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How to turn off location tracking on Android

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The very first time you set up an Android device, you’ll be asked if you want to share your location data. If you say yes, then Google automatically adds your movements to your Location History, which you can look at in the Timeline section of your Google Account.

Location history can provide useful information such as automatic commute predictions or improved search results. But not everybody is comfortable with their every step being tracked. Even if you trust Google, if you lose your device then that data could be seen by somebody with malicious intent. Here’s how to turn off Android location tracking if you no longer want it.

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How to turn off location tracking

From your Android phone

Just follow these simple steps to turn off location tracking

  1. Open Settings
  2. Scroll down to Security & Location, then hit Location
  3. You’ll see an on/off switch in the top right. Use this to turn location services on or off altogether.
  4. Tap on Location > Google Location History
  5. Once again there’s a button in the top right that lets you turn your location history on or off
How to find location settings in Android 8.1. / © NextPit (screenshot)

From your computer

On a computer, go into > Activity Controls > Manage Activity and then toggle the bar on Pause Location History; a pop-up tells you what you are and aren’t disabling, and provides a link to where you can delete your location history altogether.

Google explains what it does with your location data whenever you toggle it. / © NextPit

Going to and opening the settings cog icon in the lower right side will also give you options to pause location history, delete it or download your data.

How to delete your location history on Android

  1. If you also want to delete your location history, you can do that here too: under Location History tap the three dots in the top right, then hit View/Manage.
  2. Hit the three dots once more, then Settings 
  3. You should now be in a section named Personal content
  4. From here you can Delete all Location History or select Delete Location History range to delete just a part of it. Once deleted this information can’t be recovered.

How to turn off location tracking on an iPhone or iPad

If you have an Android phone and an Apple tablet or an Android tablet and an Apple Phone, you’ll need to check the iOS location settings too: Apple can store your location data and give it to apps too. To turn that off, go into Settings > Privacy > Location Services.

Assuming Location Services are on, you should now see a list of apps with two bits of information: a button showing whether access to Location Services is on or off for that app, and a little arrow if it’s used your location data recently.

There’s another screen in here, System Services, and that enables you to turn off system-level use of your location for features such as location-based ads, web browser search suggestions, setting the time zone and so on. Simply turn off any services you want to shut down.

What’s the downside to turning off Android location tracking?

You’ll lose some of the things that make Android so good. Google Assistant is less helpful if it doesn’t know your favorite places, and some apps aren’t of much use without location services enabled. On the upside, less GPS use means less battery drain.

How to turn Android location tracking back on

If you find yourself needing directions from Google Assistant or you decide your movements aren’t interesting enough to worry about other people seeing them, it’s easy enough to re-enable Android location tracking. This time all you need to do is:

  1. Open Settings
  2. Go to Location (or Security & Location)
  3. Use the on-screen toggle button on the top right to turn it on
  4. Tap on Google Location History and use the on-screen button to turn it on

It’s a similar process with Apple devices: go back into Settings > Privacy > Location Services and use the toggle buttons to switch services back on.

What do you think? Does the usefulness of Android location tracking outweigh the potential privacy issues, or should we limit how much information we share in general? Let us know in the comments below.

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Go to comment (12)
Nicholas Montegriffo

Nicholas Montegriffo

A cyberpunk and actual punk, Nicholas is the Androidpit team's hardcore gamer, writing with a focus on future tech, VR/AR, AI & robotics. Out of office, he can be found hanging around in goth clubs, eating too many chillies, or at home telling an unlucky nerd that their 8th level wizard died from a poisoned spike trap.

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  • 1
    lisamanning Jan 10, 2020 Link to comment

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  • Mike 22
    Mike Apr 27, 2019 Link to comment

    If you're going to commit a crime, leave your phone home.

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  • 1Ted1 1
    1Ted1 Jan 12, 2019 Link to comment

    Except NOTHING keeps android from turning location back on... I have it turn off in every app I have control of and it STILL turns it on everytime I pick up my phone to use it...I have the main location turned off.. and EVERY frikken app on the phone in the app manager.. don't tell me to turn it off here or there.. I have heard this crap for 2 years and none of it works permanently... my phone updated Wednesday and now it's twice as bad.. went through all the apps and sure enough it turned on location on what it wanted and I again shut them all off manually.. so I don't want to hear turn this off or that off.. it's in the system or something of which I have no control and I'm sick of it... Galaxy S3.. and S5 active..

  • 2
    Roland West Dec 6, 2018 Link to comment

    When it comes to malware mining, detection, vulnerability analysis, PEN tests, Network security, IoT, location services. I have used this service for work and also personal issues. This team provides the best in online forensics and can help you get almost anything done. Since they are now commercial i thought i should share with you guys too. You can mail rootgatehacks AT tutanota DOT com

  • D. L. 8
    D. L. Dec 3, 2018 Link to comment

    For those who really want to stop ALL location info Google scoops up, you need to read this. Merely turning off all location settings does not stop them. Researchers found that through activities and web they are tracking still. But, you can turn that off as well.
    Look up article on the Verge , my link would not let me post.

  • 27
    Sorin Dec 1, 2018 Link to comment

    At me the location is activated permanently:
    maybe that's how it will know me Santa, so come to me too !!!

  • 28
    itprolonden Nov 30, 2018 Link to comment

    It doesn't bother me. i find a lot of services useful and it's metadata they use. Get used to it. The same people that have an issue have a smart home.


  • 49
    storm Jan 30, 2018 Link to comment

    I've turned off tracking for a long time and turned off all of Google's history for all settings. And this work fine. Yes I allow maps to use the GPS, but not tracking of data. App by app I turn it off as well.


    • 1
      C. McCamto Oct 13, 2019 Link to comment

      No mate, the location services are part of Google play services and they are protected services which automatically restart if you force close them. They run constantly, regardless of your choices for the location settings you can see. Check yourself: turn on developer options, go to 'view and control running services ' -
      Choose Google play services and you'll find multiple location services you can't stop, can't opt out of etc.
      Regardless of that, Google got fined lots a few years back for secretly compiling lists of all WiFi networks the Street View camera cars could sniff out as they drove along virtually every accessible road in the civilised world. By referencing these lists, they can calculate your location any time WiFi is enabled on your phone. Just to be sure, they even hid another option allowing Google to scan for WiFi networks at any time, even when your WiFi is turned off.
      Bear in mind that your connection to local cell towers (ie your phone connection), the strength of the connection and the fact all phones constantly search for the 2 or strongest cell tower signals it can find, so it lt can automatically connect you to the next best alternative as you move around the world, theoretically making sure you get the strongest possible signal at all times. They know where all the cell towers are. To be connected to any one cell tower means you must be close to it. Add the signal strength data from the 'next best alternative' cell tower to the data from the cell you're connected to, and your location can easily be triangulated to a very high degree of precision. These are just backdoors into tracking your location, they stem from native features of all mobile connectable technology. Most people actually give permission to have their every movement tracked by the more overt methods, but if not, there are plenty of other ways, both overt and covert, they can exploit to track you. The 'emergency' location services (which run 100% of the time) just ensure beyond any doubt that they can accurately locate you, anywhere, anytime. They've deliberately created services to mask the tracking beacon in your hands as something useful, vital even. They've ensured that processes are bundled so they run together - if you turn them off, youd be as well using an old Nokia non-smartfone, cos no features will work. Even then, they can monitor our every movement in ways that are not optional. For example, did you know that android automatically records and reports back which floor of a building you are on at any given moment? That's again a core part of Android. As is the monitoring of your speed and heading whenever you travel anywhere, and the type of transport you're using, and if you're on public transport, who is around you at that time. They can simply work out who all your friends are, who you work with..anything they want to know. Regardless of where we choose to put the slider on the location settings option.
      All of this is publicly available knowledge

  • 3
    Karen J. Sep 22, 2015 Link to comment

    This article interested me particularly coz i have a Domestic Violence Restraining Order out against a very abusive & scary ex. I'm trying to protect my girl & i in everyway & this is one step further in doing that.
    Thank You


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