Google Maps Updates Location Data Storage

  • By Farrukh Mushtaq

    Farrukh Mushtaq

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    Farrukh Mushtaq, a digital marketer at PureSquare, possesses a keen interest in cybersecurity and enjoys writing about it. With several years of experience in the digital marketing industry, he brings expertise and passion to his work.

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  • 7 June 2024
  • 6 mins read

Table of Content

Table of Contents

A big change for digital travels was announced!

Google is updating its approach to storing Google Maps location data. Previously backed up using cloud-based servers, this information will now be stored directly on your device. 

Google has emailed Maps users to let them know that they have until December 1st to save all previous journey data on their devices before it is deleted. Additionally, the feature formerly known as Location History will now be called Timeline.

What's the Recent Timeline?

Timeline (previously Location History) is a personal map that helps you recall past routes, trips, and places visited, making it easier to revisit them. 

Instead of linking all this data to your Google account, it will be stored on your iOS or Android device. Consequently, starting in December, you can no longer access your Timeline via the web. 

This shift to on-device storage aims to enhance the privacy of your information by eliminating cloud storage.

Your Decision and Data Retention

If you use Google Maps, you must decide by December 1st how long you want to retain your phone's Timeline data. 

Options include keeping all data until manually deleted or setting it to auto-delete after 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months. 

Note: If no decision is made by December, Google will transfer the last 90 days of travel history to the first device you log into Google with, and any data older than 90 days will be deleted.

Managing Auto-Delete Settings

To manage when Google deletes Timeline data automatically:

  1. Open the Google Maps app.
  2. Tap on the profile icon at the top right of the screen.
  3. Select "Your timeline."
  4. Tap the three-dot menu icon on the upper right.
  5. Choose "About timeline" from the pop-up menu.
  6. Under "Your choices," tap "Go to settings."

You will be redirected to a page titled "Activity controls." 

Under the "Auto-delete" section, tap the small arrow on the right to choose between "Don't auto-delete activity" or "Auto-delete activity" for data older than 3 months, 18 months, or 36 months. 

Select your preferred option, and Google will automatically delete your Timeline data based on your choice.

Manual Deletion and Privacy Management

Regardless of your auto-delete settings, Google allows you to delete any Timeline data from your phone manually. 

This new approach emphasizes better privacy management, ensuring that your location data remains secure and under your control by removing it from cloud storage.

“The repository of everyone’s location data dating back months or years was a hazard, and Google is trying to clean up that hazard,” says Jennifer Granick.

Privacy Matters Today and Tomorrow!

While location history offers the convenience of revisiting past routes and places, it poses a substantial privacy risk if stored in the cloud due to potential data breaches and unauthorized access. 

By moving this data to on-device storage, Google is mitigating these risks and giving you greater control over your personal information. 

You can further protect your private data by using a trusted privacy management application, such as PurePrivacy, and prevent tracking your digital footprints.