If you are among those that have had this strange feeling that your smartphone knows your every move, and is sharing it with the world, you are not paranoid – you are absolutely right.
According to recent reporting by CNBC, Google Maps does indeed track everywhere you go.
Google Maps is designed to automatically keep a detailed log of everywhere you go, whether you’re walking, driving or even flying anywhere in the world. It’s wildly detailed down to the minute, and can show where you were at any moment in time. However, according to Todd Haselton, tech reporter for NBC News, the good news is, you can disable this functionality.
According to Haselton, Google began rolling out a feature that lets you automatically delete your saved location date either every 18 months or every 3 months. Anything older than that is automatically deleted, so Google won’t know about those stops you made “on the other side of the tracks” last year.
Oddly, it’s not where Google normally puts this setting, on your Google Account page. Instead, you need to dig through your settings in Google Maps. Haselton says here is what you need to do to make where you are, or were, your own business again.
- Open Google Maps on iPhone or Android.
- Tap the menu bar on the top-left of the app.
- Choose “Your Timeline.”
- Tap the three dots on the top-right of the screen.
- Choose “Settings and privacy.”
- Select “Automatically delete location history.”
- Change the setting from “Keep until I delete manually” to “Keep for 18 months” or “Keep for 3 months.”
Haselton recommends forcing Google to delete after every 3 months. There isn’t much reason to hold on to your history for much longer than that, though you can select 18 months if you disagree.
Now, if I can just figure out a way to get Facebook to stop reading my mind, and sending me ads to things I was only just thinking about buying!