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Use incognito mode on Google Maps and stop being tracked everywhere you go

Google Maps incognito mode
© Farknot Architect/Shutterstock

Google Maps grew from a simple and convenient navigation app to a huge service with recommendations, reviews, and of course usage tracking. Learn how to activate incognito mode on the Android and iOS applications and reclaim your privacy.

How to use incognito mode on the Google Maps app

To stop Google from tracking your searches and feeding its powerful recommendation system with ads related to the places and things you have looked or done, open the Maps application and follow these steps:

  1. Tap on your profile picture.
  2. Select the Turn on incognito mode option.
  3. Google Maps will restart and display a notification, tap Close.
Google Maps Incognito Mode EN
Three quick steps to stop being tracked / © NextPit

When activated, incognito mode stops sending notifications - Did you visit the Park Public Toilet? -, saving history and searches, tracking your location history, and personalizing the apps according to your browsing habits. Other disabled features when incognito mode is activated include:

  • Recent activities.
  • Saved places.
  • Changes and contributions to the Maps database.
  • Updates from followed places.
Google Maps Incognito Mode 2
60% of Google Maps tabs are disabled with incognito mode / © NextPit

It is possible that disabling all those features can free up some processing and memory resources on your smartphone, as well as save a bit of data transferred over mobile networks, but we couldn't verify those.

For additional peace of mind, you can also turn off the location history, hidden in Google Maps' settings menu. Tap on your profile picture, then go to Settings > Personal content > Location History. To make matters worse, there is another unrelated feature that tracks your maps' activity that can be disabled following: Settings > Maps History > Saving to Web & App Activity.

Have you tried Google Maps' incognito mode? Did you notice less intrusive notifications or the navigation experience get worse? Share your experiences in the comments below!

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Rubens Eishima

Rubens Eishima

Rubens has been working with tech journalism since 2008, with works published in Brazil, Spain, and Germany.

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