Turning off Google's Location History won't stop it from tracking where you are

Google maps.
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

You can tell Google not to record where you're traveling. It just won't listen.

Maps and other Google apps store location data even if users turn off their Location History, an Associated Press investigation has found. Turning off the feature means "the places you go are no longer stored," Google promises on its support page, but AP has discovered some apps still hold time-stamped locations.

Location is obviously a factor on the Google Maps app, and the company explicitly requests users let the app use their location for navigation. Turning off Location History should mean Google drops that data once users are finished traveling, but Maps actually stores where you are the moment you open the app, AP reveals. The same thing happens if you've set up daily weather updates on an Android phone, or even if you've made searches that have nothing to do with your location.

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Google "provides clear descriptions" of what Location History does, and users can "delete their histories at anytime," a Google spokesperson told AP in a statement. Still, it's tedious to go through and delete every individual place users have been. Users can also separately disable "Web and App Activity" to prevent location storage — something most users might expect turning off Location History to do already.

Read more about what Google sees at The Associated Press.

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Kathryn Krawczyk

Kathryn is a graduate of Syracuse University, with degrees in magazine journalism and information technology, along with hours to earn another degree after working at SU's independent paper The Daily Orange. She's currently recovering from a horse addiction while living in New York City, and likes to share her extremely dry sense of humor on Twitter.