How to Find Your Location History in Google Maps or iPhone

Here's how to see your location history and opt in or out

What to Know

  • Google Maps: Enable location history in Activity Controls, then go to the Google Maps Timeline for a detailed view of your travels.
  • iPhone: Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Significant Locations. View your location history.
  • Apple offers a less detailed location history than Google. Toggle off Significant Locations on your iPhone to disable this feature.

This article explains how to view your location history using data from Google Maps or data from your iPhone's location services. iPhone instructions cover iOS 12 and later.

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View Your Google Location History

To see your location history in Google Maps, you must be logged in to your Google account, and you need to have been logged into your Google account on your smartphone or laptop as you moved about locally or traveled in the past.

After you are logged in to Google, go to www.google.com/maps/timeline on a desktop or laptop web browser or your smartphone. You are presented with a map-enabled search utility. In the location history control panel on the left, select the date segments you want to see, in one-day through seven-day increments, or up to 14-day or 30-day increments.

After you select the date segments and ranges, your location and a travel trail of your positions for the time period displays. These tracks are zoomable, and you can get a detailed history of your travels. You may also delete history from this time period, or delete your entire history from the database. This is part of Google's effort to offer both transparency and user control when it comes to private location data.

For Google to track your location, you must enable location history in your Activity Controls. Disable location history if you don't want Google to track you.

Apple iOS & iPhone Location History How-To

Apple provides less location history data and less detail. However, you can see some history. Here's how you find your information:

  1. Go to the Settings app on your iPhone.

  2. Scroll down and tap Privacy.

  3. Tap Location Services and scroll to the bottom.

    iOS Settings screens showing Privacy and Location Services
  4. Tap System Services.

  5. Scroll to Significant Locations (called Frequent Locations in some versions of iOS). You can turn this feature off with the toggle switch at the top of the Significant Locations screen.

  6. You'll find your location history at the bottom, with location names and dates.

    iOS screenshots showing System Services, Significant Locations
  7. You can now see everything that Apple sees.

Apple stores a limited number of locations and doesn't provide precise travel tracks and timelines like Google. It provides a location, a date, and an approximate position circle on a non-interactive (you can't pinch-to-zoom it) map. If you don't want Apple to track you, toggle off Significant Locations in your iPhone's Settings app.

How Location Services Work

Not many people know that the location awareness of their portable devices and software extends to tracking and recording their location history, as well. In the case of Google, if you opt-in to Places You've Been in your account settings, your location history consists of a detailed and searchable data file with a visible trail, organized by date and time. Apple provides less information but keeps, and displays at your request, a record of your recently visited places, without the detailed trail feature that Google offers.

Both Google and Apple provide these history files with assurances about privacy, and you can opt-out, or, in the case of Google, erase your location history.

These are useful services that help you as long as you're aware of them and have them opted into your comfort level. In some situations, location history could play an important role in legal or rescue situations.

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