The average person doesn’t really worry about the downsides of using the internet; only how it can help make life more convenient whether it be hailing a taxi after a night out with your best mates at your favourite bar or the food delivery service app that you’re so grateful for on days when you can’t find the motivation to leave your apartment to get some grub to eat.

Although not everyone knows or bothers with the nitty gritty, I’m here to tell you that Google location services along with the help of our Android devices know a whole lot more about us than you may think, however, it does actually pose a quite number of benefits:

  1. Find your lost or stolen phone
  2. Retrace your drunken steps from the night before
  3. Get helpful suggestions for events that’s happening around you
  4. Look at maps and get directions to new places with regular updates by other users

How to disable location tracking on your Android

The first step is to open your App Drawer and launch “Google Settings”. The snapshots below illustrate the steps further:

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 7.11.31 PM

Once the Google Settings app is launched, select “Location” so that you’re brought to the Android’s location settings. This can also be done via Settings > Location, after which your phone screen will display the following:

Screen Shot 2015-02-12 at 7.12.55 PM

Once you get to this screen, you can look into the apps that have recently accessed your location data. In any case, should you notice any questionable activity going on, you might want to delve in deeper to find out what it could be for security and privacy reasons. However, if your main reason for disabling your location tracking is for the purpose of conserving your battery life, the simplest way to do so is for you to switch your phone to “battery saving mode” which will in effect, turn off GPS, and only utilise WiFi and mobile networks to pinpoint your location.

If you would like to completely disable location services on your phone, the only thing you have to do is flip the On or Off switch in the top right corner of your screen.

How to disable Google’s Location Reporting

Google does a number of things through its location reporting services, one of which is communicating your location to third-party applications. On top of that, Google also gathers your location data and saves it on its servers which leads us to question — how much data does Google already have on its users? If you would like to see what location data your phone has already sent to Google, try visiting this page and you will find a map of all the places that you have visited along with timestamps.

If you decide to switch off this feature completely and stop Google from collecting and storing even more information based on your location data, what you should do is launch the Google Location Reporting settings (also shown in the last screenshot) and turn off “Location Reporting” and “Location History” on your Android.

While there are the upsides and downsides of disabling location services, I believe that one should make an informed decision as to whether this service holds more advantages to you as an individual in terms of convenience, or if you place more value on your privacy above everything else. The choice is yours.

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