There are many great features if you decide to keep your location services on while you’re using your Android device.
As well as being useful if you misplace or lose your phone, Google Now users will probably be able to recognize that the cards and suggested locations are drawn from places and areas that you frequently visit.Also, they will see the news drawn from topics that you have searched for in the past.The information is pretty accurate, and the device usually gives your correct location. (Or thereabouts.)
Google Now has some great features, but for now, we’ll focus solely on their location based services. Your device will periodically report your location (via GPS coordinates) to your Google Account at set intervals during the day. It’s invasive and a little seedy, but for many it’s a necessary evil considering the perks of the service. Understandably, others just want to turn it off as soon as possible, not least because it can potentially save you a decent amount of battery power.
The following guide will take you through everything you need to know about viewing, managing and deleting your location history data.
Viewing, Managing, and Deleting your Location History Data:
To view your location data on a computer, you should be able to access the information by visiting the Google Maps Timeline page for your account.
It’s worth noting that as long as the lock symbol is present, you’ll be the only person able to see exactly where you’ve taken your device. (Although this can be changed in the settings if necessary.)
If you want to pause the location services for whatever reason, there’s a box at the bottom of the screen that is clearly marked Pause.
Regardless, this won’t be enough to turn the services off completely, and it won’t delete any of the location data already saved. (If you want to resume location services, you can do it from the same menu.) Here’s an image of the popup that appears when you select the option, as well as some relevant information about it;
If you want to delete your data, you’ll find a small trash icon in the bottom lower corner of your device. Click it to remove everything that has been gathered so far.
However, this can lead to location-based apps like Google Now becoming less accurate in regards to the places it will suggest for you to visit.
You can also delete your entire location history directly from your Android device.
- Go to your main Settings app, and look for and tap Google.
- Tap Location, and open the menu entitled Location History.
- From here, scroll to the bottom of the screen and tap Delete Location History to begin the process.
Alternatively, head to Location in your Settings menu, and you should be able to turn off the service and delete your history from there.
To turn off location services;
- There will be a toggle located at the top of the screen called Location History.
- You can switch it on and off from here. (It will stay permanently switched off until you change the settings back.)
You should now be able to look at and delete and data collected during past use, as well as being able to switch the services on and off as you please.
Incorrect and Inaccurate Locations
Some users have reported that their device has shown an incorrect location history log, leading to issues with Google Now and other location-based services.
It’s worth noting that there are three data sources for location info, as stated by the Google Location Service and Accuracy page;
- GPS: GPS accuracy can be up to several meters depending on your GPS signal and connection. Your phone must support GPS, have it enabled, and allow Google Maps access to it.
- Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi (wireless network) accuracy should be similar to the access range of a typical Wi-Fi router, or about 200m or better. Your phone must support Wi-Fi and have it enabled.
- Cell ID: Cell ID (cell tower) accuracy depends on cell tower density and available data in Google’s cell ID (cell tower) location database. Accuracy may be approximated at distances up to several thousand meters.
You can check your location by opening Google Maps on your device.
The blue dot represents your exact location while the larger blue circle shows your general location. (A smaller circle means a more approximate reading.) If it’s grayed out, it means your device is struggling to connect with the location services to find you. Connecting to a trusted Wi-Fi network should help to solve any issues, but there will generally be errors now and then as the technology can run into problems.
Going outside is another quick fix, but if you live in a rural area, it’s possible that you just won’t be able to get the same level of service when compared to a city slicker. GPS is the most accurate way to check your location, but if your battery is low, it may have been switched off to conserve power.
Bugs in the system can sometimes lead to erroneous locations appearing on your device, but it should be simple enough to remove them individually using the settings found here on your Google Maps Timeline page.
At the very least, it should stop the app from suggesting locations that have no relevance to you personally.
As Google’s influence continues to grow, it’s likely that the service will improve in even the most forgotten of areas, so it could also be a case of waiting it out for a better standard of service.
In an ideal world, it would be completely safe to leave your location services on at all times, but it’s also worth remembering that no modern smartphone will ever be truly untraceable.
It’s great for things like driving, traveling and going out to restaurants. However, it’s a feature that none of us really asked for at the time. It’s way too intrusive considering the frequency of data collection, and the fact that we simply have to trust Google to do what’s right with our info.
There will always be issues surrounding security, so it’s up to you to decide
The truth is, the choice is yours. You should now be able to turn the settings on and off as you see fit, so it’s up to you to decide for yourself.
If we’ve missed an easy way to manage your location data on your Android smartphone, or you have questions about Google’s location service, let us know in the comments below, or you can contact us via Facebook or Twitter.