How to really turn off Google's location tracking

How to really turn off Google's location tracking
Although pausing "Location History" tracking on your Google account may lead you to believe that you're stopping Google from collecting time-stamped location data for your devices, this is not actually the case. In light of the Associated Press revelations that Google pings your whereabouts even if you have turned off location tracking, it's important to know how to turn off Google's "scanning" practices once and for all.

Have you noticed that, even though you told Google "no tracking" when setting up your phone, or disabled it in settings, you still get your apartment block down in Chrome, "based on your IP address," or some such surprise?

Well, that's because switching off Location History toggles, say, showing a trail of your movements in the Maps timeline, but you need to do more to eradicate those unsavory tracking practices. Here's what you need to do:

1. Go to your Google account settings on the desktop by pressing the shortcut in the top right corner of, say, a new Chrome tab;

2. From there, click on the "Your Personal info" link;


3. On the left-hand side, under the Personal info&privacy category, click on the Manage your Google activity option, then on the "Go to Activity Controls" link;


4. The "Location History" option here is probably already paused if you are reading this, but you need to pause the "Web & App Activity" one, too, to get rid of Google's whereabouts tracking, and that's that.

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8 Comments

1. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I don't get what the big deal is to be honest, my whereabouts is not a national secret, I'm at work, home or the store. But it's nice to get info relevant to my location on the phone while I'm out... I thought that was sort of the whole point of owning a smartphone, was to have it work for you by having the information necessary to present it when you need it.

3. worldpeace

Posts: 3127; Member since: Apr 15, 2016

IKR, it's not like google will testify about your fake alibi when you get in the court, or tell your wife that you're not in place that you tell her. They need to get collect anonymous big data to make useful stuff like peak hour of restaurants, resort places, or other places, and give you information about traffic in certain areas, without those data, it will be impossible for Google to provide accurate forecast without those data. I doubt they'll profiling your detailed locations without tour consent, it's illegal, they'll get sued to dead if they did that.

4. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

Very good examples, but you're wrong about one thing, they did testify against me in court last year when my wife caught me cheating on my diet and I was at the local Rib joint when I was supposed to be at the gym! they truly are evil... SMH, lol.

5. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

How about battery life? If you think that doesn't affect it - you are wrong.

7. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

I'm sure any feature on a mobile device impacts battery life to some degree, but I have a Pixel 2 running Android Pie and I'm not a heavy user, so this last Saturday when I had a very kick back day, I have 80%+ after 16 hours of usage, with a projected 20 more hours as stated by the battery monitor. For me with my current device, it's a non issue, though towards the end of the life of my Nexus 6P, yeah, I would have done anything to prolong the battery, but that was due to a defective battery and I think for most phones, the actual usefulness of the information you get from location tracking is well worth the minimal power used to ping cell towers every so often.

2. Whitedot

Posts: 771; Member since: Sep 26, 2017

Didn't they really try to bury it deep down so you never find it at the first glance?!

6. BGChicago

Posts: 224; Member since: Nov 16, 2014

The short answer is - you can't. The only real and permanent solution is to install custom ROM without Google services. Location and activity tracking is baked into any Android Google apps build and it's main reason the OS is free (very expensive after all). Too bad great OS like MeeGo/Maemo, BB10, WebOS lost traction due to the "it's free, trust me" approach that brainwashed so many people. Even MS moved to this model with Windows 10 and that basically leave us with no choices practically. Wonder if one of these tech Giants comes up with a "OS Premium Upgrade" which removed all sort of tracking/gives pure control for a fee. I would gladly pay $50 per phone to unlock that feature.

8. Scott93274

Posts: 6032; Member since: Aug 06, 2013

And yet the real world impact on the end user is zero... unless you commit a crime and your phone data places you at the scene, but that can be done on ANY phone, even those predating smartphones. That's the price you pay for the convenience of owning a mobile device.

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