Location history off? Not so fast there bucko

History stored when you tell it not to Google

The AP is reporting that Google, whether you tell it it can, or can’t, is storing location history on both Android and iPhone. This even in apps like Search when you’re searching for non geo-targeted items such as “Kid’s science kits,” and saving it to your Google account.

TL;DR – revoking location access for one app or service doesn’t matter if Web and App Activity or another Google service has location access, one more step required.

Don't Panic

You can verify this yourself by revoking permissions for location from Google Search and then go into the Home app and look at your history. In searches such as my “Play Mayan pilot from my library” on my phone, the location appears and is pretty much accurate to about 20 feet.

It does not appear they’re attempting to hide that it’s being stored, and this isn’t unique to Android devices as it’s doing the same on iPhones. You can disable location in Search and Maps and it still will record if Web and App Activity are enabled.

She's right over there
Related: US authorities nab suspected leader of international criminal syndicate V.I.L.E. using Google Music search history

What the issue is is you have to disable more stuff. Any Google app with location may report it, and if Web and App Activity are enabled it doesn’t matter what the app is set to in terms of location.

If you’re actively interested in disabling location across the phone, revoke it for ALL services and apps, turn off GPS, stop, kill, or uninstall Facebook, Twitter, any phone portal software, get third party carrier firmware, flash it, then throw the phone away because it’s still probably trackable.

That flippant comment aside, one more step is required to actually disable location history (that you know about,) on Google, and that probably should have been the lead of the AP article but I’m pretty sure it’s going to end up blowing up today that Google is tracking your every move.

Man presumed dead found on beach, not dead after Google searching for striped bathing suits.

Of course they are, however this time they’re being pretty honest about it.

You can do a quick privacy checkup by going to your location history and looking. It will tell you what app or service recorded it.

[AP News]
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Paul E King

Paul King started with GoodAndEVO in 2011, which merged with Pocketables, and as of 2018 he's evidently the owner. He lives in Nashville, works at a film production company, is married with two kids. Facebook | Google+ | Twitter | Donate | More posts by Paul | Subscribe to Paul's posts