Google Tracks Your Location Even when 'Location History' is Off

Even if you don’t want Google to track your movements, and have used privacy settings to prevent the social media giant from doing so, it does exactly that and stores your location.

An investigation conducted by Associated Press determined that several Google services on iPhones and Android devices store your location data even though you have used privacy settings to prohibit it from doing so.

Computer-science researchers at Princeton University verified the findings at the behest of the news agency.

Google openly seeks permission to use your location information. Google Maps will ask you to access to location in case you use it for travelling from one point to the other. If you agree to access it to your location, it will show that history in a timeline that tracks your movements.

If you’re not comfortable with Google Maps accessing your location and tracking your movements, Google will allow you to pause your Location History or turn it off completely.

The company states that pausing or turning off the Location History bars it from tracking the movements of a Google Maps user, and the places they visit are not stored.

However, the fact is, even though the Location History is paused or turned off, some Google apps store time-stamped location data automatically, without even informing or asking the users.

When one simply opens Google Maps app, the company stores a snapshot of the place from which the user accessed the app. Daily weather notifications on Android devices show the locations where a person is. And some searches that have little to do with location such as “ice cream”, “stationery”, “phones”, display your exact longitude and latitude to the exact square foot and save it to your Google account.

You Can Turn Off Location Tracking with the Following Steps

To turn off Location History, that company says that a user needs to go to a setting called Web & App Activity that is set by default to share the users’ information including IP address, location, and many more.

To navigate to that setting, one needs to sign into their Google account on a browser of their iPhone, or personal computer, or via the Android settings menu.

The PC and iOS users accessing browsers need to click on the Google Apps (a nine-square logo) located at the upper right-hand corner of their screen and click on the Google Account.

After that click on the Personal Info & Privacy option and select ‘Go to My Activity’. You will find one ‘Activity Controls’ option in the fifth position in left-hand navigation click.

After you click on that, you will find a setting ‘Web & App Activity’ that you can toggle off. It will ask you then ‘Pause Web & App Activity?’ and you have to click on ‘Pause’ option. It will again confirm whether you indeed want to ‘Pause Web & App Activity?’ stating that it doing so “may limit or disable more personalized experiences across Google services”, you have to click on ‘Pause’ option.

Android users need to go to ‘Google Account’ from Google settings and then tap on ‘Data & personalization’, which will show ‘Web & App Activity’ option. You can toggle the ‘Web & App Activity’ slider off to pause the tracking. After tapping on off button, a similar message to the PC will appear and you have to tap on the ‘Pause’ option again.

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