How to disable location reporting in Google Search for iPhone and iPad

If you snagged the update to Google Search yesterday, you're probably ecstatic that you now have some of the features Android users have been enjoying including Google Now capabilities. You may have also noticed that it likes to use location services like crazy. If that bothers you or you're worried about conserving some battery when you don't need Google Search polling your location, you can disable location reporting within the app.

Here's how:

  1. Launch the Google Search app for iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the Settings icon in the upper right hand corner.
  3. Now tap on Privacy.
  4. Scroll down and towards the bottom, turn Location Reporting to Off.

That's it. Google Search will now not report your location unless you want it to.

iMore senior editor from 2011 to 2015.

  • Thank you!!!! I turned Now off due to location polling constantly. Now I can use it again.
  • Does this impact the usefulness?
  • How was it ever useful?
  • I don't know.... one would be it is ridiculously faster for search and better at understanding dictation than Siri. As for Google Now some people want their info centered and brought to them in one place. I opted out of using Google Now myself because it's a little to deep into your information for my liking.
  • No, I meant what was in the update. The search app already had that and I'm not is better than siri for search and understanding commands.
  • What came in the update is rolling GoogleNow (previously unavailable on iOS) in the Google Search app. Now when you launch search, it presents cards as part of GoogleNow. These cards contain relevant information that you would normally search for or use an app to get the information from, and the cards are present when you open the app, so they are there before you ask for them. The types of cards include weather, game scores, movie information, package shipping information, traffic to frequently visited locations and recently searched locations and other useful items like that. There are a total of 22 cards types on GoogleNow for iOS (27 on Android). This article is talking about disabling the Location Reporting aspect of GoogleNow (different from the search app just being able to use your location when you launch the app) to gather your location data in the background and use for relevant cards.
  • Yeah it does. Without your location, cards related to local weather, traffic to places, etc will be impacted. With location sharing turned off, the location services arrow goes away, and so does my card for traffic navigating to home. It hasn't come back. All a trade off.
  • Thanks Ally! I went to follow your instructions, then remembered that I never installed the Google Search app on any of my devices. This is my ultra-simple how-to:
    1. Go to the App Store.
    2. Search for DuckDuckGo
    3. Install DuckDuckGo
    4. Use DuckDuckGo for all searching. Very, very simple. Very, very effective.
  • One thing to note, also, is that the location reporting is opt-in anyway. Well, GoogleNow is opt-in, so if you did have the GoogleSearch app installed, it wouldn't have been active and reporting your location until after you launch the app and opt-in to GoogleNow anyway. This is probably something useful to have included in the article to begin with.
  • You need to read the 'What's New' description dated 29/04/2013 for the Google Search app. It states that the GPS doesn't remain on as it uses passive signals from cell towers and wifi hot spots.
  • Myself and many users who experienced the geolocation icon would beg to differ, so would my battery life yesterday. Maybe it's a bug, who knows - either way, my battery drained a heck of a lot faster yesterday than it normally does and that's the only thing that changed that pulls location.
  • And I'd have to beg to differ with your differ begging :P. I have no battery impact with leaving it on the past couple days. We even have a thread on the iMore forums tracking if people have actually seen a battery difference or not. Under the Google subsection of the forum.
  • I see comments on both sides. It's something people were asking about, so we responded with how to turn it off. Just like crashes, some only affect "some users" - I may experience something you don't due to different variables. That's why a lot of notes on updates say "fixes so and so issue SOME users were experiencing, not all" My geolocation symbol was consistent after installing Google Search, all the time. After I deleted it, it went away, reinstall, back. Battery drain. Disabling location reporting within the app fixed it for me. You don't have the issue, doesn't mean others don't.
  • That's fair comment Ally. In retrospect I've disabled Google Now as after running it for a 24 hour period I have notice a noticeable increase in battery power consumption.
  • No problem. Just giving my experience. That seems odd how it affects some people more than others.
  • Thanks for the tip, I have to turn this off immediately.
  • On a slightly related note -- if the battery is not the problem for you, and you want to leave location reporting on for the services, but are simply not keen on Google keeping that data, you can delete the saved location information at your account's location history page. This is most easily accessed from the "Location History" link right above the "Location Reporting" Ally mentioned. Deleting it will undoubtedly impact some of the predictive abilities of the service, but when using any service like this, people have to find their own level of comfort between convenience and privacy.
  • Thank you!
  • If anyone cares, here's Google's G+ post explaining that GPS is NOT running in the background.