Location Tracking

Chris Keller

Consultant Alliance


Did you know your devices (phones and tablets) are tracking your location and (most of the time) you have full control of it? While I’m not going to get into any of the stranger ways that others can track you through your device, there are many ways that you can control location tracking, disable it and in many cases, remove the existing tracking. I’m going to mention Google and Apple here but there are several others. These location histories are used to support a number of good features such as matching pictures you have taken to locations you have been, and helping you track lost devices, but not everyone appreciates this tracking and that’s OK.

Google can track your location and also share that location with others via the Google Maps Applications.

To see if you are being tracked in Google Maps, and turn it off (if you wish):

  • Open Google Maps on your the Mobile device (Android or Apple)
  • If you are logged in, tap on your Account icon and tap Your Timeline
  • Tap More, then Settings, then Privacy
  • Under “Location settings,” check that it says “Location is OFF.” If it doesn’t, tap Location is on and turn off Location.

To Delete the Google Maps Location History:

Important: When you delete information from Timeline, it’s permanent. You won’t be able to find your Location History information on Timeline again. If you have other settings like Web & App Activity turned on and you delete Location History, you may still have location data saved in your Google Account as part of your use of other Google Sites, apps, and services. For example, location data may be saved as part of activity on Search and Maps when your Web & App Activity setting is on, and included in your photos depending on your camera app settings. If you want to delete your past History, these are the steps-

  • Open Google Maps on your the Mobile device
  • If you are logged in, tap on your Account icon and tap Your Timeline
  • Tap More and Settings and Privacy
  • Scroll to “Location settings.” To delete some of your history, tap Delete Location History range. To delete everything, tap Delete all Location History.

Apple also tracks your location, however you can control which other apps can track you, within Apple’s settings.

To see your Apple Location History (on your iPhone or iPad):

  • Open Settings.
  • Scroll down and select Privacy.
  • Tap Location Services at the top.
  • Scroll to the bottom and tap on System Services.
  • Scroll down and tap on Significant Locations.
  • You will need to enter a passcode, or use Face ID.

If you would prefer that your phone wasn’t recording this information, the good news is that you can stop the data collection happening, and you can delete the location history. To delete your History- 

  • Follow the steps above to access your Location History.
  • To delete your history, scroll to the bottom and tap Clear History.
  • To stop the ongoing recording of your Significant Locations tap on the green dial (so it turns grey).

To see the apps that have access to your location:

  • Open Settings.
  • Scroll down and select Privacy & Security.
  • Tap Location Services at the top. You will see a list of apps, whose location sharing can be set individually.
  • For each application, your choices are generally: Never, Ask Next Time, While Using the App, and Always; plus an On/Off  toggle for “Precise Location” (which is another layer of privacy).

If you wish to delve into any of these or other location trackers, check out the references below or give us a call.