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How to stop Google to track you

Wherever you go, goes Google. Specifically, Google Maps logs every step you take (and your smartphone) and archives those activities into your Google Timeline. It may seem like a walk through the past, but it can also leave the door to your privacy wide open.

Timeline lets Google Maps show you where you were and where you were. There may even be photographic evidence, because Timeline is syncing with all the shots uploaded in Google Photos. You can also share your location on iOS and Android in real time.

If you prefer to keep your whereabouts secret without leaving Google, you can remove the location history and tell it to stop following you.

Stop Activity and Location Tracking

Regardless of which device you have and which Google service you use, you can take some action. At myaccount.google.com, you can review your security and privacy settings and work in-depth with your account activity to control what Google tracks about you.

 Google Account Dashboard

In the "Data and Personalization" section of your Google Account, you can play with your activity controls and disable what data Google collects from you and can capture. These activities include web and app activity, location history, device information, Google Assistant and Google Home data, and YouTube's search and watch history. To stop tracking this data, click on the title and turn the switch to stop the tracking by Google.

 Google Account Activity Controls

Switching between Web & App Activity and Location History prevents Google from storing your exact locations in your account. For what has already been saved, but nothing is done. Go to myactivity.google.com and Google Timeline separately.

Deleting Collected Activity Data

The My Activity page allows you to review all activities Google has stored, including the apps you've used, and purchased, searched, and visited websites.

Click the three-dot icon next to an entry to open the delete option.

 Google Account Activity Controls

] You also have the option to delete all data between a specific date. The sidebar menu of the page contains the "Delete Activity After" option, which allows you to select a custom date range for deleting data.

Google recently set this option so that activity data can be automatically deleted after a certain amount of time. Set this up via the activity control menu on the Google Account dashboard. Under the Web & App Activity listing, click Manage Activity> Select Auto Delete . By default, Google will store this data until you manually delete it. However, here you can change the time period to save the data for 18 months or three months.

 Google My Activity [19659002] When you set this up, Google will show you exactly what's being removed. Click Confirm to set it, and make sure that all information outside of your preferred area is deleted immediately.

Deleting data from the Google Maps timeline

Google only captures data for your timeline when location services are enabled. On iOS, the timeline is filled only with all your activities, if Google Maps is set to always capture location data (Settings> Google Maps> Location> Always).

To delete your location data Tap the Hamburger menu () in the top left corner and select your timeline. Here you can see what Google has collected about you. Touch the calendar icon in the top right corner to jump to a specific date.

If you want to remove individual items or days, you can do this manually. On the phone, tap the three-point icon and select Delete Day. To get rid of just one thing, tap it, select the trash can icon in the top right corner and confirm the deletion.

 Google Timeline Mobile

Tap the Hamburger Menu () at the top left and select your timeline. Google Maps displays the day's activities. However, you can also select a specific date from the drop-down menus. Individual entries can be removed by clicking on the three-point icon and selecting Remove from my tag.

 Google Timeline

You can clear all location information on the desktop by clicking Click on the gear icon in the bottom right corner and select Delete All Site Logs. Clear the entire day by simply tapping the trash can icon.

Managing Location Services on Android

Even outside of Google's dashboards and timelines, Android users can better control location tracking directly from their phone. Open Settings> Google> Location and uncheck Use location. Keep in mind, however, that many of your phone's apps and services are less useful without location services.

 Android Location Tracking

This page can also be used to optimize some services Settings that allow you to better control how Google pings and collects your phone. Touch Improve accuracy on Samsung devices to disable scanning via Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This is used to improve location accuracy as well as to determine your exact location.

Under Location Services, select Google Location Accuracy, and you can remove all other types of location tracking as GPS. Changing this setting affects Google Maps and My Device, but makes sure that Google can not pin your exact location if you do not want to know where you are.

Manage Location Services on iOS

As with Android devices, including iPhones and iPads, their location services can be completely turned off by going to Settings> Privacy> Location Services and toggling the switch. Of course, this will cause many services on your phone to stop working. However, you can take control of individual apps by specifying when they can access location services.

 Google Maps Tracking

On the Location Services page, select an app, including those offered by Google, and choose when to track them. Select "Never" to completely disable the location services for this app, or "During use" to keep track of your location only when you actually use it, rather than when it's in the background.

Try a VPN.

If all That sounds like too much work to keep your desktop free of Google. If you do not want to disable most of the features on your phone, you may want to try a VPN instead. By setting up one, you can keep your activities and data private. If you are specifically looking for one that works on your phone, there are many options for iOS and Android.

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