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The Best Google Maps Alternatives That Care About Your Privacy


Google Maps may be the most convenient navigation service, but that doesn’t mean it’s the safest.

Google Maps is used by over a billion people every month. And these people offer about 20 million updates daily. Which in itself means a huge amount of data for Google.

There are reasons why so many people use Google Maps: it’s arguably the easiest mapping service to use; he also has access to the latest information. But it wouldn’t be a Google product if it didn’t collect a lot of data about you. This is done through the application and the GPS location settings of the phone, which is always in your pocket. As a result, Google knows a lot about your location.

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The level of what Google knows can be seen in your location timeline. All the little red dots shown on the map show where you’ve been and when. For example, the service shows 461 places that I visited before I turned off location settings in early 2019.

If you wish to disable the collection of your location data, you can do so in your Google Account settings by clicking on the link. There is also an option to automatically delete future location history every three or 18 months. This will prevent Google from storing your location data when you are not using its services.

You can also turn off web and activity tracking, as other Google services and products may collect information about your location. “Location data can be saved as part of your search and maps activity when the web and apps activity setting is turned on. This also applies to your photos, depending on the settings of the camera app, "the company said in a statement.

Location data is different from the other types of data Google collects about you because it’s hard to use map services without giving away your location. There is one thing you can do on your phone to control how much data Google Maps collects: Limit when Google Maps can access your location. With Android and iOS settings, you can only share your location with maps when the app is running, instead of all the time.

A truly private mapping service has not been developed for every platform. But there are other app options that don’t store or collect as much of your data or share it with other companies. Here are a few alternatives you might consider as a replacement for Google Maps.


OpenStreetMap is the Wikipedia of applications. It was created by the people who use it, and all information is open data, meaning anyone can reuse the maps for anything. The application constantly collects real-time data from people using GPS devices, aerial photography and other free sources of information. If you’re going somewhere and the map doesn’t match, then you can create an account and suggest changes.

The application does not have any specific features, but it is quite capable of providing you with correct data on the future route (by car, bike or on foot). The program is also owned by a non-profit organization. Its privacy policy states that some data is collected, but it is not associated with user profiles. You don’t have to sign in to use the app and there are no ads either.

OpenStreetMap is primarily web-based. It is optimized for smartphones, but there are no official apps provided by the OpenStreetMap Foundation. However, there are third-party applications that use its data. Maps.Me has downloadable maps that can be opened offline, however, unfortunately, you will be shown ads.


This app is built using OpenStreetMap data, but it also comes with a lot of extra features that you can use. These include map downloads for offline use, travel guides and ski maps.

The app has no ads, but the company claims that it "aggregates anonymized data that cannot identify the user." This may include how often the app is used, your phone model, and the country where it was downloaded. The firm’s privacy policy states that it "does not collect, store, process or share any personal information of users, except when such information is provided by people with their consent."

Apple Maps

This application, of course, is only suitable if you are using iOS. However, Apple has gone further than almost any other company in the world to make its mapping app private. It is the most convenient alternative to Google. Apple Maps has grown significantly in quality from the initial flaws they had when they launched back in 2012.

Apple Maps does not associate data with your Apple ID, and any information comes with random identifiers that reset themselves periodically. "Maps will convert the exact location where your search began to an approximate location in 24 hours," the company said in a statement. "Apple doesn’t keep a history of what you’ve searched for or where you’ve been." And when you save locations across devices, end-to-end encryption is used so the company can’t access that data.


If you want to use an application released by a well-known company, then you have come to the right place. It is owned by a consortium of automotive brands including Audi, BMW and Daimler. As a result, there’s a lot of focus on location and navigation services, but it’s also worth noting that the company sells data to firms like Amazon and Garmin.

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The maps are detailed and can be downloaded for offline use as well as for driving and navigation. The privacy policy states that the company uses random identifiers tied to your personal data that do not identify you. However, the app will show you ads based on location and behavior. “For example, if you request weather information, you may be provided with promotional content tailored to that location,” the privacy policy says. The Company may "use or share your non-personal data" without any restrictions to its existing or future business partners, researchers and advertisers.

This article is a manual translation of material from Wired magazine.

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