Even if you have “Location History” turned off, Google often remembers your precise location.
Here’s how to get rid of those markers and some best practices that keep your location as private as possible.
But there is no panacea, because simply connecting to the internet on any device signals an IP address that can be mapped geographically.
Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier always knows your general location.
To disable tracking on any device
Launch your browser and go to myactivity.google.com. You will need to be logged into Google.
In the drop-down menu at the top left, go to “Activity Controls”. Turn off both “Web & App Activity” and “Location History”.
This should prevent precise location markers from being stored in your Google account.
Google will warn you that some of its services won’t work as well with these settings turned off.
In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.
If you use Google Maps, set your location setting to “While using” the app. This will prevent the app from accessing your location when it is not active.
Go to Settings Privacy Location Services and from there select Google Maps to make the adjustment.
In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google.
Under Safari Search Engine Settings, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo.
You can disable the location while browsing by going to Settings Privacy Location Services Safari Websites and set it to “Never”.
However, this will not prevent advertisers from knowing your approximate location based on your IP address on any website.
You can also almost completely disable Location Services on your device from Location Services Privacy Settings.
Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will continue to work, but they won’t know where you are on the map and they won’t be able to give you directions.
Rescuers will still be able to find you in case of need.
Under the main settings icon, click “Security & Location”. Scroll down to “Privacy”. Tap “Location”. You can turn it off for the entire device.
Use “App-level permissions” to disable access to various apps.
Unlike the iPhone, there are no settings for “While in use”.
You can’t turn off Google Play services, which provide your location to other apps if you leave that service on.
Log in as a “guest” on your Android device by swiping down from the top and tapping the downward-facing slider, then back to the bust icon.
Keep in mind which services you access, such as Chrome. You can also switch search engines in Chrome as well.
To eliminate past position detection on any device
On the page myactivity.google.comlook for any entry that has a placeholder icon next to the word “details”.
Clicking on it opens a window that includes a link that sometimes says “From your current location”.
Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will show you where you were at that moment.
You can remove it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the three overlapping dots and then “Delete”.
Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names, google.com, search, or maps.
You have to delete them item by item. You can bulk delete all items in date ranges or by service, but you’ll end up deleting more than just location indicators.