The Best Privacy-Friendly Alternatives to Google Maps

Google Maps is made use of by much more than a billion people today every thirty day period. And individuals people today send in much more than twenty million suggested updates every single working day. Improved instructions for you, much more facts for Google.

WIRED British isles

This tale at first appeared on WIRED British isles.

There are explanations why so quite a few people today use Google Maps: It’s arguably the simplest mapping provider to use and has the most up-to-day facts available. But it wouldn’t be a Google product if it did not accumulate heaps of facts about you. This can be collected by the Maps application, but also the GPS area settings of the mobile phone that is normally in your pocket. As a end result, there’s a lot Google is familiar with about your whereabouts.

The extent of what Google is familiar with can be found on your area timeline. All the minor crimson dots demonstrated on the map expose where by you’ve been and when. For me, it demonstrates 461 areas that I visited just before I turned the area settings off at the commence of 2019. (The most widespread: predictably, my home and WIRED’s London office environment.)

If you want to convert off area facts you can do this by your Google account listed here. There are also possibilities to car-delete future area record every a few or 18 months. This will end Google from accumulating facts about your area when you’re not making use of its providers.

You might also want to convert off website monitoring and activity, as other Google providers and products and solutions can assemble information about your area. “Location facts might be saved as element of activity on Lookup and Maps when your Web & Application Activity location is on, and integrated in your shots depending on your digicam application settings,” the enterprise suggests.

Area facts is different from the other sorts of facts Google gathers about you: Making use of mapping providers devoid of giving away your area is rather difficult. There’s one particular factor you can do on your mobile phone to restrict how considerably facts Google Maps gathers: restrict when Google Maps can accessibility your area. Through Android and iOS settings you can restrict Maps’ means to accessibility your area to when the application is in use, instead than at all times.

A really non-public maps provider doesn’t really exist for every platform. But there are other possibilities out there that never retailer and assemble as considerably of your facts or feed it back into a much larger profile of you. Here are the options you could take into account, and we’ve highlighted where by there might be opportunity privacy trade-offs you have to make.


OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of apps—it’s designed by the people today who use it and all the information is open facts, meaning any person can reuse the maps for everything. It’s kept up to day by people today making use of GPS equipment, aerial pictures, and other no cost resources of information. If you go somewhere and the map is not right, then you can produce an account and counsel modifications.

There aren’t quite a few extravagant attributes, but it’ll give you instructions (by means of vehicle, bicycle, or foot) and is run by a nonprofit group. Its privacy plan suggests some limited facts is collected but this is not linked to consumer profiles. You never have to log in to use it and there are also no adverts of any kind.

OpenStreetMap is mainly website-primarily based. It is optimized for smartphones, but there aren’t any formal apps provided by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. There are, nonetheless, third-bash apps that use its facts. These are likely to come with trade-offs. Maps.Me has downloadable maps that can be made use of offline, but also has adverts.


This mapping application is designed making use of OpenStreetMap’s facts but it also arrives with a host of added possibilities you can use. These include things like map downloads for offline use, journey guides, and ski maps.