Google launches auto-delete controls for Location History on iOS and Android

Google has always argued that the data it collects does more than provide power for its targeted ad empire — it also makes its services more useful. But not everyone thinks that Google should be able to suck up a never-ending stockpile of personal data on its users. Today, Google is taking a step towards giving users more control over some of their data with the launch of a new feature that automatically deletes Location History data on iOS and Android devices.

The company pre-announced the feature back in May, just ahead of its annual developer conference Google I/O.

Google had said at the time that location history could help it make better recommendations — like suggesting a restaurant you may like, for example. However, Google amasses what some would say is a “creepy” amount of user data, right down to a map of everywhere you’ve ever been.

The new controls will allow you to set Google to erase its collection of location data on your every 3 months or every 18 months, depending on your preference.

To do so, you’ll first visit your Google Account‘s My Activity section and tap the new “choose to delete automatically” option in the Location History area.

From the screen that appears next, you can choose which time frame you prefer — 3 or 18 months. You can also opt to delete data manually — something you can do at any time. This is the default setting.

The controls are rolling out today on iOS and Android, says Google.

These rollouts take time so you may not see the settings for yourself right away.

If you’d rather stop Google from gathering any data in the first place, you can still choose to entirely toggle off its various data collection settings one-by-one — including Web & App Activity, Location History, Device Information, Voice & Audio Activity, YouTube Search History, and YouTube Watch History.