No matter where you go online, you are being tracked. Apps and websites constantly monitor your activity and collect your data for all sorts of reasons. Your physical location, shopping behavior, and media consumption habits all leave a mark every time you pick up your phone.

If privacy is a big deal for you, that’s enough to invite a lot of fear and anxiety. In this guide, we will show you eight ways to stop your Android phone from tracking you.


1. Turn off location, Wi-Fi and mobile data

The easiest way to stop your Android phone from tracking you is to simply turn off location tracking, Wi-Fi, and mobile data. Restricting these services makes your phone unable to connect to the outside world. If you want to take it a step further and also block your cellular network, just enable Airplane mode.

You can do this by going to your Quick Settings panel. Although convenient, this solution is not ideal because you obviously need an active internet connection and a cellular network to use your phone as usual. Still, if you need peace of mind, this method helps.

2. Pause or delete your Google activity

It’s no news to anyone at this point that Google has a lot of data on you. This data is divided into three categories: web and app activity, location history, and YouTube history. You can view and manage this data in the Google app.

Follow the steps below to suspend your Google activity:

  1. Open the Google app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Faucet Manage your Google Account and go to Data Privacy tongue.
  3. Under History settings, tap Web & App Activity > Disable > Pause.
  4. Do the same for Location History and YouTube history.

Follow the steps below to delete your Google activity:

  1. Under History settings, tap Web and app activity > Manage all web and app activity.
  2. Faucet Filter by date & product in case you only want to delete particular items.
  3. Faucet Wipe off and select if you want to delete the activity from the Last hour, Last day, All the timeor define a custom range.
    • You can also touch Configure automatic deletions to delete your activity at regular intervals. Select to automatically delete activities older than three, 18, or 36 months.
  4. You may be prompted to select the activity to delete on the next screen. Select your activity and press Next > Delete.
  5. Do the same for Location history and YouTube history.

3. Disable personalized search results

Another way to limit tracking on your phone is to stop seeing personal search results. This means that when you search for something on Google, you will no longer see the results that are most relevant to you, but rather more general results on the topic you are looking for.

Here’s how:

  1. Open the Google app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Go to Settings > Custom Results.
  3. Tap the toggle switch to turn off personal search results.

4. Disable Ads Personalization

Similar to the last point, you can also stop seeing personalized ads if they get a bit too intrusive for your comfort level. Note that this does not mean that you will stop seeing ads altogether; you will still see ads, but they just won’t be as relevant to you.

To opt out of ads personalization, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google app and tap your profile picture.
  2. Faucet Manage your Google Account and go to Data Privacy tongue.
  3. Under Ads settings, tap Personalization of ads.
  4. Tap the toggle switch to turn off personalized ads.

5. Delete your Advertising ID

Every Android device has a unique advertising ID that contains information about the user, their preferences, habits, etc. You can delete the Advertising ID stored on your device to prevent apps from using it to show you personalized ads and content.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > Google > Ads.
  2. Faucet Remove Advertising ID and press Remove Advertising ID again to confirm.
    • Alternatively, you can also press Reset Advertising ID start from scratch.

6. Remove Unused App Permissions

There are a variety of permissions such as your location, camera, microphone, calendar, files, and call logs that you instinctively grant to an app when you install it. With these permissions, apps can access, store, and use your data for advertising purposes. Fortunately, you can remove these permissions at any time.

Here’s how:

  1. Go to Settings > Privacy > Permission Manager.
  2. Tap a permission to see which apps are using it.
  3. Tap an app under Allowed and select Don’t allow.
  4. If prompted with a warning, press Don’t allow anyway.
    • Alternatively, you can select ask every time Where Allow only when using app.

To see all the permissions an app has, go to its details page and select Permissions.

7. Uninstall apps you don’t need

It’s a simple rule that the more apps you have, the more tracking is possible. So, to minimize your chances of being tracked, it’s a good idea to uninstall non-essential apps on your phone. This includes preinstalled bloatware apps, social media apps, dating apps, fitness apps, and more.

Note that some pre-installed apps cannot be uninstalled. In that case, your only option is to turn them off to prevent them from running in the background, unless you want to risk rooting your Android phone, which isn’t a popular recommendation these days.

8. Switch to privacy-friendly alternatives

Since privacy is becoming an increasingly important issue, several developers have made it their mission to provide you with privacy-friendly apps and websites that you can use as an alternative to your current apps. For example, you can use Brave instead of Google Chrome, replace the Google Play Store with its alternatives, and ditch WhatsApp for Signal.

Do not download anti-tracking apps as they are unreliable and often end up collecting your data for advertising purposes which defeats their purpose.

Prevent your Android phone from being tracked

No matter how hard you try to disable tracking on your phone, it’s virtually impossible for you to become completely untraceable. As long as your phone is with you, it’s likely to send data out to the outside world, even if you’re using privacy-friendly apps.

In fact, there are a number of lawsuits against Google claiming that the company tracks its users despite disabling location history and other similar settings.

It’s the unfortunate side effect of having increasingly integrated technology ecosystems around us. The more connected you are to technology, the easier it becomes to track you. Luckily, there are ways to at least reduce how often you are tracked.