One buried Google Maps setting you need to change now

Remember the old GPS units we used to take back in the day? Before, you may have printed directions from MapQuest or another site. And before that, we relied on real maps that no one knew how to turn quickly.

Today you open your phone and click on an app. It’s simple, sure, but you might not think much about how much information you’re passing out with every visit and every search.

Speaking of searches, it’s time to clear your browser’s search history. If you don’t do it regularly, start now. Tap or click for steps in all major browsers.

Before you use Google Maps to go anywhere, you can make a simple change to take back at least a part of your privacy.

look wherever you’ve been
Did you know that Google Maps works even if you don’t have a Google Account associated with it? However, you won’t get all the features. Signing in lets you save places like your home and work, and remember your favorite routes.

Like any navigation app, Google Maps uses the GPS location on your phone to determine where in the world you are. Every time you navigate somewhere, your location is stored in your profile.

It might not sound so bad. After all, your navigation app needs to know where you are. But all that information is rarely removed from your account. For example, you can see where you were on this day five years ago.

Eyes are wide open to check this list. Maybe this sounds like a fun walk down memory lane. Or maybe it will make you cry.

You’ll see a map that includes details like your saved home and work locations and all the recorded trips you’ve made over the years. You can use the Timeline box in the top left corner to search by year or down to a specific day.

Try going back a few years. If the trips are recorded, you will see a blue bar that you can click on. Select it to get highlights, such as the visits you have made, the places you have traveled and the exact route you have taken. You’ll also see how long it took you to get there.

Turning it off stops future tracking, but it will retain a copy of your history.

To completely delete your Location History data, click on the Auto-delete option. You can choose to auto-delete data older than three months, older than 18 months or older than 36 months. You can also manually delete anything before that.

If you turn this setting off, Google warns that you might not see suggestions based on your history or suggestions, for example, to ease your commute. When you use other Google services like Google Photos, your location may still be saved.

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What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call up Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcast.

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