Technology

Android 101: How to stop location tracking

Location tracking will be very helpful — it’s handy when an app can inform you, say, the place the close by eating places or gasoline stations are — however it’s also a privacy issue. Would you like all of your wanderings registered by Google? Are you snug understanding that Mark Zuckerberg’s minions know the place you’re always? (Properly, not that Mark Zuckerberg has minions, however what I imply.)

On this article, we’ll check out how to stop location tracking in your Android cellphone (and your Google account) and the way to delete your location historical past out of your OS and from a number of the extra standard apps. As all the time, observe that variations of Android can differ, and plenty of producers use overlays as nicely, which might change the places of assorted instructions — however they need to be related sufficient for you to find a way to discover your manner. For these directions, I’ve used a Pixel 6 cellphone operating Android 12, however I’ve included some instructions for these with earlier variations of Android.

Stop Google from tracking you, interval.

You in all probability know that Google can observe your location and actions via its Google Maps app. However you could not notice that your Android cellphone can be tracking your actions and actions via a number of different built-in apps.

In case you actually don’t need your cellphone to be tracking any of your actions and actions, there’s a manner to flip tracking off for all (nicely, most) of them. You simply want to remember that you just’re in all probability going to render a lot of your apps (corresponding to ride-share apps, climate apps, and, in fact, mapping apps) much less usable — or in some circumstances, utterly unusable.

Stop Google tracking utilizing a browser

First, we’re going to stop Google from saving your knowledge.

  • Go to https://myactivity.google.com/.
  • Below “My Google Exercise” you’ll see the buttons for 3 varieties of exercise: Internet & App Exercise, Location Historical past, and YouTube Historical past. You’ll be able to go to every individually by deciding on the suitable button.

Under “My Google Activity” you’ll see the buttons for three types of activity: Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History.

Below “My Google Exercise” you’ll see the buttons for 3 varieties of exercise: Internet & App Exercise, Location Historical past, and YouTube Historical past.

  • A extra environment friendly manner, although, could also be to go to Exercise Controls, discovered within the left-hand menu. This web page will present you all three controls on the identical web page; as well as, you may management advert personalization.

Google’s activity controls lets you turn off tracking.

Google’s exercise controls allow you to flip off tracking.

  • “Internet & App Exercise” covers something you’ve executed on Google apps and companies. You’ll be able to flip tracking off utterly, or select to preserve it on however stop it from saving your historical past or exercise if you use your Chrome browser. You too can flip off “Embrace audio recordings,” which determines if all of your audio interactions with Google and / or Google Assistant are saved.
  • The opposite related class is, in fact, “Location Historical past,” which saves details about the place you’ve gone along with your system. Additionally, search for “Units on this account” and click on the down icon to the appropriate; you’ll get a listing of all of the units that you’ve got which might be at the moment following your location — since that will embrace previous telephones that you’re now not utilizing, it is a good factor to verify.
  • We’d as nicely point out you could additionally disable your “YouTube Historical past,” which incorporates each your search and watch historical past, and “Advert personalization,” which makes use of your historical past to select which advertisements you’ll see.

Okay — you’ve now prevented any extra knowledge from being gathered. However it’s your decision to delete all or a number of the data that’s already been collected.

  • Return to the My Exercise web page and click on on “Delete exercise by” within the left-hand menu.
  • You’ll get a pop-up window that permits you to delete your exercise based mostly on time interval: the final hour, final day, “All time” (in different phrases, all dates), or “Customized vary” for a selected date vary.

A pop-up window that lets you delete your activity based on time period.

A pop-up window permits you to delete your exercise based mostly on time interval.

  • In case you select “Customized vary,” you’ll find a way to select a date vary. In case you select “All time,” you may then filter that data relying on companies (corresponding to advertisements, Chrome, Google Play Retailer, and so forth.). While you’re prepared, click on on “Subsequent.”

you can then filter that info depending on services

You’ll be able to filter your data relying on companies.

  • You’ll then get a preview of a number of the actions that can be deleted. In case you’re okay with that, choose “Delete.”

The last step before you delete your activity.

The final step earlier than you delete your exercise.

By the way, if you need to ensure that no one however you may delete your histories, then choose the “Handle exercise” hyperlink beneath every class in Exercise Controls, and search for “Handle My Exercise verification.” In case you allow that characteristic, Google will ask for a password any time you need to have a look at or delete any historical past in your account.

And for those who don’t need to fear about manually deleting your stuff, you may allow auto-delete in every class (you’ll see the choice inside every class on the Exercise Controls web page). You’ll have the choice to mechanically delete your exercise after both three, 18, or 36 months.

You can now auto-delete your location history.

Now you can auto-delete your location historical past.

Stop Google tracking on an Android system

  • Go to Settings. Within the search field on high, kind in “Exercise controls” and faucet it when it comes up.
  • In case you have multiple Google account, choose the one you need to handle.
  • Right here, as with the browser model, you may flip off or pause the monitoring of assorted actions, together with setting auto-delete and managing a timeline of your exercise.

Android’s Activity Controls are very similar to those on the web.

Android’s Exercise Controls are very related to these on the net.

You can select an auto-delete option on your mobile device.

You’ll be able to choose an auto-delete choice in your cellular system.

Flip location tracking on and off from the Fast Settings tray

If you would like to find a way to flip location tracking on or off as you want it, you are able to do that, too. A method to prepare that is to use the Fast Settings tray (which is what you see if you swipe down from the highest of your display). The tray holds quite a lot of icons for probably the most often-used Android options; there’s a “Location” icon that permits you to toggle the location characteristic on and off.

  • Swipe down from the highest of the display. In case you’re utilizing Android 12, you’ll see a sequence of bubbles for issues like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, flashlight, and so forth. In case you’re utilizing Android 11 or earlier, it will likely be a line of icons. Both manner, that’s your Fast Settings tray. Search for the Location icon (normally, it seems like an upside-down drop of water).
  • Not there? With Android 12, swipe throughout to see extra bubbles; in any other case, swipe down.
  • Nonetheless lacking? Search for a pencil icon; on a Pixel, it will likely be on the underside of the tray, however some Android interfaces may have it on high. Faucet on the pencil, and the menu will open additional. Now you can see all of the icons which might be accessible. What you need to do is make certain the Location icon is within the simply seen a part of the tray.
  • In case your Location icon is within the backside part, maintain and drag it up to the seen group.

You’ll now find a way to shortly swipe down from the highest of your display and toggle Location on and off — for instance, if you need to use Google Maps for instructions, you may toggle Location on, after which flip it again off if you’re completed.

There is a location button in your Quick Settings tray.

There’s a location button in your Fast Settings tray.

There is a location button in your Quick Settings tray.

If the Location button isn’t instantly seen, you may transfer it up.

Stop location tracking on Android units

In case you don’t really feel the necessity to block Google from recording all of your actions, and easily need to stop the cellphone from recording your location, it’s simple to do — so long as you concentrate to the small print:

  • Swipe down from the highest of the display so that you just see your Fast Settings menu, and long-press on the Location icon — or swipe down, faucet the Settings icon, and select “Location.”
  • You’re now on the Location web page. Discover the “Use location” characteristic on the high and toggle it off.

You’d assume that will be it, wouldn’t you? However you’d be improper. What is supposed by “Use location” in Android is dependent upon which sensors are following the location of the system: in addition to GPS, it may very well be Wi-Fi, cellular networks, or different sensors. So earlier than you permit this web page, look slightly additional down. In case you’re utilizing Android 12, search for the “Location companies” button, in any other case, search for the “Superior” button and faucet on that.

Both manner, you’ll have a number of classes you could toggle on or off. These will be (relying in your Android model and your cellphone’s producer):

  • Google Emergency Location Service. This tells emergency companies the place you’re if there’s an issue; for instance, in case your automotive goes off the street and the ambulance wants to discover you. You’ll be able to flip this off if you need, however learn the positive print: “If ELS is off, your cellular provider should ship system location throughout an emergency name.”
  • Google Location Accuracy. This makes use of Wi-Fi and different companies to assist pinpoint your location. If you would like to flip off “Use location,” you want to make certain that is turned off as nicely. Any app that requires “exact location” (which I’ll clarify in a bit) wants this to be turned on.
  • Google Location Historical past. This leads you to a web page the place you may pause your system’s assortment of your location historical past. That doesn’t eliminate what’s already been saved; there are directions for that slightly later on this article.
  • Google Location Sharing. In case you’re sharing your location with members of the family or associates, you may handle it right here.
  • Wi-Fi scanning. This lets apps and companies scan for native Wi-Fi networks, even in case you have Wi-Fi turned off.
  • Bluetooth scanning. This lets apps and companies seek for Bluetooth units even when Bluetooth is off. Each this and the Wi-Fi scanning are meant to enhance location options.

In case you can’t see these final two, return to the Location web page and search for a “Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning” hyperlink.

On your Location page, select “Location services” to see additional options.

In your Location web page, choose “Location companies” to see extra choices.

It’s a good idea to keep your Emergency Location Service turned on.

It’s a good suggestion to preserve your Emergency Location Service turned on.

Disable location tracking for any particular app

Yow will discover out which apps really use location tracking and simply disable it for those who you’re feeling don’t want it.

  • Go to the Location web page (by long-pressing the Location icon in your Fast Settings tray).
  • Faucet on “App permission” (or, for those who’re utilizing Android 12, search for “App location permissions”).
  • You’ll discover right here a listing of all of your present apps which have permission to entry your location both the entire time or solely whereas in use. Faucet on any to change the permission to both permit the entire time, permit solely whereas in use, ask each time, or deny. You too can resolve whether or not the app can be allowed to use “exact location” — in different phrases, use greater than GPS to decide the place you’re. For that, “Google Location Accuracy,” additionally discovered on the Location web page.

Typically if you flip off permissions within the Android Settings, the app itself will frequently attempt to get you to restore that permission. It’s irritating, however except the app permits you to say, “No, go away me alone,” you’ll both have to dwell with it or get a special app.

App permissions classifies apps by which permissions you allow them to have.

App permissions classify apps by which permissions you permit them to have.

When you click on a specific app, you can change its permission level.

While you click on on a selected app, you may change its permission stage.

Delete your location historical past

When you can flip off location tracking out of your Android cellphone’s settings, as soon as a service has collected your location data, eliminating that historical past takes slightly work. If you would like to delete your location historical past, the primary place you want to go is Google; after that, apps that acquire this data embrace Fb and Twitter.

Delete your Google location historical past on Android

When you can delete location historical past collected to your Google timeline within the My Exercise space (see above), you may also eliminate it simply in Google Maps.

  • Go to your Google Maps app.
  • Faucet in your profile icon within the higher left nook.
  • Faucet on “Your Timeline.”
  • Choose the three dots within the higher proper nook. Faucet on “Settings and Privateness.”
  • Scroll down to “Delete all Location Historical past.” You’ll get a pop-up window that asks you to verify a field saying that you just perceive that a few of your apps might not work correctly. Verify the field and choose “Delete.”
  • You even have the choice of deleting your location historical past inside a date vary or setting the app to mechanically delete your location historical past after three, 18, or 36 months.

You can delete your entire location history, or just within a range of dates.

You’ll be able to delete your whole location historical past or simply inside a spread of dates.

Google will always give you a last chance to back out.

Google will all the time provide you with a final probability to again out.

Delete your Google location historical past on a browser

  • Go to https://www.google.com/maps.
  • Faucet on the three parallel strains within the higher left nook of the aspect panel. (In case you don’t see the panel, search for the small arrow within the higher left nook and click on on it.) Choose “Your timeline.”
  • Search for the gear icon on the decrease proper aspect of the display. Click on on it, after which on “Delete all Location Historical past.” You too can set the automated deletion characteristic right here.

Look for the gear in your Timeline to delete your location history.

Search for the gear in your Timeline to delete your location historical past.

  • As with the cellular app, you’ll get a pop-up window that asks you to verify a field saying that you just perceive that a few of your apps might not work correctly. Verify the field and choose “Delete Location Historical past.”

You’ll be asked to confirm the history deletion.

You’ll be requested to affirm the historical past deletion.

Delete your location historical past on Fb

Fb does preserve a separate historical past of your places, and if you need to delete that historical past, you are able to do it via the cellular app or the browser.

Utilizing the Android app

  • Within the Fb app, faucet the hamburger (three parallel strains) within the high proper nook.
  • Scroll down and faucet on “Settings & Privateness.”
  • Faucet on “Settings.”
  • Scroll down and faucet on “Location” (which is beneath the “Permissions” subhead). This may take you to the “Location Companies” web page.
  • Now you can select to let Fb entry your cellphone’s location on a regular basis, whereas utilizing the app, or by no means.
  • If you would like to permit Fb to save a historical past of your places (or stop it from doing so), faucet on “Location Historical past” to toggle it on or off. It’s right here you could additionally delete your current location historical past.

In Facebook “Settings & Privacy,” select “Settings.”

In Fb “Settings & Privateness,” choose “Settings.”

Location Services lets you choose when Facebook can receive your location data.

Location Companies permits you to select when Fb can obtain your location knowledge.

Utilizing a browser

  • In Fb, click on on the small arrow subsequent to the Notifications icon within the higher proper nook. Click on on “Settings & Privateness” > “Privateness Shortcuts.”
  • Click on on “Handle your location settings.”

Select “Manage your location settings” under the “Privacy” category.

Choose “Handle your location settings” beneath the “Privateness” class.

  • On the “Location Settings” web page, click on on the “View your Location Historical past” button.

The “Location Settings” page lets you view your history, delete it, and stop recording it.

The “Location Settings” web page permits you to view your historical past, delete it, and stop recording it.

  • Then click on on the gear within the higher left nook. As with the cellular app, now you can both delete that particular day or delete your whole location historical past.

You can delete that day’s history, or all your history.

You’ll be able to delete that day’s historical past or all of your historical past.

  • On the “Location Settings” web page, you may also flip your location historical past on or off to your cellular units.

Delete your location historical past on Twitter

Twitter makes it comparatively easy to flip off its location tracking inside the Android app.

  • Faucet in your private icon within the higher left of the homescreen.
  • Faucet on “Settings and privateness.”
  • Faucet on “Privateness and security.”
  • Scroll down till you see “Location data” and faucet on it. You’ll be able to then toggle off the bins that give Twitter permission to acquire your GPS and different location data. And don’t overlook to faucet on “Discover settings,” which supplies Twitter the choice to present close by content material.

Scroll down until you see “Location information.”

Scroll down till you see “Location data.”

There are two location settings to toggle off.

There are two location settings to toggle off right here, and one to faucet on.

You’ll be able to delete your Twitter location historical past as nicely, however solely out of your browser.

  • Go to your Twitter account, click on on “Extra” within the left column and on “Settings and privateness.”
  • Within the left-hand menu, click on on “Privateness and security.” Scroll down and choose “Location data.”

  • Uncheck “Personalize based mostly on locations you’ve been.” Then click on on “Add location data to your Tweets.”

Uncheck “Add location data to your Tweets.” Then click on on “Delete all location data.” And if it asks: sure, you’re positive.

Replace August twenty fifth, 2020, 2:37PM ET: This text was initially revealed on April twelfth, 2019; it has been up to date to embrace the replace from Android 9 to Android 10, together with adjustments to numerous web-based purposes.

Replace November thirtieth, 2021, 3:55PM ET: Up to date to replicate adjustments within the Android working system and in Google, Fb, and Twitter apps.

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