Save Your Google Maps Timeline Data Before Google Deletes It
Save Your Google Maps Timeline Data Before Google Deletes It

Once known as Location History, Google Maps’ Timeline feature is a fun way to view a chronicle of the places you’ve visited, and routes to took to get there. You don’t need to do anything to keep tabs on your adventures, as Google Maps simply logs your precise location at random times—even when you aren’t using a Google app.

Your Timeline data has traditionally been tied to your Google Account. Any time you use a connected device to go on a trip, you’re able to access that data anywhere you’ve signed into your Google Account. That’s convenient, but not the most privacy-conscious option—especially for a feature that continuously logs your precise location in the background.

However, as reported by Android Police, Google is transitioning away from Timeline, at least on the web. Going forward, the plan is to generate and keep Timeline data on your device itself. While you can still preserve your previous Timeline escapades and link them to your current device, going forward, each device will generate its own data that will never be sent to the cloud. That means if you use your iPhone as your main Google Maps GPS device but take an Android phone on an individual road trip, neither device will know about the other’s adventures. As a byproduct of this change, Google will no longer display any Timeline data on the web, as all data will be locked to users’ devices.

Here’s where things get a bit dicey: Google may also delete your past Timeline data unless you take action. The company said in an email sent to affected users that it will “try” to save the last 90 days of Timeline data from the first device you use with your Google Accounts after Dec. 1, 2024. Older data will simply be erased.

How to preserve your Google Maps Timeline data

Luckily, it’s easy enough to keep the Timeline data you already have. According to Google’s email to users, you first need to update the Google Maps app on the device you’d like to save the data to. (Remember, this data saves to specific devices now, so you’ll only be able to access it from this one device.) From there, you should receive a prompt via push notification, email, or in-app notification. Follow the instructions, tap Done, and you’ll be all set.

As noted, the deadline is Dec. 1, 2024, so you have nearly six months to get this done. Still, if you really care about Timeline, it might be better to set it up on your preferred device at your earliest convenience. Also consider backing up your Timeline data. That way, if you move devices, you’ll be able to restore it.

That said, if you don’t have Timeline enabled, you will need to enable it from your general Google Account settings first. (I didn’t have the feature turned on myself. When I try to access Timeline from the web after enabling it, I get a pop-up that tells me the feature isn’t available on the web anymore, and to use the app instead. Oh well.)


Credit: Lifehacker

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