How to make sure you don’t accidentally share your location

1 year ago

your devices and Apps really, really want to know where you are so they can tell you the weather, recommend restaurants you might like, or better target ads for you. Managing what you share and what you don’t share, and when, can get confusing quickly.

It is also possible that you have inconsistencies in the various location histories recorded by your devices: moments when you thought you turned off and blocked location sharing, but you are still being tracked, or vice versa.

Here, we’ll cover everything you need to consider when it comes to location tracking, and hopefully simplify it along the way. Whether you want to share your current location or not, you need to be in control of these settings and not be caught off guard by additional options that you missed.

How location tracking gets confusing

You can turn off Google’s location history, but that’s just the beginning.

What happens if you clearly remember that you turned off location tracking on your device, but your location is still showing on the map? Or maybe you thought you left this feature enabled but see gaps in your location history? There are a few explanations, but basically what you need to remember is all the different ways your location is registered: by your devices, by your apps, and by the websites you visit.

For example, you might have turned off location tracking on your phone, but left it on on your tablet. Alternatively, you might have a laptop that keeps track of where you are in the background, even if you thought you disabled the feature in the apps you use. Whether you want location tracking fully enabled or disabled, you need to consider all of these different ways to keep track of where you are.

If you have a Google account, this is a good illustration. Head to your account settings online, then select Data and privacy And Location history. Choose Devices in this accountwhich can reveal some phones, tablets and laptops that you forgot about. Any device that has a checkmark next to it in this list saves your activities to your Google account for future reference.

you can click turn off to disable this, but note the caveats listed in the confirmation window that appears on the screen: your location may still be registered by your mobile devices, Find My Device which helps you recover lost hardware, and Google Maps when you re-navigate or search in the area where you are. This Location History setting is more of a general toggle switch that affects features like the Google timeline and the ability to quickly find places you visit regularly.

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