I heard on a podcast that you can now set up Google Maps to automatically delete your location history after a few weeks. Excellent. How can I set that all up?
Google is constantly tracking what you do and where you go. It knows what searches you entered six months ago. It knows where you were when you ran Google Maps to find the address of the local Starbucks. It has a lotta data! Unfortunately, we only have a relatively finite amount of control over all of this data. The good news is that your location data can now have an expiration duration, which is terrific. You don’t need Google having that data for years and years, do you?
The wrinkle is that access to these settings is currently limited to from within the Google Maps app on Android devices. Google promises that it’s on its way to iPhones too – also within Google Maps – but for now, you’ll need an Android device or be out of luck. In any case, you can follow along and perhaps by the time you read this it’ll be a feature on all versions of Google Maps anyway.
And so, let’s have a look.
For this I’ll be using the very latest version of Google Maps on a Google Pixel 3 XL, so it’s all GOOG, all the time 🙂
A pretty common view within the Maps app.
Now, tap on the “hamburger” menu (three horizontal lines) on the left side of the search box. It’ll pull up an extensive menu of options:
Tap on “Your Timeline” on the menu and it’ll show you today’s drives and travel:
As you can see, so far I’ve driven 8.6 miles and somehow it’s taken me 46 minutes. That’s almost walking speed!
Anyway, can you see the three dots piled atop each other on the right? Tap on that and yet another menu appears, this one on the right side of the screen:
Finally, here you can tap on “Settings and privacy” (the last option) and get to the settings for your location history…
Then swipe down until you see the options shown:
Specifically, you want to tap on the section “Automatically delete Location History“. Yes, you can find it!
Once you do, you’ll find that there are three options: don’t delete anything, delete after 3mo and delete after 18mo:
What if you want to delete after 12 months? Tough luck, my friend, you can see the three options and that’s all ya get.
Let’s say that 18 months is your choice, though. Tap on that option, then tap on “Next” and you’ll get a nice explanation of what’s about to happen if you confirm:
And that’s how it’s done. Once you set up either a 3mo or 18mo expiration date on your location data, that should stick and be invoked to remove location data every single day forever. Which is nice versus having no control at all over this location data…