Protecting people’s privacy on health topics
Editor’s note – May 12, 2023
Last year, we launched an important update to Location History. We remain committed to improving the experience and making it as helpful as possible. We wanted to clarify additional details about how it works and share an update we’re making to further protect user privacy.
Location History is off by default, but if you choose to turn it on and our systems identify that you’ve visited certain locations that can be particularly personal, we will delete those entries from Location History soon after you visit. To estimate where you are, we rely on several sources, like GPS and Wi-Fi, so accuracy can be impacted by a variety of factors, like whether you’re inside a building, in a dense area or underground.
This deletion applies to certain medical facilities, including counseling centers, domestic violence shelters, abortion clinics, fertility centers, addiction treatment facilities, weight loss clinics, cosmetic surgery clinics, and others. If you visit a general purpose medical facility (like a hospital), the visit may persist.
We continue to look for ways to improve the user experience and make it more intuitive. For instance, currently, you can manually add or confirm a visit to a particularly personal place, which may cause the entry to persist. To prevent the inadvertent creation of persistent entries, we’ll soon be rolling out an update where you will no longer be able to add such an entry, and you won’t be prompted to confirm such a visit.
As always, we’re committed to providing clear, easy-to-use controls to help you manage your location data. As a reminder, you can delete all or part of your information at any time, or set up auto-delete controls.