How To Set Up Google’s Auto-Deletion Feature For Location & Search History


For the last few years, major tech companies, including Google, have been accused of collecting too much of personal user data for targetting personalized advertisements. Due to the public outrage, Google and others were forced to add several different privacy options to its services last year, so that the users can opt-out of Google’s telemetry data collection services willingly.

Last month, Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the privacy issues with significant changes in Google’s data collection policy. Although Google’s auto-delete feature was rolled out last year, it had to be enabled manually by the users. In case you are wondering, the feature deletes your location and search history across different Google services, as well as voice snippets collected through devices powered by Google Assistant.

After the new change, the auto-delete feature will be enabled for new users, with the deletion schedule set to 18 months by default. However, this won’t be applied to existing users. The feature will be shown on Google’s search page and YouTube to let the users know more about their privacy options.

For those existing users who are concerned about their privacy on the web, we have compiled this guide to setting up Google’s auto-delete feature for location and search history.

Setting Up Auto-Delete Feature For Google Location and Search History

Google’s auto-delete feature can be accessed from the Google Activity Controls page. The following step-by-step instructions will show you how to enable it:

  1. Open up the Chrome browser on any of your preferred devices.
  2. Now tap the URL bar and go to Log in to your Google account if required.
  3. Click the hamburger (☰) icon in the top-left corner of the webpage, and click Activity Controls.
  4. Under the Web & App Activity section, click the Auto-delete option.
  5. Next, you can choose to auto-delete your activities older than either 3 months or 18 months. Simply select your preference and click Next.
  6. Confirm the deletion of your personalized data. You will return to the Activity Controls page again.
  7. Similarly, scroll down to the Location History section on the same page and repeat the steps above to set up auto-deletion for your location history.

In case you want to pause your location and search history, simply toggle off the slider next to the Web & App Activity and Location History options. You can do the same for your YouTube history.

Wrapping Up

The new auto-deletion option offered by Google is a middle ground for the tech giant and the end-user. While Google can collect data to push a tailored experience to individual users and improve its services, the user can opt to remove all of it after a specified timeframe.

Once enabled, your preferences will be synced across all of your devices connected to your Google account. You won’t have to enable the auto-delete feature for your devices separately, as it’s an account-level change. While you are here, you should check out our dedicated guide to auto-deleting your YouTube History.

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