How Google Knows My Location When I Use a VPN

Some users have reported to us that Google identified their Internet connection as coming from a country other than the country where our server is located.

For example, you are connected to one of our servers in Armenia, but Google detects that your connection comes from Russia.

It's not a bug in our VPN Service, and we don't have any IP leaks. In addition, we can't affect external services, and Google can determine your location despite using a VPN by collecting all kinds of location data through your browser, apps, and settings on your device. Fortunately, you can turn this data collection off.

 

1. Browser Data Collection - Your browser knows which Wi-Fi connection you're using. Meanwhile, Google (and other companies) collect a lot of data about Wi-Fi hotspots. Your Android phone automatically collects and forwards Wi-Fi BSSIDs (essentially their unique identifiers) and GPS coordinates to Google. So if you connect to Wi-Fi at a local coffee shop, for example, your Chrome browser automatically informs Google about it.

2. GPS - If you have GPS (geolocation) access turned on your device, the system can send your location to Google all the time.

3. Cookies and Location History - Websites store information about your preferences and configuration in cookies on your device. For example, when you visit a website for the first time from Germany, your device will store information about which location you were visiting for faster customization the next time you visit this site. This information can also be used to determine your actual or previous location.

There is also a more advanced system called Google Location History. This is an option in your Google account that stores a history of the locations you've been to. Whether you're connected via VPN or not, Google can determine your location using this stored data.

4. GSM Cell ID - There are publicly available databases with cell tower identifiers, and Google openly says that it collects this data for location services. So, even switching to mobile devices is not a real solution to this problem.

How to Prevent Google from Identifying My Location?

5. Turn Off Location Tracking in Your Google Account.

6. Firstly, disable and delete the location history in your Google Account:

  • Go to "My Actions".
  • Select "Location History".
  • Disable the location history.
  • Delete all previous location history.

7. Turn Off Location Tracking on Your Browser.

Every browser has a way to turn off location tracking and prevent location data from being sent to Google.

For Chrome, follow these steps:

  • Press the three dots in the top right corner to open the "Menu".

  • Scroll down and tap "Settings".

  • Scroll down to "Privacy and Security" and tap "Site Settings".

  • Scroll down to "Permissions" and press "Location".

  • Then deny sites access to the location.

You can also find instructions for Firefox, Safari, and Edge browsers.

8. Set Up Location Services on Your Phone

The best option for iPhone users is to turn off location services completely:

  • Go to "Settings", then "Privacy", then "Location Services".

  • Turn them off.

9. If you want to restrict access to your location to Google Maps only:

  • Select "Google Maps" in the settings.

  • Select "Location".

  • Select "Never" or "Only when using the app".

10. You can also turn off your exact location to give Google less data about where you are.

For Android users, it is much more difficult to write general instructions, as each phone model may have different settings depending on the manufacturer. The general instruction looks like this:

  • Go to "Settings" and look for "Location".

  • Turn off "Location" so that all apps cannot use your location.

  • Under "High Accuracy", turn off Wi-Fi scanning and Bluetooth scanning.

  • Find "Google Location Accuracy" and turn it off.

Skip the second step if you want some applications to be able to identify your location.

Get a Good VPN

If your VPN isn't hiding your location, that means you're using a free VPN. Instead, we recommend a great personal VPS with a Premium VPN Service (as well as OpenVPN, L2TP, etc.) that won't intentionally expose your data.

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