If you're one of the more than 1 billion people using Gmail as your email client, you'll be signing in with a Google account. While this is great for convenience, you might not realise that Google is collecting your location data by default.
The company uses this to give you personalised maps and recommendations based on places you've visited, but it's unclear where else that data might go.
With online privacy concerns rarely out of the news in recent years, it's understandable if you feel a little uneasy handing over more personal information to a big tech company.
With that in mind, here's how to delete your location history and stop Google from collecting any more.
How to turn off your location history
Firstly, you'll need to sign-in to your Google account. Just head to any Google service that you regularly use and you'll be prompted to enter your details. If it takes you straight there then you're probably already logged in. Then follow these steps:
- Click on your icon in the top right and then select 'Manage your Google Account'. You should be presented with a message saying welcome and then your name.
- Click 'Manage your data & personalisation', the top left of the four cards
- Under 'Activity controls' you should see an option for 'Location History' alongside your current setting.
- There should be a setting simply called 'Location History' which you can toggle on or off.
Google warns you that this 'may limit or disable personalised experiences across Google services', but that's a small price to pay for your peace of mind. We don't like that the company calls this 'Pause', but rest assured it can only be reactivated by manually heading into settings.
How to delete all your location history
You can follow the first three steps as above, but it's easier to just head straight to your Google Maps Timeline. It may shock you to learn how much Google knows about your whereabouts!
In here, just click the little bin icon just above the bottom tabs. This will warn you what you are about to do, and you'll have to confirm by checking the box.
The adjacent settings icon also allows Google to automatically delete your Location History after three or 18 months. This is a good option if you're looking to balance personalisation and privacy.