April 1, 2020
disable google apps location tracking data

Google Still Tracks People’s Movements, Even when They Turn Location Data Off — Here’s How to Stop It

Turns out, Google still follows people around, even when they shut off the option, so here’s how to disable Google apps location tracking…

Android and iOS users are actively tracked by Google, even those who have manually opted out of location tracking. A new report by the Associated Press reveals the search giant still follows its app users around, even after they’ve disabled the tool:

“An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so. Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request.”

The report comes after a graduate researcher noticed her Android device keeping tabs on her movements in spite of the fact she turned Location Sharing off. One example was a prompt to rate a Kohl’s shopping trip. These only pop up when location sharing is enabled. Or, so consumers think.

Google Tracks Users’ Movements Even when Location Sharing is Turned Off

To corroborate the experience, the AP found another researchers who likewise reported his device following him around New York. This, although Google claims it’s clearly explained how and when it gathers users’ mobile data. However, this isn’t the entirely accurate. Turning off location history only stops some tracking but not all.

For instance, a Google support page states the following: “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”

It turns out, even with Location History disabled, some Google apps still collect user information, such as time-stamped location data without needing express permission.

How to Disable Google Apps Location Tracking on Android and iOS

One problem is device disparity. In other words, different manufacturers, skins, and the like place such settings in different locations, making them hard to find. Instead, the best course of action is to go straight to the source. Here’s how to disable the Google apps location tracking on Android and iOS:

  1. Open the Google app. 
  2. Select “Settings.”
  3. Go to “Data & Personalization.”
  4. Select “Activity Controls.”
  5. Toggle off “Web & App Activity” and “Location History.”
disable Google apps location tracking
Credit: Google

The option is set On by default. It’s isn’t known if turning it retroactively erases all previously collected data. Users can also go directly to  the Google My Activity dashboard to disable the features, as well.

Owen E. Richason IV

Covers social media, apps, search and like news. History buff, movie and theme park lover. Blessed dad and husband. Owen is also a musician and is the founder of Groove Modes.          

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