, it will use your default location as a reference point and try to keep as many features running as possible. Using the default location to use location based features without enabling location access is you taking advantage of it.


The default location will work for some location based features but not all of them. For example, it will work with Night Light. If you want to schedule the Night Light feature. Night Light needs to know when the sun rises and sets in your current location and for that, the default location is enough. Similarly, the Weather app can work with your default location as well. It doesn’t need to pin-point your exact location on a map to give you the weather.

Where this doesn’t work is when you’re trying to get driving directions in the Maps app. Your default location won’t be enough for this. Likewise, Cortana will not be able to suggest nearby places to eat. Location based reminders will not work either.


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