How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking

How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking on All of Your Devices

Google tracks your location as well as search history on Google.com. The service does this to provide a better experience for users and to also help with auto fill settings (which many times can be quote annoying). The unfortunate news is that Google is tracking your location and preferences whether you realize it or not. Many Google services users don’t realize how extensive the tracking really is. To accomplish this Google tracks your location and usage across multiple apps including Google Maps, Chrome, Google.com searches, Gmail, YouTube and weather apps.

YouTube, the video sharing site, is owned by Google in case you did not know it already. YouTube tracks your video searches just like Google.com does. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the US, second only to Google. YouTube also records what you watch to offer up suggestions on what you’d like to watch next. Google Maps records your search queries as well as where you travel to in order to provide better route and commute information. It also tracks where you are in real time. The creepy par of Google amps is a feature known as the Timeline. The Google Maps timeline is accessible from https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb and shows your past locations, travel time, and mode of transportation. All of this is saved, cross-device under the banner of providing a better experience for Google account users.




Google also saves your search history and activity on other websites with tracking cookies. The goal is to provide faster web searches and better recommendations. Google can track you across Firefox and Safari if you used your web browser to log into your Gmail, YouTube or any other Google account!

All this tracking also provides more revenue for Google parent corporation, Alphabet. This data is monetized in the form pf personalized and targeted advertisements. Selling advisements is one of Alphabets largest sources of income. The better they can target audiences on behalf of their advertisers the more money everyone makes.

Remember that turning of location sharing affects location sharing with people you may WANT to share your location with – family and friends. The easiest way to turn off Google tracking on any device is by heading directly to myactivity.google.com in a web browser. Follow the direction for web browsers.





How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking In a web browser (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)

NOTE: This is the easiest method to use including for iPhone users!

  1. Go to myactivity.google.com
  2. From the upper-right corner of your web browser, sign in to your Google Account
  3. From the left-hand menu, Select Activity Controls
  4. Toggle Web & App Activity off
  5. Next, shut Location History off

NOTE: You will have to repeat these steps for ALL Google accounts you use!

How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking in Google Maps for Android devices

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your phone
  2. From the upper left hamburger menu select “Google Account”
  3. Scroll down to Settings
  4. Select Google location settings
  5. Toggle Location Settings to off
  6. Back up one level
  7. Scroll down to “Personal Settings”
  8. Scroll down to App History and
  9. Select Web & App Activity
  10. Turn Web & App Activity off
  11. Location History can also be shut off here if it was not done in step 4





How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking for iPhone Users

  1. From Google maps, go to your settings
  2. In a web browser (which is still in google maps) brings you to myactivity.google.com
  3. Use the hamburger menu in the upper left corner to choose Activity Controls
  4. Select Web & App Activity
  5. Turn Web & App Activity off
  6. Toggle Location Settings to off

How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking in Google Maps for Apple iOS devices

    iPhone users can also get to these setting by going to myactivity.google.com

  1. Tap on your Google Account (in the left-hand navigation bar)
  2. Find your email and tap it (you may have more than one!)
  3. Select Manage your Google Account
  4. Go to Personal info and privacy
  5. Scroll down to My Activity
  6. From here follow the instructions above for iPhone users

How to Shut Off Google Location Tracking on an Android device

  1. Go to the Settings app on your phone
  2. Scroll down to and select Google settings
  3. At the top select Google Account (Info, security & personalization)
  4. Select the Data & personalization tab
  5. Select Web & App Activity
  6. Slide the Web & App Activity toggle to off
  7. Back-up one level
  8. Select Location History
  9. Slide the Use Location History toggle to off

NOTE: This was tested on a Samsung Galaxy and a Google Pixel phone

For whatever device you are using and method you choose to turn off location tracking, you will have to repeat these steps for ALL Google accounts you use!

Michelle writes about cyber security as well as how to protect your data online. She has worked in internet technology for over 20 years Michelle earned a B.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She conducts workshops focused on web technologies and enjoys public speaking along with her connected rescue mutt.