You’re aware that your phone is aware of your whereabouts. This is how GPS works, how to Find My Friends recognizes your position, and why Facebook and Google show you local adverts. In today’s digital economy, location data, like other data on your phone, is a valuable commodity for online marketers.
One of the biggest businesses on the internet is targeted advertising. Companies are eager to display your adverts for things you’re likely to buy, and the information you provide helps them do so. This has even become the major business strategy for certain firms. Thankfully, you don’t have to put up with this type of data collecting if you don’t want to.
These practices are legal since the organizations that employ them provide you with the option of opting in or out, but not everyone is aware of how to change the settings. Learning how to control location data tracking on an Android phone — in case you need or desire to — is essential in the digital world.
Now, there are a few reasons why you would wish to disable Google from tracking your position. They are, nonetheless, abundant. While Google has tried to keep location data private when feasible, it hasn’t always been successful. In certain situations, such as the one cited above, this has resulted in the outright sale of user data.
Of course, this is excluding Google’s own location data collection. And there’s the location data collection that’s done elsewhere. All of which may be utilized for a variety of purposes ranging from the commonplace and useful to the more nefarious, such as identity theft. As a result, keeping this information secret at least to some extent is critical.
Perhaps nowhere is this more true than on your smartphone or tablet. Because they are the devices that will be utilized “on the move,” as it were. And, more crucially, this isn’t limited to Google. Other popular websites and apps, such as Facebook, Twitter, and apps, collect location data as well.
What all applications have location Data Access?
Starting with a review of the applications on your phone that have access to location data is a smart approach. Many apps need to track your location for valid reasons, so be aware that disabling location tracking may prevent some apps from operating correctly. If a navigation tool, such as Google Maps, doesn’t know where you are, it won’t be very useful. Apps to keep an eye on for location monitoring include:
Car insurance apps: Many vehicle insurance applications may utilize your phone’s sensors to not only track your position but also determine how fast you’re driving or how hard you break, among other things.
Social media apps: Many social media applications like Instagram and Snapchat require location tracking.
Streaming apps: Yes, even applications like Netflix will monitor your location, and they do so for no clear reason other than to deal with geo-restricted material.
News and weather apps: These applications collect your data to offer you more relevant information based on your location. However, they are seldom required to do so to function.
Deal and coupon apps: These programs strive to collect as much data about you as possible for advertising reasons, which usually includes your location data.
Rideshare apps: Apps like Uber and Lyft may track your whereabouts for their drivers all of the time, not just when you need a trip. These applications normally don’t have a mechanism to turn off location tracking without deactivating them.
Various Methods to Stop Location Tracking in Android:
Method 1: Turning location off by Google and in Chrome
- Go over to the Google Play store and type “Settings” into the search bar.
- In the lookup box that appears of Settings, type “Activity Controls.”
- The top result, “Activity controls,” should be selected. You’ll be given an option if you have several Google accounts logged in on your smartphone or tablet. Before moving on to the following step, choose which account you’d want to administer.
- Scroll to “Location History” at the bottom of the page.
- To turn off the function, choose the “Turn off” button in the Location History card. You’ll be asked if you want to pause, and if you do, the pause will apply to all Google services, sites, applications, and devices.
- At the bottom of the explanation, click the “Pause” button.
- At this time, you will be offered the option of deleting your history. Use the on-page link to go there. If you don’t have it, click the Got it button.
- The history of your location will now be halted until you turn it back on. In the option right below the now inactive “Location History,” as seen in our photographs below, you may choose to have your location history removed automatically after 3, 18, or 36 months or not at all.
Method 2: Turn Location Tracking in Mobile Settings
If you merely want the phone to stop recording your position and don’t want Google to record everything you do, it’s straightforward to achieve if you pay attention to all the details:
- To access your Quick Settings menu, swipe down at the top of the screen and long-press on the Location sign. Alternatively, slide down and choose “Location” from the Settings icon.
- You’ve arrived at the page for Location. At the top of the page, turn off the “Using location” function.
What “Use location” means on Android depends on whatever sensors are tracking the device’s location, which might include Wi-Fi, mobile networks, or other sensors in addition to GPS. So, before you leave this page, scroll down a bit more. If you’re using Android 12, search for the “Location services” button; if you’re not using Android 12, look for the “Advanced” button and hit it.
Method 3: Turning Location Tracking for Certain Applications
- Scroll down from your status bar to display the menus we’re seeking certain smartphones may require two swipes down to uncover the menus we’re looking for. In the Quick Settings, look for the “Location” tile.
- To go to the Location page in Settings, long-press on the Locations tile.
- Choose App permission or a similar choice it can say App location authorization.
- The subsequent page will display location tracking in a variety of categories. The last options are “Permitted all the time,” “Allow just when in use,” “Ask every time,” and “Not allowed.” Select an app for which you’d want to adjust permissions.
- Choose from the choices given above.
- The setting “always allowed” allows apps to view your location information at any time.
- “Allow only when in use” restricts data access to applications that are active or in the Recent apps list.
- The phrase “ask each time” is self-explanatory. It only allows apps to access location data for a specific session at a time, and only with your specific consent.
- The setting “don’t allow” prevents the program from accessing location data. Depending on the program, this may or may not result in numerous requests for access — or just not operating correctly.
- So at top of the page, tap the back arrow. Rinse and repeat procedures as required for any applications you want to restrict location access for.
Method 4: Turn off Location History on Facebook
Facebook does store a separate location history, which you may remove using the mobile phone app or the website.
- In the Facebook app, click on the menu in the upper right corner.
- Scroll down to the Settings & Privacy option and just tap on it.
- Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- Scroll down to “Location” and tap it. It will then direct you to the Location Services section option of the website.
- You now have the option of allowing Facebook to access your phone’s location at all times, while using the application, or never.
- Toggle “Location History” on or off if you want Facebook to preserve a record of your locations. You may also remove your current location history from this screen.
Method 5: Try Turning off Ad Tracking
Stopping location tracking may seem harsh, which is why you might want to fight the advertising directly. Android, thankfully, has built-in tools for limiting and minimizing ad tracking.
These tools will not prevent firms from tracking your phone activity, nor will they restrict the number of advertisements you view, but they will enable you to restore your advertisement ID and deactivate any targeted ads profiles linked with your devices.
- Select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.
- “Google” should be selected.
- Select “Ads” from the drop-down menu.
- From the drop-down option choose the Opt-out of ad personalization option to complete the process.