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Google now lets you set a timer to auto-delete mobile location history and activity data

Published Jun 27th, 2019 10:58AM EDT
Google auto-delete
Image: John G Mabanglo/EPA/Shutterstock

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In its latest attempt to give control back to users, Google started rolling out auto-delete controls for location history and activity data on iOS and Android devices this week. Google first announced this tool in a blog post back in May, but now you can try it out for yourself and set a timer to delete sensitive information automatically.

It isn’t quite as robust a tool as some of the privacy controls that Google has introduced in recent years, but a little more control is better than none at all. If you head to the activity controls hub on Google’s website, you can tap the blue “Manage Activity” button below “Web & App Activity” as well as “Location History” to find a new option labeled “Choose to delete automatically.” Tap on that, and you’ll be given the choice to either keep data until you delete it manually, or keep it for either 3 or 18 months before it automatically deletes.

While the auto-delete controls aren’t as full-featured as some users might prefer them to be, having the ability to set a timer and not worry about whether or not your location history and web activity data is going to be floating around the internet forever is a welcome addition. You already have the ability to turn off Google’s tracking altogether or delete the data manually, but choice is important when it comes to privacy.

The auto-delete controls are available on my iPhone as of today, but if you don’t see the setting yet, don’t worry. The controls have just begun rolling out globally this week, so it might take a few days to appear.

Jacob Siegal
Jacob Siegal Associate Editor

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.