Skip to main content

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.

Editors' Recommendations

Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Google Chrome is getting the Android tablet update you’ve been waiting for
Google Chrome app on s8 screen.

Google today announced the release of its redesign for the Chrome app on Android tablets. After long being neglected on the big screen, especially in comparison to Apple's or Samsung's browsers, Google says it'll be rebuilding the browser to help you get work done faster with a tablet or other large-screened device.

These updates can be broken down into design and functionality improvements, and we'll be kicking things off with the redesign. The first change adds a new side-by-side design when using Chrome paired with another app. This comes with an auto-scroll back feature so you can swipe between tabs, hiding the close buttons when your tabs are too small to prevent mis-taps — plus the inclusion of a restore feature.

Read more
Google is paying a historic $85 million fine after illegally tracking Android phones
Google Logo

Google will be paying Arizona $85 million in a settlement over a 2020 lawsuit that claimed the company was illegally tracking Android users for targeted advertising.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Attorney General Mark Brnovich filed a lawsuit in May 2020 claiming that Google violated the state's Consumer Fraud Act by gathering location data from Android users, even after people turned off their location settings. At the time, Google's own employees were confused about its privacy controls, admitting that it could use some fine-tuning so that when users deny the company permission to track their data, it has to respect their decision.

Read more
Google gives Maps’ Immersive View a boost and adds a new vibe feature
An aerial view of London on Google Maps.

Google is continuing its never-ending work of enhancing Maps, with four new updates coming to the app on Wednesday.

First up, the team has been working to expand the coverage of Immersive View. Google started rolling out the feature in July, offering remarkably detailed 3D fly-arounds of famous landmarks and layering it with useful information such as the weather, traffic conditions, and the general busyness of the area. It can do this for the current time or, by examining historical trends, for a future date. Immersive View will also let you zoom in from an aerial view right into, say, a restaurant of interest, at which point the software flips to Street View in order to take you right inside, if the imagery is available.

Read more