While using your smartphones it is obvious it will try to connect to networks like WiFI, GPS, Cell Towers and Bluetooth as that is its main purpose. To hide from being located will always remain a big task as most of the smartphone is capable of tracking your location. With the latest reports coming, suggest Google can track your location even when you have disabled Google from seeing where you are. Generally, you will disable the Location History option in Google so that it can’t track your location. But there is yet another setting which will allow them to know your location via the setting called “Web & App Activity.”
Responding to the location issue Google Spokesperson in an email response said – “Location History is a Google product that is entirely opt-in, and users have the controls to edit, delete, or turn it off at any time. As the [AP] story notes, we make sure Location History users know that when they disable the product, we continue to use location to improve the Google experience when they do things like performing a Google search or use Google for driving directions.”
If you are one of those who wants to stay alone from being tracked, continue reading to get your answers by following a few basic actions to help protect your privacy.
How To Prevent Google And Others From Tracking Your Phone?
Go to Google Settings
If you wish to disallow Google from tracking your location sign in to your Google account. It will be easier for you if you prefer to use a desktop, open myactivity.google.com in your browser and click Activity controls. At the top, you will notice a box for Web & App Activity. Go ahead and pause or turn off the option.
While you are still on the Web & App Activity page, on the left you will have an option that says “Delete activity by” – this option manages Google’s records on your actions. Below you will see another box which says Location History. Switch off that option and besides this option, you will see a link that says “manage activity.”
When click manages to link it will take you to Google Timeline, wherein the map view it will show all the information about where you’ve been. When you go to the gear icon, you will get more options, which also includes how to delete your whole location history.
How To Do It In Android?
If you are an Android phone user head over to Settings > Security & Location. Scroll down to the Privacy section and click on Location. At the bottom, you will see Google Location History, click on it. The phone and browser settings are synced, so in case you have set it off on your browser you will see it off even on your phone setting. Once it’s done go back to the main Location page on your phone by hitting the back arrow at the upper left.
On the Location Page, you will have to toggle to switch off all location services. You can either turn it off entirely or choose to turn it off for specific apps only by clicking on “App-level permissions.” Once you are done with this you can head over and try to launch the Map app and try to have it detect your location. You’ll be prompted to “Allow Maps to access this device’s location?”
The location permission for your camera also can be turn off on the same app-level permission page, what this will do it won’t let the phone know your location when you clicked the picture. As a result of this, it won’t include that in the image’s metadata. Without this feature app having access to your pictures would roughly know your location data by analyzing the geotags on your photos.
How To Do It In iPhone?
iPhone users can head over to Settings> Privacy> Location Services. Here you can entirely turn off or manage what you wish to turn off in relation to individual apps. You will see three options for most apps: “Never,” “While Using the App,” or “Always.” If you have any doubts then it’s better to choose “While Using the App” compared to “Always,” and “Never” will shut down entirely the app’s location awareness.
If you only wish to disable location for Google apps products like Google Calendar, Home, Maps, and News, use Safari (apple default browser).
Lastly you will see at the bottom “System Services” there is a slew of other phone services that you can decide whether or not to allow others to know your location, including “Significant Locations” at the bottom, clicking this will allow you to learn what your phone has, in turn, learned about where you’ve been, although it says that “Significant Locations are encrypted and cannot be read by Apple.”
Once you turn off the Location services it will become less functional and if you wish your Google Map app to know where you are you can push the little compass-like icon at the bottom right-hand side, you will at least need to enable location services so that the app works properly.
Other things to keep in Mind
Sean O’Brien, a member of the Yale Privacy Lab said – “Google has too strong of a grip on the Android ecosystem, and by the same token Apple has a very strong grip on the iOS ecosystem. They dictate what users can and can’t see in the user interface.”
You will need to be vigilant about what your phone settings are and what they should be. As it can be seen in case of Google even though your Location History is off you can still be tracked by Google if the Web & App Activity is not turned off.
It is best advised to keep track of the apps you install on your phone and remove all unwanted apps. Security experts suggest installing F-Droid on Android phones and using it instead of the Google Play store to get apps. O’Brien suggests F-Droid as it is audited by volunteers whereas he adds “Google has proven to be a poor steward of the Play Store.”
Have a look at all the settings related to your social networks like Facebook, WhatsApp and, websites you have integrated into your account. In the case of Facebook go to your browser and select settings, Apps and, websites at the left.
We guess this will help you ensure don’t disclose your location to online trackers. Stay safe stay connected.
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