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Google’s Location History is Still Recording Your Every Move — Or Is It??

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Google's location history is still recording your every move — or is it??  I like location history, but I have had many issues with it — and understanding the data it provides.

Sometimes on my kid's phones, there is NO location history for days, and I can't figure out why.  So I tried to "troubleshoot" and here is what I found:

1.  Is the phone on?  Duh.  Yes

2.  Does she have internet?  Yes, I can verify remotely that she has internet/data package active.

3.  Is her "location" service on?  Yes, even Google Location History is reporting that her "Location" service is on, except that this only means that "as of her last connection" it was on.  The truth spy reports the same:  "as of her last connection", location service was on.

4.  But is her "location" service ON RIGHT NOW???  I don't know.

5.  Is her "MOBILE DATA SETTING" set to "ON" RIGHT NOW???  I don't know that either.

 

Why is Google Location History so inaccurate?  I have had a difficult time with this question — and an almost impossible time getting accurate answers.

1.  The most reasonable explanation I have been able to find is about the METHOD that Google Location History uses to track location:

Location History only uses mobile cell tower IDs and WiFi location detection to collect location data. This means that the accuracy can vary significantly.

In other words, Google does NOT use the GPS setting for the highest accuracy.  So it doesn't matter if your phone is set to "Highest accuracy using GPS" or "Batter Saving using Wifi and Cell Towers", you are going to get the same location data.

I read on Google's Map page that if tracking by "Cell tower: Your connection to a cellular network can be accurate up to a few thousand meters."

 

When I am not connected to Wifi/Data/Internet, does my phone store my locations locally, and then update Location History with all of the places I visited when I had no internet?

The simple answer today is "NO".

Allegedly, Google Location History "DID" support offline travel storage and data upload upon connection.  Everything I have read however, indicates that this is no longer an accurate representation of the service provided.

PLUS, one reader provided me with information that contradicts other valid information I have received, but also makes sense.

You said the phone was in Battery Saving Mode.  In this mode, location is being reported by WIFI and cell tower ID.  Because of the inaccuracy of this reporting method, your user may be located in the same tower area for days, hence the lack of updates to the online reporting.

But this contradicts what I have been provided as "accurate" information previously that states that "Location History" does not use GPS, only Cell Tower ID and WIFI.

Another reader sent me this suggestion: "change the mode to "High Accuracy" instead of "Battery Saving" and see whether offline locations get logged or not."  I have not tried this yet.

 






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