Ever feel like you’re being watched? Well, the truth is that you probably are. While most conspiracy theories are quite far-fetched, Google can and does track your location info and online activity. For the most part, the data is used to make certain apps function better and to help target online advertising. But if you feel that there’s something slightly sinister about Google, Facebook, Apple and other companies knowing your every step and movement, there is a way to stop Google tracking.
Before you stop Google tracking
It may feel invasive, but there is a reason that Google tracks your location via your smartphone and computer – other than simply being nosy! Certain useful apps, such as maps and Uber require location tracking to be turned on in order to work. If you have an iPhone, you need to turn on tracking to use the Find My Phone function.
Many parents of teens and college students also appreciate the ability to track a phone’s location – simply for safety reasons. In fact, being able to locate a person via their phone has probably saved many lives.
Stop location tracking on Android
If you have an Android phone, you can turn location settings on and off for different apps. It’s advisable to keep them on for things like maps, Uber and weather – and anything else that you feel may not work without a location. Otherwise, turn them off.
• Open “Settings”.
• Tap “Advanced.”
• Choose “App permissions.”
• Select “Location.”
• There will be a list of apps that store your location info. Turn off the ones you don’t want to have access to your location.
Stop location tracking on iPhone
Apple may not be owned by Google, but your iPhone still stores a lot of location data. The nice thing about Apple is that you can select to provide location data never, always or only while using. Here’s how to stop app location info being provided via your iPhone:
• Open “Settings”.
• Tap “Privacy.
• Select “Location Services.”
• You can turn Location Services off for all apps, or…
• Tap each app and choose “Never” or “While Using”.
Remove Google tracking info stored on any device
Whether you have an Android phone or are using a computer with the Chrome browser (remember Chrome is also a Google asset), you can remove any tracking info that has been stored.
Make sure you’re logged into your Google account first, then:
• Visit myactivity.google.com and click “”Activity Controls” on the left-hand drop-down menu.
• Turn off “Web & App Activity” and “Location History” to stop Google from saving any more data.
• You can delete your activity history, but you have to do it manually.
• On myactivity.google.com you can view everything you have done when logged into your account, such as Google searches and map directions. If there are any previous activities you want to delete, click the three dots and then select “Delete”.