A report by Associated Press reveals that several Google services on Android and iPhone devices store location data even when the users have turned location tracking off.
It is well-known that Google is open about asking permission for using the location information of the applications and devices. It clearly states on the support page that “You can turn off Location History at any time. With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored.”
Although a lot of users find the location tracking very handy to track their daily activities like number of steps walked in a day, jogging time, and more. But it was a wrong assumption that turning the feature off will stop tracking.
What Google actually does is save the activity on Google sites and apps to provide its users faster searches, better recommendations and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search and other Google services.
If the users still want to turn off the location tracking off in all cases, then it can be done using the Google account. Just log in to the Google account with a browser and go to myactivity.google.com. In the ‘Activity Controls’ dropdown, turn off the “Web & App Activity” and “Location History” options.
When these options are turned off, Google apps like Google Assistant and Google Home smart speaker might not be that much useful.
The Android users can stop location tracking of the entire device by visiting ‘Security & location’ in Settings. Find ‘Privacy’ and click ‘Location’. Furthermore, the location tracking can be adjusted from app to app, using app-level permissions.
For iOS devices, navigate to Location settings in Google Maps and select ‘While Using’ option to track the location only when the Maps are active. The location on Safari browser too can be turned off using Location Services in the Settings.
“There are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve people’s experience, including: Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services,” a Google spokesperson said in a statement to the AP. “We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”