Android 101: How to stop location tracking
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Android 101: How to stop location tracking

Location tracking might be very helpful — it’s handy when an app can inform you, say, the place the close by eating places or gasoline stations are — however it’s also a privacy issue. Would you like all of your wanderings registered by Google? Are you snug understanding that Mark Zuckerberg’s minions know the place you might be always? (Properly, not that Mark Zuckerberg has minions, however you understand what I imply.)

On this article, we’ll check out how to stop location tracking in your Android cellphone (and your Google account) and the way to delete your location historical past out of your OS and from a few of the extra fashionable apps. As all the time, be aware that variations of Android can differ, and lots of producers use overlays as nicely, which might change the areas of varied instructions — however they need to be comparable sufficient for you to have the ability to discover your approach. For these directions, I’ve used a Pixel 6 cellphone operating Android 12, however I’ve included some instructions for these with earlier variations of Android.

You most likely know that Google can observe your location and actions by way of its Google Maps app. However it’s possible you’ll not understand that your Android cellphone is also tracking your movements and activities by way of a number of different built-in apps.

In case you actually don’t need your cellphone to be tracking any of your actions and actions, there’s a approach to flip tracking off for all (nicely, most) of them. You simply want to remember that you just’re most likely going to render a lot of your apps (equivalent to ride-share apps, climate apps, and, in fact, mapping apps) much less usable — or in some circumstances, fully unusable.

First, we’re going to stop Google from saving your knowledge.

Okay — you’ve now prevented any extra knowledge from being gathered. However it’s your decision to delete all or a few of the data that’s already been collected.

By the way, if you’d like to be sure that no person however you may delete your histories, then choose the “Handle exercise” hyperlink underneath every class in Exercise Controls, and search for “Handle My Exercise verification.” In case you allow that function, Google will ask for a password any time you need to take a look at or delete any historical past in your account.

And when you don’t need to fear about manually deleting your stuff, you may allow auto-delete in every class (you’ll see the choice inside every class on the Exercise Controls web page). You’ll have the choice to robotically delete your exercise after both three, 18, or 36 months.

If you would like to have the ability to flip location tracking on or off as you want it, you are able to do that, too. A method to prepare that is to use the Fast Settings tray (which is what you see once you swipe down from the highest of your display). The tray holds a wide range of icons for probably the most often-used Android options; there’s a “Location” icon that permits you to toggle the location function on and off.

You’ll now have the ability to rapidly swipe down from the highest of your display and toggle Location on and off — for instance, if you’d like to use Google Maps for instructions, you may toggle Location on, after which flip it again off once you’re completed.

In case you don’t really feel the necessity to block Google from recording all of your actions, and easily need to stop the cellphone from recording your location, it’s simple to do — so long as you listen to the main points:

You’d suppose that may be it, wouldn’t you? However you’d be mistaken. What is supposed by “Use location” in Android depends upon which sensors are following the location of the gadget: apart from GPS, it may very well be Wi-Fi, cellular networks, or different sensors. So earlier than you permit this web page, look just a little additional down. In case you’re utilizing Android 12, search for the “Location providers” button, in any other case, search for the “Superior” button and faucet on that.

Both approach, you’ll have a number of classes that you would be able to toggle on or off. These might be (relying in your Android model and your cellphone’s producer):

In case you can’t see these final two, return to the Location web page and search for a “Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning” hyperlink.

You will discover out which apps really use location tracking and simply disable it for people who you’re feeling don’t want it.

Typically once you flip off permissions within the Android Settings, the app itself will frequently strive to get you to restore that permission. It’s irritating, however until the app allows you to say, “No, depart me alone,” you’ll both have to stay with it or get a unique app.

When you can flip off location tracking out of your Android cellphone’s settings, as soon as a service has collected your location information, eliminating that historical past takes just a little work. If you would like to delete your location historical past, the primary place you want to go is Google; after that, apps that accumulate this data embrace Fb and Twitter.

When you can delete location historical past collected to your Google timeline within the My Exercise space (see above), you can even do away with it simply in Google Maps.

Fb does preserve a separate historical past of your areas, and if you’d like to delete that historical past, you are able to do it by way of the cellular app or the browser.

Twitter makes it comparatively easy to flip off its location tracking inside the Android app.

You may delete your Twitter location historical past as nicely, however solely out of your browser.

Uncheck “Add location data to your Tweets.” Then click on on “Delete all location data.” And if it asks: sure, you might be certain.

Replace August twenty fifth, 2020, 2:37PM ET: This text was initially revealed on April twelfth, 2019; it has been up to date to embrace the replace from Android 9 to Android 10, together with modifications to varied web-based functions.

Replace November thirtieth, 2021, 3:55PM ET: Up to date to mirror modifications within the Android working system and in Google, Fb, and Twitter apps.

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