In the age of technology, having our apps know where we are can be extremely helpful. Google maps has a predictive feature that will guess where users are going based on the time they start driving and give them traffic times (Google has limited this to Work and Home). However, when it seems like a database is breached every week, it begs the question of whether you want these apps to know where you are at all times?

Google, Stop Watching Me

If you have any Android-based device, Google produces the operating system for your phone. It doesn’t matter if you have a Samsung device or an LG device. Google has several versions of its operating systems for a range of devices. Android operating systems will come with several Google apps by default. Maps will track your location, but if you turn off your location services, Google can still keep an eye on your from other apps.

Turn Off Tracking Via Browser

First,  go to Google My Activity. Next, look at the left side of the screen and find ‘Activity Controls’. Once on this page, you can see a variety of activities, and you can choose what you want to disable. Before you disable any option, make sure you read what the option does thoroughly, so you know how it will affect your online experience. You also can delete the information that Google has already collected. Go back to the left-hand menu and select ‘Delete Activity By.’ At this point, you can choose what information to keep and what to delete.

Turn Off Tracking Via An Android Device

First, find your Settings app. Then look for ‘Accounts and backup’. Once here, click on accounts and Find your Google Account. Scroll down to the ‘Make Google Yours’ section and click on ‘Manage your data & personalization’. Here, like with the browser version, you can turn off the tracking for various activities. Lastly, you can also delete the information already collected. Tap the three dots for each category to delete some or all of the data.

Turn Off Location Tracking Via An Android Device

To keep your phone from retaining your location, you will need to turn off your location services. Depending on the operating system you are using, the privacy tab may be located in different places. For some phones, once you are in the settings, look for ‘Security & Location’ for others click on ‘Biometrics & Security’. If you are having difficulty finding it, you can search ‘location’ by tapping on the magnifying glass in the Settings app. Once you find the Privacy tab, you can toggle ‘Location’ off.

Before you leave this tab, you may want to click on the location option. Other sensors could be tracking your location, like WiFi or mobile data. Google has four categories under location services. Each one can be toggled on and off individually: Google Emergency Location Service, Google Location Accuracy, Google Location History, and Google Location Sharing:

Disable Location Tracking For Your Apps

If you don’t want to turn your location on and off as you need it, you can find out what apps are using your location history. Head back to your settings app and find ‘Apps & notifications’ or ‘Apps’. Once there you can go through each of your apps by clicking on them and see what features they are using from your phone. If you don’t want a particular app, like Facebook from tracking your location, you can turn it off from here. All apps should have the ability to disable various features from their settings as well.

Delete Your Google Location History Via An Android Device

First, open up your Google Maps app. Find and select the three lines in the top left corner of the screen. Select ‘Your Timeline’ from the menu. Select the three dots in the right corner. Choose settings and scroll until you see ‘Delete All Location History’. You will get a pop up asking if you want to continue, accept the terms then click delete.

Delete Your Google Location History Via A Browser

First, go to the Google Maps webpage. Similarly, to the app, tap the three lines in the top left corner of the webpage. Select ‘Your Timeline’ from the menu. Click the gear icon in the bottom right corner. Click on ‘Delete All Location History’ and click the popup to accept the terms and delete your location history.

Google is by no means, the only company that wants to get as much information as possible about its users. Many social media platforms will track their users for a multitude of reasons. Facebook has several patents designed with the intent of monitoring and tailoring advertising to its users. There are benefits to these apps for having your location like real-time traffic updates, finding out store hours and other information about businesses around you and much more. However, for those who want to keep a tighter grip on their data, always look at apps settings, or check the permissions when downloading new apps.

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