Google Location History Could Be Tracking Your Every Move

Using an Android or iOS device typically means that you have GPS tracking enabled, at least sometimes. In particular, GPS and Google Now on Android leads to people enabling Google Location History, which is used to make location recommendations, GPS routes for places you go to often, and even information on local news and events. On paper, this may not sound a lot: but privacy nuts likely already see where is going.

Accessing Your Location History

To find out what Google has collected on your travel habits, simply open your browser on your desktop and click this link. You’ll be presented with a Google Maps screen that shows everywhere you’ve been with your phone that was tracked by GPS at the time.

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Even zoomed out like this image is, you can see the two locations I’ve lived in in the past years. Zooming in closer exact places I’ve been to, including the amount of times I went to those places with my phone.

This location history data is so in depth and accurate that law enforcement agencies are actually pushing for them to be used as evidence. What does your alibi matter if your phone knew where you were all along?

Removing/Disabling Location History

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Clicking the settings button will offer you four options: pausing location history, purging location history, managing your recorded locations and downloading a copy of this information.

Pausing, deleting and downloading are all pretty self-explanatory. Note that deleting your information outright will essentially make part of Google Now start anew, and keeping it paused will interrupt your services.

So, maybe you want to delete individual locations. Unfortunately, personal places only records places like your home or your workplace (if you set those to begin with). It also shows a Visited tab that gives a history of places you’ve been, but nothing there can be individually-deleted.

A Google support page claims there’s a way to delete individual locations from your history, but if there is I have yet to find it.

What devices are tracked like this?

Finally, you may be wondering what devices are tracked by Google Location History. Android devices are most likely to have it enabled, but in truth PCs and iOS devices signed into your Google Account and properly configured will also record your location.

If you feel like Google knows too much about you, you’re going to want to disable location tracking. Just know what you’re giving up in return before you do.

Posted by Christopher on November 10, 2016

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