How to Change / Delete Your Google Privacy Settings & History?

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Google has rolled out several updates to its privacy and security settings since its foundation. The company introduced a redesign to the Search Home Page in the latest privacy and security update to make it more user-friendly. Google introduces a new feature  that allows you to delete some of the data Google collects. The feature is auto-enabled for all the new users.

But there are some important Google privacy settings that you need to change for maximum security. Here’s a guide on most of the important ones:

Master Privacy Control

Do you need a diary? When you use Google Services in your everyday life. With the Web & App Activity setting turned on by default, Google manages a journal for you.

You can always see that Google collects your data from different services. Like, Google Services like Google Search Engine, Chrome, Android, and Google Assistant. It includes:

  •  Your locations
  •  Websites you have visited
  •  Applications used
  •  Your search history
  • Detailed timed stamps. 

Having all the details in the Web & App Activity control makes it the most potent privacy setting. If you leave it on, the company considers your consent to exploit everything from your location data to your credit card purchases. As described in the 2018 Bloomberg article, Google controls whether to use your credit card purchases to measure how well ads are working. 

Pausing Web & App Activity limit or disable more personalized experiences across Google services. Even when this setting is paused, Google might use the information from recent searches to improve the quality of the active search session.” But the most severe part is that it will disable certain useful features within Google products. This includes Maps and Google Assistant. 

Justin Brookman, Director of Privacy and Technology Policy for Consumer Reports, said, “It’s bad practice for them to lump all these settings together and disincentivize protecting your privacy.” But it’s still worth the trade-off, as you can always switch the setting back on if you need to. 

How To Turn Off Master Privacy Control

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the Top-Right Corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side Panel. 
  • Check if Web & Activity is On.
  • Click on Web & Activity.
  •  Click the Toggle and Hit Pause.

Location History

It sounds quite clear, but for those who are still in doubt. Google creates a map of all the locations you have been with devices on which you have used Google Services. If the option is left turned on, then Google will record your site even though you might not be using Google Services for the time being. 

Location history description once read: “With Location History off, the places you go are no longer stored. When you turn off Location History, it’s off for all devices associated with Google Account.” But, users learned that Google kept collecting their location data regardless of how they adjust the setting.

With the latest update, Google tells the user that they can stop location tracking by turning off the Web & App Activity and Location History. 

How To Turn Off Location History

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the Top-Right Corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side Panel. 
  • Check if Location History is On.
  • Click on Location History.
  • On the Next Screen, tap the Toggle and Hit Pause.
  • For Turning Off Web & App Activity. Follow the previously mentioned guidelines.

Youtube History

Google records all your search histories and saves the Youtube Videos that you watch. Youtube remembers all your History. It gives you recommendations based on your activities. 

With the latest update, you can browse your history, clear it, and even pause your Youtube history recording. Let’s not forget that Youtube is not a site to stream your favorite videos. But instead, Youtube has turned into a social network. So you would need to customize your data sharing features of what Google records and shares.

How To Turn Off Youtube History

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the Top-Right Corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side Panel. 
  • Check if Youtube History is On.
  • Click on Youtube History.
  • Click the Toggle and Hit Pause.
  • For Turning Off Web & App Activity. Follow the previously mentioned guidelines.

Clear Your History From Google Services

Pausing Web & App Activity provides you with a noticeable boost in your privacy. But remember, it disables some particular Google product features. If you are not comfortable with how Google presents you with its services, you can leave the Web & Activity service.

Google includes a new feature in the last update that deletes some of the data collected after 3 or 18 months. It depends on which option you choose. Or you can clear your Web & APP activity history manually. 

Google would have extracted all the data for advertising around this time. So this is not a full-proof method to protect your privacy. But it’s better to clear your data from a corporate server. This auto-delete feature for new users is automatically enabled. 

How To Delete Your Web & Activity History – Automatically

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Web & App Activity.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Auto-Delete.
  • Choose whichever option suits you better.

How To Delete Your Web & Activity History – Manually

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Web & App Activity.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Manage Activity.
  • Click on the three dots in the Search Bar.
  • Click on Delete Activity by.
  • Choose whichever option suits you better.
  • Select which Apps History do you want to Delete.
  • Click Next.
  • Click on Delete.

How To Delete Your Location History – Automatically

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Location History.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Auto-Delete.
  • Choose whichever option suits you better.

How To Delete Your Location History – Manually

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Location History.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Manage Activity.
  • Click on the Trash Icon.
  • Check on “I Understand and want to delete all my Location History.”
  • Click on Delete Location History.

How To Delete Your Youtube History – Automatically

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side Panel. 
  • Click on Youtube History.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Auto-Delete.
  • Choose whichever option suits you better.

How To Delete Your Youtube History – Manually

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Youtube History.
  • On the Next Screen, Click on Manage Activity.
  • Click on the three dots in the Search Bar.
  • Click on Delete Activity by.
  • Choose whichever option suits you better.
  • Click Next.
  • Click on Delete.

Limiting Data Sharing With Sites And Services

Sharing data with third-party apps like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or any other App is essential for users. Some third-party apps need data like contacts, galleries, or files on Google Drive to entertain you with the features they provide. 

The sharing of data between third-party apps is a privacy trade-off. You might be a victim of personalized advertisement. Because of the apps you are using or any website you visited, you logged in with your Google Account. The better option is to review which apps are connected to your Google Account and remove permission from the ones you don’t use anymore. 

How To Limit Data Sharing

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the Top-Right Corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Security From the Left Side Panel.
  • Click on Manage Third Party Access.
  • Select the App which you no longer need.
  • Click on Remove Access.
  • Select Ok. 

Making Advertisements A Little Less Personalized

The advertisements control doesn’t allow you to turn off advertisements. It makes your advertisements a little less personal. Google allows the user to split their personal preferences from the online ads they see for people who want to hide their internet activity. 

How to Turn Off Personalized Advertisements

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the top-right corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Data and Personalisation from the left side panel. 
  • Click on Ads Personalization.
  • Toggle “Ads Personalization is ON” to OFF.
  • Select Turn OFF.

Security Features

Two-Step Verification is one of the easiest ways with which you can enhance your security. Google will send you a verification code via a text message or a notification through your application. Google sends the code to confirm your identity every time someone tries to log in your Google ID from an unverified browser, device, or location. 

Once two-step verification is On, you can also add Single-Use Codes. You can print it out and use it if you don’t have access to your phone. You can even have a physical security key that can be plugged into your device’s USB port to confirm your identity rather than a text message.

How To Turn On Two-Step Verification

  • Sign-In to your Google Account.
  • On Google’s Homepage, click the icon on the Top-Right Corner.
  • Select Manage Your Google Account.
  • Select Security From the Left Side Panel.
  • Click on Two-Step Verification.
  • Select Get Started.

Setting Up Google Chrome For Privacy

When you Sync with your Google Account, your browsing data gets stored on Google Servers. It includes the websites you visit, your saved passwords, and bookmarks. 

With the latest update, you can opt-out of automatic sign-ins, which helps keep you secured until you do not login into Google Chrome by yourself. 

To Turn Off Google Chrome’s Automatic Sign-in

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Click on the three dots on the top-right.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Select Sync & Google Services.
  • Turn Off “Allow Chrome Sign-in.”

To Sign-Out Of Google Chrome

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Tap on the icon of your Profile Picture on the top-right.
  • Click on Sign Out.

To Turn Off Google Chrome’s Sync Settings

  • Open Google Chrome.
  • Click on the three dots on the top-right.
  • Click on Settings.
  • Select Sync & Google Services.
  • Click on Manage Sync.
  • Select Switch off the “Sync Everything” Toggle.
  • Switch off the toggles for some or all the categories.

Towards the end, we can only hope that you’ve learned how to change your privacy settings, and you’ll practice it for sure.