How to stop Google from tracking your computer and limit its data collection of your online history



a man standing in front of a sign: There are several ways you can disable or limit how Google tracks you. Alain Jocard/Getty Images


© Alain Jocard/Getty Images
There are several ways you can disable or limit how Google tracks you. Alain Jocard/Getty Images

  • You can stop Google from tracking your computer by going to your Google Account page and turning off Web & App Activity and Location Services. 
  • Google tracks your activity and location on any device when you’re signed into Google. 
  • If you force Google to stop tracking you, you’ll lose Google’s ability to personalize its services based on your web behavior and location.  
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While it may be cliché to say that Google knows everything about you, there’s also a lot of truth to that statement. If Google’s various tracking services are enabled, it knows both where you are and what your online search activity has been.

There are benefits to this tracking, of course — for example, Google can provide information and assistance that’s more relevant to you. But if you don’t want the search engine to track you, you can easily disable it on your computer. 

How to stop Google from tracking your computer

1. Open Google in a web browser and click your account avatar in the upper right corner of the page. You may need to sign into your Google account. In the dropdown menu, click “Manage your Google Account.”



graphical user interface, text, application: Click "Manage your Google Account." Dave Johnson/Business Insider


© Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Click “Manage your Google Account.” Dave Johnson/Business Insider

2. On your account page, click “Privacy & Personalization.” Go to the “Data & personalization” page. 



graphical user interface, application: The "Data & personalization" page has options to disable web activity tracking and location tracking. Dave Johnson/Business Insider


© Dave Johnson/Business Insider
The “Data & personalization” page has options to disable web activity tracking and location tracking. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

3. In the “Activity controls” section, click “Web & App Activity.” This service controls Google’s ability to track and store your search activity. 

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4. If you don’t want Google to track this, uncheck the box for “Include Chrome history and activity from sites, apps, and devices that use Google services.” You’ll see a warning that Google will lose its ability to personalize many of its services for you. To confirm, scroll down and click “Pause.”



graphical user interface, application: Uncheck the boxes for "Web & App Activity" and "Include Chrome history and activity..." Dave Johnson/Business Insider


© Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Uncheck the boxes for “Web & App Activity” and “Include Chrome history and activity…” Dave Johnson/Business Insider

5. Use the back button to return to the Data & personalization page. 

6. In the Activity controls section, click “Location History.” This service controls Google’s ability to track and record your location on whatever device you are using this Google account — phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop. 

7. If you don’t want your location tracked, turn off “Location History” by clicking the button so it slides to the left. You’ll see a warning that Google will lose its ability to personalize many of its services based on your location. To confirm, scroll down and click “Pause.”



graphical user interface, text, application: Turn off Location History to prevent Google from tracking your location. Dave Johnson/Business Insider


© Dave Johnson/Business Insider
Turn off Location History to prevent Google from tracking your location. Dave Johnson/Business Insider

8. You can also return to the Data & personalization page and turn off “YouTube History” to prevent Google from tracking the videos you watch on that site. 

9. You can turn either of these services back on at any time. In fact, Google refers to this setting as “paused” rather than turned off or disabled. 

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