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Google Maps’ Incognito mode finally goes live for Android users

Google started talking about Google Maps’ Incognito mode back in May 2019, and besides some news trickling out about the feature undergoing testing with a small group of users, we’ve heard little about it since.

Until now, that is.

An update to Google’s help pages posted in recent days reveals that Incognito mode for Google Maps is finally being rolled out, though for now only to Android users.

For those not in the know, the feature offers a quick-access privacy option that prevents your Google account storing your location data.

The only other way to erase your location data is by doing it manually, or by setting up the app to delete it at regular intervals, so Incognito mode makes the procedure a whole lot easier.

But as Google notes on its help pages, “turning on Incognito mode in Maps does not affect how your activity is used or saved by internet providers, other apps, voice search, and other Google services.”

You can enable Incognito mode in three simple steps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Tap on your profile picture
  3. Tap on Turn on Incognito mode

Google said the new feature is being rolled out in stages, though by the time you read this, it should be showing for everyone. If not, try again in a day or two after confirming you have the most recent version of the app loaded on your Android device.

No personalization, no offline maps …

Keep in mind, if you choose to keep Incognito mode enabled the whole time, Google won’t be able to personalize Maps with things like recommended places based on your previous movements. Also, features such as Offline Maps, Your Places, and Location Sharing will stop working when Incognito mode is on.

Finally, the Google Assistant microphone won’t be available in navigation when Incognito mode is enabled, but “OK, Google” will continue to work in the usual way. “Google Assistant is a system feature that isn’t a part of Incognito mode for Maps, so any information you share with it will be saved as usual,” the company said on its website.

There’s no word yet on when the feature will be available for iOS users, but we’ll be sure to update when it lands.

Google already offers an Incognito mode option for its Chrome web browser, as well as for YouTube, though its implementation has led to controversy in some quarters.

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