Mobile

Yes, Google Maps is tracking you. Here’s how to stop it

Above: Google's location history web page shows all the places you've been, as logged by Google Maps.

Google is probably logging your location, step by step, via Google Maps.

Want to see what kind of data it has on you? Check out Google’s own location history map, which lets you see the path you’ve traced for any given day that your smartphone has been running Google Maps.

In the screenshot above, it shows some of my peregrinations around Paris in June of this year.

This location history page has actually been available for several years, since Google first rolled it out as part of Latitude, its now-defunct location-sharing app. Cnet noticed it in December, 2013, TechCrunch picked it up a few days later, and now Junkee.com noticed it last week.

We’re highlighting it again because it’s trivially easy to turn off Google Maps location-tracking, if you want to.

In fact, I checked the location history page this morning and had difficulty finding any location data at all, because I’ve had location tracking turned off for months, with a few exceptions.

To turn off location tracking, just follow these easy steps.

How to delete your location history

View your location history using Google’s web page.

Set a time period to view — up to 30 days at a time.

Select the period you want to delete.

Click the “Delete history from this time period” link on the left side of this page.

If you have multiple Google accounts, check the history for each one.

To turn off location tracking in Android

Go to the Settings app.

Scroll down and tap on the Location section.

Tap Google Location Reporting.

Switch Location History to “off.”

Note: For greater privacy, you can also turn off Location Reporting, but this will keep apps like Google Maps from working properly.

How to turn off location tracking in iOS

Open the Settings app.

Scroll down to Privacy, and select Location Services.

Disable all Location Services by setting the top slider to “off” — or scroll down to disable specific apps one by one, such as Google Maps.

Take the steps above, and your location history will look something like mine does, below.

For more details, check out this LifeHacker article: PSA: Your phone logs everywhere you go. Here’s how to turn it off.

Hat tip: John Koetsier.

"You have no location history," Google says -- if you've refused to let it log your locations.

Above: “You have no location history,” Google says — if you’ve refused to let it log your locations.

More information:

Google's innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major glob... read more »

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96 comments
Scott Wilson
Scott Wilson

This clickbait nonsense is really getting old. Grow the hell up. 

virtualtiff
virtualtiff

@matthew_hall Is the person represented in that thumbnail image making a Google Map sailboat or jet fighter? Either way, pretty damn cool!!!

ShaleenSpeaks
ShaleenSpeaks

@bibekdebroy I'm fairly sure Larry and Sergey r not personally spying on us. uses it only to make itself more relevant and it works!

sajals
sajals

@bibekdebroy The options are quite explicit.I find it very useful to hv the history.wish history search tools were better.

ShaleenSpeaks
ShaleenSpeaks

@bibekdebroy But why to stop it at all? Maps/Now r very useful. And it's only a machine keeping ur data and beaming it back to u 1/2

jjames4793
jjames4793

@bibekdebroy "Google is tracking u" ... So is Whatsapp and any mobile app with access to yr GPS. And yes, dont forget the phone company.

Bob Bee
Bob Bee

I am so boring. Just looked at the past month and sometimes I don't even leave my property. It's not real accurate - doesn't show the actual route traveled. I guess if I were a spy, or if I were having an illicit affair, or dealing drugs I'd be really concerned about this. I turned it off to save battery, and I deleted everything just because Google can kiss my furry butt and get out of my life.

_safari
_safari

@JosefaSolar y lo que no sabe Google, Twitter lo entrega al toque, sin orden judicial :B

Gerardo Dada
Gerardo Dada

The easiest way to stop Google tracking you is to stop using Google. Windows Phone and Nokia maps. Problem solved.


Google is becoming big brother. Shouldn't they ask before tracking you?

dvfilonov
dvfilonov

@eugeneglybin Я наоборот это киллер-фичей считаю, и дико возмущался, когда прикрыли.

Josh Schneider
Josh Schneider

Why do they need to save it is my question.... they don't need to save it in order to tell you what's going on currently.


aguycalled80
aguycalled80

@VentureBeat Why turn this off? Where do you think the Google Now card telling you how long it'll take to get somewhere comes from?

FUNKATATED
FUNKATATED

@VentureBeat LOL they gotta keep an eye on the Sheeple flock so they dont get lost. Dumb people with smart phones...

lizbrownsays
lizbrownsays

@VentureBeat this could be useful info to integrate with my fitbit, but many ways it is actually frightening to know I am being tracked..

RangeDSP
RangeDSP

@VentureBeat it's actually kinda annoying that they don't keep more than 30 days of data. I wanna know where I went goddam it.

Andrei Ion Rinea
Andrei Ion Rinea

It's easier than this. Just switch to Windows Phone :) Worked for me.

Jules Bartow
Jules Bartow

Lot of good advertising who and where I am does. The clerks where I've shopped for 40-years still don't recognize me by name. They recognize that I probably have a penis and sprinkle a little bit of respect on it by calling me "sir". It doesn't make sexism taste any better. I bet, even if I had a vagina they'd call me "ma'am" instead of Jules. I'm tired of being recognized by nothing more than my privates. Recognize me as an individual when my privacy settings are set to public. I should be able to walk into any Starbucks in the world and the barista automagically knows my name and my "usual". CBP knows everything about me before I cross the border with my RFID passport. Why doesn't the hospitality and restaurant industry augment memories (c) of customer service representatives?

Niko Harris
Niko Harris

I like venture beat, but I'm so sick of their social media.

Kai Wolf
Kai Wolf

Christina, das war das wovon ich dir mal erzaehlt hatte :)

RjSeeker1
RjSeeker1

-> Doesn't work with my systems. They are top secured from sniffing data.

Robert Scoble
Robert Scoble

I wonder if all the people who were up in arms about Facebook Messenger are gonna make as big a deal about this?

Nick Danzinger
Nick Danzinger

Google knows how often I go to taco bell, big woop. Wanna fight about it?

Al Leo
Al Leo

The prisoners are happy to be tracked. Wow! So amazing invention. This is the Nation which constantly exports bool sheet about Freedom. :) :) :)

sholtaway
sholtaway

@joeldev I wish they'd just clearly state how logging that information is useful to the user. It must be in some way, surely?

Aaron O'Regan
Aaron O'Regan

I would never get home sometimes with out it.

brent stanley
brent stanley

I went through the last two months recorded and found it highly inaccurate. Constantly showing

80 to 100 miles from where I actually spent the day.

Navarr Barnier
Navarr Barnier

@RangeDSP @VentureBeat They do keep more than 30 days of data.  I just went back a year ago and looked at my data from then.