Skip to Content
Tech policy

How to get Google to stop tracking your location for real

August 13, 2018

You might think you have turned off the search giant’s ability to learn your location, but there’s a good chance the company still knows where you are.

Some background: An Associated Press report out today revealed that Google applications can still collect location data even when you have the “location history” feature turned off.

Stop it: If you want to rescind Google’s permission to monitor your phone’s location in any circumstances, you will need to turn off both “location history” and “web and app activity.” To do this, you can follow these steps:

     1.  Open “settings” on your Android device, or go to the Google Maps app on your iOS device and open “settings.”
     2.  Search for “location” under “data & personalization” on Android, and “location settings” on iOS.
     3.  Select to turn off location history for your account and/or your devices.
     4.  Visit the “activity controls” page for your Google account.
     5.  Switch “web and app activity” off. This will prevent information, including location data, from any devices from being saved to your account.

Turn it off or keep it on? Keeping location and data tracking on can enable more features in Google, included automated commuting estimates and more ads related to your area. But turning it off will help protect your privacy and keep more of your data for you, and you alone.

Deep Dive

Tech policy

How conservative Facebook groups are changing what books children read in school

Parents are gathering online to review books and lobby schools to ban them, often on the basis of sexual content.

Why can’t tech fix its gender problem?

A new generation of tech activists, organizers, and whistleblowers, most of whom are female, non-white, gender-diverse, or queer, may finally bring change.

How the idea of a “transgender contagion” went viral—and caused untold harm

A single paper on the notion that gender dysphoria can spread among young people helped galvanize an anti-trans movement.

The most popular content on Facebook belongs in the garbage

Meta’s own report into what gets the most clicks confirms what many of us know already: spammy memes win.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.