Use Incognito Mode To Hide Where You Go In Google Maps

There are many reasons why you might want to track some of the locations you visit in Google Maps, but maybe not all of them. You might not want your friends and loved ones (with access to your phone or account) to know you hit up the local dispensary. Perhaps you’re planning a surprise party for someone and need to visit the venue a few times to prepare. You could also be paranoid about location-tracking; that’s fine, too.

Incognito mode, like what you’d find in your Chrome browser, allows you to turn off the app’s location-tracking feature (temporarily). While you can also turn this off for good, if you want, I find Incognito mode to be a happy compromise. I like knowing where I’ve been, but maybe Google doesn’t need to know everywhere I’ve been.

To get started using Incognito mode, make sure you’re running the latest version of Google Maps. The feature has been out for the Android version of the app for some time, and just started rolling out to iOS users today.

Pull up Google Maps and look for your photo in the upper-right corner. Tap it.

Screenshot: David Murphy

Once you’ve done that, you should see the option to “Turn on Incognito mode” Tap it.

Screenshot: David Murphy

You’ll now see a little box at the bottom of your screen that tells you what Incognito mode is all about. It’s worth a quick read.

Screenshot: David Murphy

And to make it easy to see that you’re using Incognito Mode, look for your photo again. It’s been replaced by a fun little detective hat and glasses, since you’re all mysterious and disguised (to Google Maps, at least). Your Google Maps will also indicate that you’re running Incognito mode at the top of the app.

Screenshot: David Murphy


    There are many things I love about Google Maps and a few I hate. I do hate the fact that I am tracked everywhere I go along with the speed I'm going, direction etc. But the flip side of that coin is that there are a lot of people being tracked and so when Maps says it'll take 29 minutes to get there, in 29 minutes I am there. It's because everyone is being tracked that Maps can then predict, with a high level of certainty, when you will arrive based on all that data it collected.

    If we all stopped sharing that info, we would be back to a situation where we wouldn't know. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing, but I for one do love the accuracy of good data collection.

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