How to stop location tracking on your Android phone (mostly)

Location tracking may be very helpful — it’s handy when an app can let you know, say, the place the close by eating places or fuel stations are — however it’s additionally a privateness difficulty (one thing that a minimum of one in all Google’s opponents has utilized in its gross sales pitch).

You most likely know that Google can monitor your location and actions by way of its Google Maps app. But chances are you’ll not understand that your Android phone can also be tracking your actions and actions by way of a number of different built-in apps.

If you actually don’t need your phone to be tracking any of your actions and actions, there’s a method to flip tracking off for all (properly, most) of them. You simply want to bear in mind that you just’re most likely going to render a lot of your apps (reminiscent of rideshare apps, climate apps, and, in fact, mapping apps) much less usable — or in some instances, fully unusable.

In this text, I’ll check out how to stop location tracking and the way to delete your location historical past. I’ll give instructions for a desktop (on this case, utilizing Google’s Chrome browser) and an Android phone. As all the time, word that variations of Android can differ. For these directions, I’ve used a Pixel 6 phone working Android 14 and a Samsung Galaxy S23 working Android 14 and One UI 6.0.

Stop Google tracking utilizing a browser

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

  • Go to https://myactivity.google.com/. (This is simpler on a desktop.)
  • Under My Google Activity you’ll see the buttons for 3 forms of exercise: Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History. You can go to every individually by choosing the suitable button.

Under “My Google Activity” you’ll see the buttons for 3 forms of exercise: Web & App Activity, Location History, and YouTube History.

  • A extra environment friendly method, although, could also be to go to Activity 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 exercise controls allow you to flip off tracking.

  • Web & App Activity covers something you’ve finished on Google apps and providers. You can flip tracking off fully or select to maintain it on, however stop it from saving your historical past or exercise while you use your Chrome browser. You may flip off Include voice and audio exercise, which determines if all your audio interactions with Google and / or Google Assistant are saved.
  • The different related class is, in fact, Location History, which saves details about the place you’ve gone with your system. Also, search for Devices on this account and click on the down icon to the correct; you’ll get an inventory of all of the units that you’ve got which might be presently following your location — since which will embrace outdated telephones that you’re not utilizing, this can be a good factor to test.
  • We would possibly as properly point out that you could additionally disable your YouTube History, which incorporates each your search and watch historical past, and Personalized Ads, which makes use of your historical past to select which adverts you’ll see.

Okay, you’ve now prevented any extra knowledge from being gathered. But you might have considered trying to delete all or among the info that’s already been collected.

  • Go again to the My Google Activity web page and click on on Delete exercise by within the left-hand menu.
  • You’ll get a pop-up window that allows you to delete your exercise based mostly on time interval: Last hour, Last day, All time (in different phrases, all dates), or Custom vary for a particular date vary.

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

  • If you select Custom vary, you’ll have the option to select a date vary. If you select All time, you may then filter that information relying on providers (reminiscent of adverts, Chrome, Google Play Store, and so forth.). When you’re prepared, click on on Next.

You can filter your exercise in accordance to providers.

  • You’ll then get a preview of among the actions that shall be deleted. If you’re okay with that, choose Delete.

The final step earlier than you delete your exercise.

Incidentally, if you need to ensure that no person however you may delete your histories, then choose the Manage all Web & App Activity hyperlink underneath Activity Controls, and search for Manage My Activity verification. If you allow that characteristic, Google will ask for a password any time you need to take a look at or delete any historical past in your account.

And should you 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 Activity Controls web page). You’ll have the choice to robotically delete your exercise after both three, 18, or 36 months.

You can auto-delete your location historical past.

Stop Google tracking on an Android system

  • On both a Google Pixel or a Samsung Galaxy, go to Settings. In the search field on high, sort in Activity controls and faucet it when it comes up.
  • If you’re utilizing a Galaxy, chances are you’ll end up on the More privateness settings web page. Look for Activity controls and faucet it. From right here on, the instructions are the identical for each telephones.
  • If you could have a couple of Google account, choose the one you need to handle.
  • Here, as with the browser model, you may flip off or pause the monitoring of varied actions, together with setting auto-delete and managing a timeline of your exercise.

Android’s Activity Controls are very comparable to these on the online.

You can choose an auto-delete possibility on your cell system.

Turn location tracking on and off from Quick Settings

If you need to have the option to flip location tracking on or off as you want it, you are able to do that, too. One method to prepare that is to use the Quick Settings (which is what you see while you swipe down from the highest of your display screen). The tray (should you’re utilizing a Pixel) or panel (should you’re utilizing a Galaxy) holds quite a lot of icons for essentially the most often-used Android options. In this case, we’re most focused on a Location icon that allows you to toggle the location characteristic on and off.

  • Swipe down twice from the highest of the display screen. You’ll see a collection of buttons for issues like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, flashlight, and so forth. Look for the Location button.
  • Not there? Swipe throughout to see extra buttons to ensure that it isn’t there.
  • Still lacking? Look for a pencil icon; on a Pixel, will probably be on the underside of the display screen, the Samsung could have it on high. Tap on the pencil.
  • If you’re utilizing a Pixel, the menu will open additional. You can now see all of the icons which might be accessible. What you need to do is ensure that the Location icon is within the simply seen a part of the tray. Look for your Location icon within the backside part, then maintain and drag it up to the seen group.
  • If you’re utilizing a Galaxy, faucet Edit underneath both the Top or Full representatives of a phone (I’d select Full, since that provides you extra space to place your icon). At the underside of the display screen, you’ll see Available buttons. Tap the Location button so as to deliver it to the highest. Tap and maintain it to transfer it to the place you need it to be in.

You’ll now have the option to rapidly swipe down from the highest of your display screen 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 while you’re completed.

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

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

  • Swipe down from the highest of the display screen so that you just see your Quick 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. If you’re utilizing a Pixel, toggle off the Use location characteristic on the high. If you’re utilizing a Galaxy, toggle the characteristic from On to Off.

You’d suppose that will be it, wouldn’t you? But you’d be improper. What is supposed by Use location in Android relies upon on which sensors are following the location of the system: moreover GPS, it could possibly be Wi-Fi, cell networks, or different sensors. So earlier than you allow this web page, look a bit of additional down for the Location providers button and faucet on that.

You’ll have a number of classes that you could toggle on or off. These may be (relying on your Android model and your phone’s producer):

  • Earthquake alerts. ‘nuff stated.
  • Emergency Location Service. This tells emergency providers the place you might be if there’s an issue; for instance, if your automobile goes off the street and the ambulance wants to discover you. You can flip this off if you need, however learn the tremendous print: “If Emergency Location Service is off, your cell provider should still ship your system’s location throughout an emergency name.”
  • Google Location Accuracy. This makes use of Wi-Fi and different providers to assist pinpoint your location. If you need to flip off Use location, you want to ensure that that is turned off as properly. Any app that requires “exact location” (which I’ll clarify in a bit) wants this to be turned on.
  • Google Location History. This leads you to the Activity controls web page, however only for your location historical past (once more, if in case you have a couple of Google account, you’ll be requested to select which one you need to pause). Tap the button labeled Turn off, and you’ve got the selection of both simply turning off location historical past or turning it off and deleting your present historical past.
  • Google Location Sharing. If you’re sharing your location with members of the family or mates, you may handle it right here.
  • Wi-Fi scanning. This lets apps and providers scan for native Wi-Fi networks, even if in case you have Wi-Fi turned off.
  • Bluetooth scanning. This lets apps and providers seek for Bluetooth units even when Bluetooth is off. Both this and the Wi-Fi scanning are meant to enhance location options.

On your Location web page, choose “Location providers” to see extra choices.

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

Disable location tracking for a particular app on your phone

You can discover out which apps truly use location tracking and simply disable it for people who you are feeling don’t want it.

  • Go to the Location web page (by long-pressing the Location icon in your Quick Settings tray).
  • Tap on App location permissions (for a Pixel) or App permissions (for a Galaxy).
  • You’ll discover right here an inventory of all your present apps which have permission to entry your location both all the time or solely whereas in use. Tap on any to change the permission. The listing could differ, however for essentially the most half, they’ll embrace enable all the time, enable solely whereas utilizing the app, ask each time, or don’t enable. You may resolve whether or not the app shall be allowed to Use exact location — in different phrases, use greater than GPS to decide the place you might be.

Sometimes while you flip off permissions within the settings, the app itself will frequently attempt to get you to restore that permission. It’s irritating, however until the app helps you to say, “No, depart me alone,” you’ll both have to dwell with it or get a distinct app.

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

When you click on on a particular app, you may change its permission stage.

Delete your location historical past utilizing Google Maps

While you may delete location historical past collected for your Google timeline within the My Activity space (see above), you may as well eliminate it simply in Google Maps.

Using your Android phone

  • Go to your Google Maps app.
  • Tap on your profile icon within the higher proper nook.
  • Tap on your Timeline.
  • Select the three dots within the higher proper nook. Tap on Settings and Privacy.
  • Scroll down to Delete all Location History. You’ll get a pop-up window that asks you to test a field saying that you just perceive that a few of your apps could not work correctly. Check 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 robotically delete your location historical past after three, 18, or 36 months.

You can delete your complete location historical past or simply inside a spread of dates.

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

On a browser

  • Go to https://www.google.com/maps.
  • Tap on the three parallel strains within the higher left nook of the aspect panel. (If you don’t see the panel, search for the small arrow within the higher left nook and click on on it.) Select Your Timeline.
  • Look for the gear icon on the decrease proper aspect of the display screen. Click on it, after which on Delete all Location History. You may set the automated deletion characteristic right here.

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

  • As with the cell app, you’ll get a pop-up window that asks you to test a field saying that you just perceive that a few of your apps could not work correctly. Check the field and choose Delete Location History.

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

Update January thirtieth, 2024 1:52PM ET: This article was initially revealed on April twelfth, 2019; it has been up to date to embrace instructions for Android 14 and instructions for the Facebook and Twitter apps have been eliminated.

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