How-To

How to Use Google Maps in Incognito Mode on Android

Google Maps Incognito Mode is a recently announced feature for the Android app. This allows you to hide some of your Maps activity from the search engine giant, which could come in handy in certain situations.

Incognito Google Maps

The fact that Google stores your location data in Maps can be quite useful at times. The company’s apps use this to provide you with personalized search results and advertising.

However, there could be times when you wouldn’t want this information to be saved. For example, you might need to navigate to an embarrassing (to you) location. And you don’t want ads for that location or business popping up while in the app. Or maybe more than one person has access to your Google Account. You might not want them to know where you’ve been.

Whatever the reason, Google offers a simple way of making sure that what’s private actually remains private (in the Maps app anyway). Once you activate the setting, no browsing or search history will be saved in the app. And the locations you go to will not be saved in your Maps history. And ads won’t be personalized based on your navigation history.

Turning Google Maps Incognito On

The feature should already be available in your Google Maps Android app, provided you’re on the latest version.

Before you start a search (or a trip) that you want to be done in Incognito mode, tap your profile picture.

Google maps Incongnito profile pic

That will bring up the following menu. Tap the Turn on Incognito Mode option.

Google maps Incognito profile pic

The app will restart and you will get a pop-up message that explains what Incognito Mode does (or, better put, doesn’t do). After that, you can go ahead and use the app. To know that your navigation is private, the Incognito Mode icon and status is shown at the top of the screen.

Google maps Incognito on

When you want to switch back to “normal” mode, just tap the icon. Then you’ll have regular Google Maps functionality and tracking.

It’s Private to a Point

Now, keep in mind this is similar to using an Incognito or Private mode in your browser. It just doesn’t keep a history of your location while in the app. Your phone isn’t in stealth mode and it is still being tracked by Google (and other apps on your phone).

For more on preventing some tracking, check out our article on how to really stop Google from tracking your location. And how to auto-delete your Google location and web activity data.


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