How to really stop Google from tracking you

If you want

We reported how turning off the location history features in your google account does not really stop Google from tracking you. Here’s how to make sure of that.

Sign in to your Google account on a browser on iOS or your desktop, or through the Android settings menu. In the browser, access your account settings by finding Google Account in the dropdown in the upper right-hand corner, then head to Personal Info & Privacy, choose Go to My Activity, then in the left-hand nav click Activity Controls. Once there you’ll see the setting called Web & App Activity, which you can toggle off.

On your Android phone, go from Google settings to Google Account, then tap on Data & personalization. You’ll find Web & App Activity there.

Google further buries the notion that Web & App Activity has anything to do with location. In fact, the setting sits right above the Location History option, suggesting at a glance that the two things are quite distinct. And Google’s vanilla description of Web & App Activity is that it “Saves your activity on Google sites and apps to give you faster searches, better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.” From there, you have to tap Learn more, then scroll to What’s saved as Web & App Activity, and tap again on Info about your searches & more before Google says anything about location whatsoever.

To stop that tracking, toggle the blue Web & App Activity slider to off. Google will then give you a popup warning: “Pausing Web & App Activity may limit or disable more personalized experiences across Google services. For example, you may stop seeing more relevant search results or recommendations about the places you care about. Even when this setting is paused, Google may temporarily use information from recent searches in order to improve the quality of the active search session.” What this means is that you might not see relevant Ads close to places you frequently visit. It’s your choice.

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  1. Google is tracking you even if location history's off. - GSMTINZ.com

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