Google Maps is handy to have around, especially when traveling, but did you know that the company is using the app to track and store every location you've ever visited with your phone?
It should not come as a surprise that Google is using its location services to track its users. After all, the company already knows your age, your interests and how many times you've searched for particular topics online.
If you run Google Maps on your smartphone, you can actually see this tracking in progress on Google's location tracking website, which shows everywhere you and your phone have been. The information is even broken down by date, showing an extremely detailed record of all your movements.
In the image below, you can see detailed information from an October 2013 trip to Seattle. As you can see, information isn't broken down just by date, but also by time.
This tracking was originally reported by TechCrunch in 2013, but many Google Maps users are still unaware that this location data is reported with such eerie detail.
Some users are probably fine with every hour of their day being followed, and may even like to revisit their travel history, but many users might prefer more privacy. For those, there is a way to delete this information:
- View your Google Maps location history.
- Set a time period to view.
- Click "Delete history from this time period" on the left side of the page.
To prevent future information from being collected, you can turn location tracking off on your Android phone:
- On your phone, go to "Settings."
- Tap on "Location."
- Tap on "Google Location Reporting."
- Turn "Location History" to "off."
You can also turn off location tracking on iOS devices:
- Open "Settings."
- Go to "Privacy" and then choose "Location Services."
- Disable all location services by setting the top slider to "off."
If you want an even greater level of privacy, you can also completely turn off "Location reporting," but this will prevent Google Maps from working correctly.