How to stop Google from tracking you on any device

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  • You can stop Google from tracking some aspects of your online activity by changing your Google Account settings.
  • Google tracks many details about you whenever you use your Google account on your computer, laptop, tablet, and phone.
  • Here’s how to stop Google from tracking your web activity, location, YouTube history, and more.
  • Visit Business Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories .

Google has worked its way into virtually every aspect of your life, and the search giant’s network of interrelated apps and services capture, share, and rely on a great deal of personal information about you. Google tracks your search history, for example, as well as your mobile device’s location, the ads you view, the videos you watch, and more.

If you prefer, you can configure Google to stop tracking you — at least, for the most part — though if you do, you’ll lose the benefit of all of Google’s personalisation features.

How to stop Google from tracking you

No matter what device you are using, you can disable most of Google’s various tracking features:

On an iPhone, you can easily disable Google’s Location History tracking. Read our article on disabling Google tracking on an iPhone.

On an Android phone, you can disable Location History and location tracking for your entire device or individual apps. Read our article on disabling Google tracking on Android devices.

On a computer, you can disable Google from using your Google Account settings in a web browser. Read our article to learn how.

What you need to know about Google tracking on your accounts and devices

No matter which way you choose to disable Google’s tracking features, you’re generally using the same Google Account settings. For the most part, Google tracks you based on your account, not your device — so if you disable Google tracking using the Web & App Activity or Location History settings, you’re turning off tracking on every device that uses that specific Google Account.

There is an important exception: In the Location History settings, you can click “Devices on this account” to see all the phones and tablets being tracked. You can choose to uncheck any of those devices to stop Google from tracking it. This lets Google track some of your activity, but not all of it.

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderYou can selectively remove specific devices from Google’s list.

Likewise, you can deny specific Google apps permission to access your phone’s location services — this prevents Google from tracking your location even if you leave Location Services turned on for other devices.

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderOn your phone, you can use permissions in the Settings app to deny Google apps the ability to know your location.

Google tracks other data that you can disable as well

In addition to web activity and location tracking, Google tracks other data as well, in particular your YouTube viewing history and details about you that inform the ads you see online. You can see more details about both of these on the Data & personalisation page in your Google account settings.

To disable YouTube tracking, read our article about how to stop tracking on your computer.

The Ad personalisation section of the Data & personalisation page displays a wealth of information about what Google knows about you and how it is applied to the ads you are served. If you want, you can disable ad personalisation entirely (click the button to slide it to the left) but it only affects the ads you see — it does not reduce the number of ads you are served, nor does it prevent Google from continuing to collect information about you.

Dave Johnson/Business InsiderIf you find that some of the personalisation information about you is incorrect, click an item and then click ‘Turn off’ to remove it from your profile.

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