Monday, April 25, 2011

Turn off Google's Tracking in Android

Most likely, your Android phone is tracking your location and sending the data back to Google. Why most likely? Because during setup, Google actually asks your permission to do this. Of course they don't come right out and say "we're going to collect your location", they just ask if you'd like to turn on Google Location services, asking if you'd like to use their service. They don't mention that their service tracks your location.
If you'd like it to stop, go to Settings > Location, and turn off Google based location services. You'll still have your carrier's location services and GPS, but you'll be missing out on any location services provided by Google. Still, if that's not as important to you as keeping Google from collecting your location data, then at least the option is there for you. Google collects your data along with a unique identifier for your phone, but leaves out your name. Still, by collecting a unique identifier for each phone, it can't be completely anonymous, your identity could still be derived from this information if it were to land in the wrong people's hands. While it's probably not something you need to worry about, if you're particularly careful with your online privacy, you may want to opt out of Google's services.
via MacWorld


  1. I don't have these options on my Motorola Droid running Android 2.2.2.

    I have Settings, Location & Security, Use GPS satellites, and Use Wireless networks. Nothing about using Google Location Services.

    So how do I turn off monitoring of my location?

  2. Hmm this is a good question. I was under the impression that Google made it easier to turn off their tracking. Now I'm starting to see the validity in a class action suit against Google.

    I'm actually not sure how to turn this off unfortunately. I don't have an Android phone to check it out, I was just going off a guide I found. I briefly looked around on Google, but still couldn't find anything.

  3. On my Android 2.2.1 (HTC Desire Z) there are two subheading on the "Location" settings page: "My Location" which, as you say, covers WiFi and GPS and then "Location service" which covers Phone finder, Integrate Google Navigation, etc. It's strange that with a slightly more up to date version of Android, that this is missing.

  4. use wireless networks is Google's Location services