Android 101: How to stop location tracking

Location monitoring may be very useful — 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 comfy figuring out that Mark Zuckerberg’s minions know the place you’re always? (Nicely, not that Mark Zuckerberg has minions, however you already know what I imply.)

On this article, we’ll check out methods to cease location monitoring in your Android cellphone (and your Google account) and methods to delete your location historical past out of your OS and from among the extra fashionable apps. As at all times, be aware that variations of Android can differ, and lots of producers use overlays as effectively, which might change the places of varied instructions — however they need to be comparable sufficient for you to have the ability to discover your means. 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.

Cease Google from monitoring you, interval.

You most likely know that Google can monitor your location and actions via its Google Maps app. However you could not notice that your Android cellphone is also tracking your movements and activities via a number of different built-in apps.

In the event you actually don’t need your cellphone to be monitoring any of your actions and actions, there’s a option to flip monitoring off for all (effectively, most) of them. You simply have to be conscious that you just’re most likely going to render a lot of your apps (reminiscent of ride-share apps, climate apps, and, after all, mapping apps) much less usable — or in some instances, fully unusable.

Cease Google monitoring utilizing a browser

First, we’re going to cease Google from saving your information.

  • Go to https://myactivity.google.com/.
  • Underneath “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.
Underneath “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 means, 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 monitoring.
  • “Internet & App Exercise” covers something you’ve executed on Google apps and providers. You’ll be able to flip monitoring off fully, or select to maintain it on however cease it from saving your historical past or exercise if you use your Chrome browser. It’s also possible to flip off “Embody audio recordings,” which determines if all of your audio interactions with Google and / or Google Assistant are saved.
  • The opposite related class is, after all, “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 best; you’ll get a listing of all of the gadgets that you’ve which can be at the moment following your location — since which will embrace previous telephones that you’re now not utilizing, it is a good factor to verify.
  • We would as effectively point out that 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 decide on which advertisements you’ll see.

Okay — you’ve now prevented any extra information from being gathered. However you could need to delete all or among the info 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 allows you to delete your exercise primarily based 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 helps you to delete your exercise primarily based on time interval.
  • In the event you select “Customized vary,” you’ll have the ability to select a date vary. In the event you select “All time,” you may then filter that information relying on providers (reminiscent of advertisements, Chrome, Google Play Retailer, and many others.). Once you’re prepared, click on on “Subsequent.”
you can then filter that info depending on services
You’ll be able to filter your information relying on providers.
  • You’ll then get a preview of among the actions that can be deleted. In the event 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 wish 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 the event 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 in case 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 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.

Cease Google monitoring on an Android system

  • Go to Settings. Within the search field on prime, sort in “Exercise controls” and faucet it when it comes up.
  • If 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 varied 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 similar 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 possibility in your cell system.

Flip location monitoring on and off from the Fast Settings tray

If you would like to have the ability to flip location monitoring on or off as you want it, you are able to do that, too. One option to prepare that is to make use of the Fast Settings tray (which is what you see if you swipe down from the highest of your display screen). The tray holds a wide range of icons for essentially the most often-used Android options; there’s a “Location” icon that allows you to toggle the situation characteristic on and off.

  • Swipe down from the highest of the display screen. In the event you’re utilizing Android 12, you’ll see a collection of bubbles for issues like Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, flashlight, and many others. In the event you’re utilizing Android 11 or earlier, will probably be a line of icons. Both means, that’s your Fast Settings tray. Search for the Location icon (often, 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, will probably be on the underside of the tray, however some Android interfaces may have it on prime. Faucet on the pencil, and the menu will open additional. Now you can see all of the icons which can be out there. What you need to do is be 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 as much as the seen group.

You’ll now have the ability to rapidly swipe down from the highest of your display screen and toggle Location on and off — for instance, if you wish 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.

Cease location monitoring on Android gadgets

In the event you don’t really feel the necessity to block Google from recording all of your actions, and easily need to cease the cellphone from recording your location, it’s straightforward to do — so long as you take note of the main points:

  • Swipe down from the highest of the display screen 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 prime and toggle it off.

You’d assume that may be it, wouldn’t you? However you’d be unsuitable. What is supposed by “Use location” in Android depends upon which sensors are following the situation of the system: apart from GPS, it could possibly be Wi-Fi, cell networks, or different sensors. So earlier than you permit this web page, look slightly additional down. In the event you’re utilizing Android 12, search for the “Location providers” button, in any other case, search for the “Superior” button and faucet on that.

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

  • Google Emergency Location Service. This tells emergency providers the place you’re if there’s an issue; for instance, in case your automotive goes off the street and the ambulance wants to search out you. You’ll be able to flip this off in order for you, however learn the high quality print: “If ELS is off, your cell provider should ship system location throughout an emergency name.”
  • Google Location Accuracy. This makes use of Wi-Fi and different providers to assist pinpoint your location. If you wish to flip off “Use location,” that you must be certain that is turned off as effectively. 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 do away with what’s already been saved; there are directions for that slightly later on this article.
  • Google Location Sharing. In the event 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 gadgets even when Bluetooth is off. Each this and the Wi-Fi scanning are supposed to enhance location options.

In the event 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 providers” to see extra choices.

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

Disable location monitoring for any particular app

You could find out which apps really use location monitoring 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, in case you’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 alter the permission to both enable the entire time, enable solely whereas in use, ask each time, or deny. It’s also possible to determine whether or not the app can be allowed to make use of “exact location” — in different phrases, use greater than GPS to find out 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 regularly attempt to get you to revive that permission. It’s irritating, however except the app helps you to say, “No, depart me alone,” you’ll both need to dwell with it or get a unique app.

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

When you click on a specific app, you can change its permission level.
Once you click on on a selected app, you may change its permission stage.

Delete your location historical past

When you can flip off location monitoring out of your Android cellphone’s settings, as soon as a service has collected your location information, eliminating that historical past takes slightly work. If you wish to delete your location historical past, the primary place that you must go is Google; after that, apps that gather this info 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 can too do away with 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 all the way 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 total location historical past or simply inside a variety of dates.

Google will always give you a last chance to back out.
Google will at all times 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 traces within the higher left nook of the facet panel. (In the event 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 facet of the display screen. Click on on it, after which on “Delete all Location Historical past.” It’s also possible to 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 cell 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 substantiate the historical past deletion.

Delete your location historical past on Fb

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

Utilizing the Android app

  • Within the Fb app, faucet the hamburger (three parallel traces) within the prime 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 Providers” 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 wish to enable Fb to avoid wasting a historical past of your places (or cease it from doing so), faucet on “Location Historical past” to toggle it on or off. It’s right here that 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 Providers helps you to select when Fb can obtain your location information.

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 helps you to view your historical past, delete it, and cease recording it.
  • Then click on on the gear within the higher left nook. As with the cell app, now you can both delete that particular day or delete your total 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 can too flip your location historical past on or off to your cell gadgets.

Delete your location historical past on Twitter

Twitter makes it comparatively easy to show off its location monitoring 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 info” and faucet on it. You’ll be able to then toggle off the packing containers that give Twitter permission to gather your GPS and different location info. And don’t overlook to faucet on “Discover settings,” which supplies Twitter the choice to point out close by content material.
Scroll down until you see “Location information.”
Scroll down till you see “Location info.”

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 effectively, 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 info.”
  • Uncheck “Personalize primarily based on locations you’ve been.” Then click on on “Add location info to your Tweets.”

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

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

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

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