Google Maps tracks everywhere you go. Here's how to automatically delete what it stores

Key Points
  • Google Maps tracks everywhere you go.
  • There's a tool that lets you automatically delete your location data from Google's servers after a preset amount of time.
  • This prevents Google from automatically logging years of your location data on its servers.

If you don't configure Google Maps properly, it will automatically keep a detailed log of everywhere you go, whether you're walking, driving or even flying anywhere in the world. It's wildly detailed down to the minute, and can show where you were at any moment in time. I'll show you how to automatically delete it.

That information can be helpful for you. You might want to look back and see where you went during a past trip, for example. Or you might want Google to know how long it typically takes to drive somewhere you go often. Still, it's kind of creepy to have years and years of that data stored on Google's servers.

Here's a sliver of the places I went during June, for example:

But, over the summer, Google began rolling out a feature that lets you automatically delete your saved location date either every 18 months or every 3 months. Anything older than that is automatically deleted, so Google won't know about those stops you made in Las Vegas last year.

Oddly, it's not where Google normally puts this setting, on your Google Account page. Instead, you need to dig through your settings in Google Maps.

Here's what to do:

Set Google Maps to automatically delete your location history.
Todd Haselton | CNBC
  • Open Google Maps on iPhone or Android.
  • Tap the menu bar on the top-left of the app.
  • Choose "Your Timeline."
  • Tap the three dots on the top-right of the screen.
  • Choose "Settings and privacy."
  • Select "Automatically delete location history."
  • Change the setting from "Keep until I delete manually" to "Keep for 18 months" or "Keep for 3 months."

I recommend forcing Google to delete after every 3 months. There isn't much reason to hold on to your history for much longer than that, though you can select 18 months if you disagree. Now, anything older than the time you set will automatically be deleted and will continue to be deleted by Google as time goes on.

How to find out everything that Google knows about you
How to find out everything that Google knows about you