Location history – what is it and how can you use this tool…


Location history is that feature on your Android phone which keeps track of all the places you visited throughout the day, every day. Since you carry your phone at all times, the tool can provide a very good preview of your daily whereabouts.

Location history can be enabled from the Maps app, which is the standard navigation app by Google. From there, users can have access to a nifty Timeline feature that lets you browse the place you’ve visited, and shows you the routes traveled either by foot or driving.

Here’s how you access location history in Maps

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your Android device
  2. Tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner
  3. Click on Your timeline
  4. Tap the calendar icon to view a particular day
  5. Tap on the date to view your location history. Complete with the time between which you were moving from one place to another.

Even though this feature can be quite useful, you can’t deny it’s kind of creepy. Google is watching every single step, but if you feel uncomfortable there’s the option to disable location tracking.

How to disable location tracking

  1. In the Google Maps app tap the hamburger menu in the top left corner again
  2. Tap Settings (at the bottom)
  3. Tap Personal content
  4. Find Location History and tap on it
  5. Click on the toggle next to your device to disable location tracking for your device

Or

  1. There’s the option to Pause location tracking by toggling off the Use Location History option at the top.

However, a recent report reveals that the Location History toggle won’t actually stop Google from tracking you, as the search giant will continue to do so through other means.

If you really want to prevent Google to from tracking your Maps data and browsing searches for locations, you actually need to go disable the Web and App Activity option.

Here’s how to do it:

  1. Go to your phone’s Setting menu
  2. Tap on your Google Account under Google
  3. Tap on Data & Personalization
  4. The first option you should see under Activity Controls is Web & App Activity
  5. Toggle the option off
  6. You’ll be asked whether to Pause Location History. Press Pause.

Well what if you want to get rid of all the data good old Google has gathered on you? You can do so by following the steps outlined below.

  1. Open Google Maps on your phone again
  2. Tap the three-line menu in the top left corner
  3. Go to Settings> Personal Content
  4. Scroll down until you find the option to Delete all Location History
  5. Tap on it. You’ll be asked whether you really want to do that.
  6. Tap “I understand and want to delete” and then tap the Delete button
  7. You can selectively delete a range of your Location History by using the Delete Location History range option.

While turning the location setting on your phone off entirely is a good start if you want to keep your whereabouts private, keep in mind that other apps might also be tracking your location. Moreover, most Wi-Fi networks contain location markers, which makes it even harder to escape being tracked today.

Swiftype News

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