How to Manage Google Location Tracking

As it turns out, turning off Location Services isn’t enough to stay off the grid anymore. There are many other ways in which Google apps track your location data. Google apps on both your desktop and phone track the locations you visit throughout the day and store them. There’s a way to counteract this tracking, though, and it’s not too complicated. First up, you should disable location tracking from your desktop Google Maps Timeline:

  1. Head to your Google Maps Timeline.
  2. Look at the toolbar below the map to and click Manage Location History. Here you can toggle it off.
  3. Next, delete your Location History. Click the gear icon in the lower-right corner of your Timeline map and select Delete all Location History.

That step ensures that Google Maps will not save your locations. That’s just one piece of the puzzle, as you’ll need to block actual location tracking on other Google apps you have downloaded on your phone.

  1. If you use the Google search app, open it and tap on your profile pic in the upper-left corner to open Settings. Tap on Privacy, tap Location and Location Reporting and then choose Do not report.
  2. If you use the Google Maps app, tap the hamburger button in the top left, then Your timeline, then the triple-dot button in the top right and tap Settings. Under Location settings, you can see if Location Services and Location History are turned on or off. You can also delete your location history.

And finally, it’s also crucial that you know about a relatively new feature in your search history: Google saves screenshots of your searches and any web pages you visit. Better to turn that off too. In the Google app, slide out the menu and tap Settings. Then click on Accounts & Privacy, and slide off the switch next to Enable Recent.

Good news for Android users: this whole process can be accomplished with a few clicks. Go to Settings, Location, Google Location, then Reporting. Tap the slider to turn it off.

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