Google tracks your location even if you have the Location History turned off on your mobile devices. Generally, Google asks permission to allow access to your location and if you agree it Google will track the location and display your movements history in the timeline.
According to the associated press investigation report, Google services on Android devices and iPhones continue to store the location data even if the location history is turned off.
Google says With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored. But isn’t true as per the associated press report, the privacy issue affects two billions of Android devices and millions of iPhone users who rely on Google maps and search.
AP conducted the tests on several Android and iPhone users and found the same behavior with all instance. A researcher from Mayer’s lab confirmed the AP’s findings.
“If you’re going to allow users to turn off something called ‘Location History,’ then all the places where you maintain location history should be turned off,” Mayer said.
To demonstrate the risk AP created a visual map of the movements of Princeton postdoctoral researcher Gunes Acar, who carried an Android phone with Location history off, and shared a record of his Google account.
According to Quartz investigation report Android phones collecting address of nearby cellphone towers even if you turn off location services and send back to Google once you come online.
Google was fined 4.3 billion euros ($5 billion) by the European Union and requested to change the way it puts search and internet browser applications on Android Antitrust smartphones, setting a worldwide record for antitrust penalties.
Google’s Reply to AP Report
Google Spokesperson said, there are a number of different ways that Google may use location to improve user’s search experience that includes the Location History, Web and App Activity, and through device-level Location Services.
“We provide clear descriptions of these tools, and robust controls so people can turn them on or off, and delete their histories at any time.”
How to Stop Saving Location
To stop Google from accessing the location, users should turn off “Web and App Activity” that is enabled by default.
By disabling Web & App Activity stops the Google from storing the location makers and the information stored by the search engines and the Location History stops adding movements to the timeline.
Stop Saving Location Markers – Any Device
Open the browser in your device and go to myactivity.google.com, it displays all of your activity based on the date and time.
On the Upper left drop-down menu select Activity Controls now you can see the options to turn off both “Web & App Activity” and “Location History.”