Google still tracks you even if you have disabled “location history.” That’s according to a bombshell report that was published by the Associated Press on August 13. The AP report says that Google still uses location tracking to aid their search returns and advertising. Typically, users were under the impression that after they turned off their “location history” in the Maps app, Google would stop recording their location. A disclaimer does warn, “Some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.” Google was still recording your location through search.
The Google Account help page says that, “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored. When you turn off Location History for your Google Account, it’s off for all devices associated with that Google Account.” The AP report says that’s simply not true.
In order to prevent Google from tracking you, users need to turn off a setting named “Web & App Activity.”
For iOS Users:
Click here to go to your Google activity controls. You will need to sign into your Google account to make the changes. Turn the Web & App Activity option off. Beneath that option, you will then see Location History, turn that off too. On that Activity Controls page, users can also delete their recorded activity. To delete your location history, users need to go to Google Maps timeline and click on the garbage can icon.
For Android Users:
Android users need to go to Settings, then to Google, then Google Account. Go to Data and Personalization and then to Web & App Activity. Turn Web & Activity off.
Then go back to Data and Personalization where you need to go to Location History and turn it off. If you have multiple devices tied to your Google account, you need to turn off the history for each individual device.
To Do it Through Web Browser:
While logged into your Google account, go to Google.com and click on your profile photo in the top right-hand corner and then on to the Google Account button. Go to Personal Info & Privacy, then on to My Activity. From there, click on Activity Controls and turn Web & App Activity off.
The Associated Press reports that around 2 billion people use Google’s services on their phones, and in effect, have their locations tracked.