May 28, 2019
EMAIL AND TECHNOLOGY
How To Turn Off Android Location Tracking
As our digital devices increasingly power all aspects of our life — from our work to our personal communications and everything in between — there’s rarely a moment where most of us are without such products in our hands, or at least our pockets. However, that reliance has come with a price, as many of these devices are constantly tracking our whereabouts, information that puts our privacy and security at risk.
If you have an Android device, you likely use it for taking photos, ride sharing, sending messages, browsing the web, navigation and much more — but with each of these activities, the device shares your geotagged location with Google. Turning off the location for Android devices involves a few simple steps that, while they may take a bit of time, can ultimately keep you and your privacy protected.
Many people think that disabling the location history alone will stop your location from being tracked but that unfortunately is not the case; instead, turning this option off simply stops your phone from displaying all the places you’ve been on a visual map, but doesn’t actually have any impact on the collection of that data. Actually, turning off the location for Android devices involves first opening the Settings tab and clicking Security. Follow the prompt for Privacy and then Location, toggling off the Use Location option. From there, click on Advanced and Location Services to turn off tracking for options like emergency location and location sharing.
You may also want to consider turning location tracking off by individual apps. Under the Apps tab in the Settings box, explore App Permissions to see which apps use location tracking; by clicking on each, you can disable the feature.
To take this a step further, you can also fully block Google from recording your activities, apart from just turning off the location for Android devices. On your device, click the Settings button and open the Accounts tab. From there, click on Google and follow the prompts to manage data and personalization. Under Activity Controls, you can toggle off each of the monitoring options for activities like web browsing, audio usage, YouTube searches and more. While that will prevent future tracking, you also should consider the data that has already been collected: Under the Manage Your Activity Controls tab, review saved data by clicking on My Activity and, from there, manually delete all of the files saved. All of these actions can also be taken on a web browser by visiting
https://myactivity.google.com/ while logged into your Google account.
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