The official Google Maps app for the iPhone and iPod touch has been launched and it actually offers a fantastic user experience built on top of Google’s extensive real-time data and mapping information that they have built up over the years. The app is fast and fluid, contains 3D representations of certain buildings in certain localities, and even has an extremely functional – albeit in a beta stage – offering of voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation system. The problem is, the app is collecting user location data, which shouldn’t really come as a shock to most.
Fortunately, it is simple enough to turn this setting off. Google have done a great job in building a free of charge iOS 6 maps alternative, we will just run through a few simple steps to ensure that location privacy is maintained for those who want it. Bear in mind that on first launch of the app, the user is asked if they want their location data to be collected, but, in case you missed that screen and went forward without realizing, then simply follow the steps after the jump to turn this off.
Step 1: Install the Google Maps for iPhone 5 and iOS 6 from the iOS App Store. Launch the app from the home screen when downloaded.
Step 2: When the app has launched, select the Profile icon from the top right hand side of the navigation bar before selecting the Settings cog icon located in the same place.
Note: This requires the user to be logged in to the Maps app using a Google account.
Step 3: Select the About, Terms & Privacy button from the bottom of the display before selecting Terms & Privacy on the resulting screen.
Step 4: Select the Location Data Collection toward the bottom of the Terms page. On the resulting screen make sure that the Location Data Collection toggle is set of Off.
Following the above steps should ensure that the addresses and navigation directions that are visited within the new Maps app are not fed back to Google’s servers and added to their vast collection of user data. Of course, Google is collecting this information anonymously only, but it’s always good to have that peace of mind that comes with knowing private information isn’t being collected from our devices.