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Revealed: Google Maps is collecting all your personal data. Here’s what you can do about it

google maps on iphone

Recent research from the financial publication Forbes has revealed that Google Maps is collecting significantly more personal data than its Apple counterpart. Details like your personal contact information and your financial details are potentially being collected and stored every time you use Google Maps.

The alternative for iPhone users is to switch to using the native Apple Maps instead. Which, thanks to the latest slew of iOS updates, will do a much better job of anonymising and protecting your personal information.

How much personal data does Google Maps store?

The problem is not so much how much data the two apps store, but rather the type of data. Google Maps collects data that is linked directly to your personal Google profile. Information such as financial info, contact info, user content, browsing history, contacts, etc, can all be linked back to you, making it more difficult to anonymise. If that was ever Google’s intention.

In contrast, Apple Maps collects data that is not linked to you. As you can see below, it might collect data on your location (not surprising as it’s a map), health & fitness (to potentially count your steps) as well as usage data, search history and diagnostics.

Google Maps vs Apple Maps

Apple made a big point at its recent WWDC event to put privacy and security at the top of its list of priorities. It promised to restrict the amount of personal information collected by the company and other third parties when using Apple devices.

This is easy enough for Apple to say, since it makes the majority of its money from device sales. IPhone sales generate revenue that can then be re-invested into improving products like Apple Maps. Google, on the other hand, is heavily reliant on advertising dollars to make a profit, and capturing as much personal data as possible in order to build out your profile is vital to its business strategy.

If you want to switch to Apple Maps for good, check out our latest iPhone deals.

Latest iPhone deals

Google Maps vs Apple Maps

Google Maps vs Apple Maps

When Apple Maps launched in 2012, there was little excitement about a somewhat inferior alternative to Google Maps, and few, if any, iPhone users made the switch.

However, Apple Maps has come a long way since then, and has plans to even further improve its service to compete with Google Maps. In a recent press release, Apple recently said: “Apple is committed to building the world’s best map, and iOS 15 takes Maps even further with brand new ways to navigate and explore.

“Users will experience significantly enhanced details in cities for neighborhoods, commercial districts, elevation, and buildings, new road colors and labels, custom-designed landmarks, and a new night-time mode with a moonlit glow. This is a whole new way of looking at the world through Maps.”

But even though Apple Maps has greatly improved, it’s almost impossible to completely replace Google Maps with it., especially if you have a Gmail account or ever search for directions on Google (which I’m pretty sure most of us have done at some point recently).

Changing your Google Maps privacy settings

To limit the amount of data Google Maps can collect on your iPhone, navigate to Settings -> Privacy -> Location Services. Then select one of 'never,' 'ask next time,' 'while using the app,' or 'always' option for each app.

You can also visit Google's location activity controls page to limit the tracking of your location activity across all your Google signed-in devices.

Simply click on the slider to turn it grey. This will pause your location activity and prevent Google from saving where you go even when you aren't using a specific Google service.

If you want to switch to Apple Maps for good, check out our latest iPhone deals.

Latest iPhone deals

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