You're using Google Maps WRONG! Genius trick saves you time and data

You’re using Google Maps WRONG! Genius trick will save you time and data while using the navigation app abroad

  • TikTok user @jessicawantsanap has shared a video explaining her genius trick 
  • It involves creating a bespoke map with all the sites you want to see
  • You can download this to access offline – saving you both time and data 

It’s the go-to navigational app for millions of people around the world. 

But despite many of us using Google Maps on a daily basis, there are a number of sneaky features you might not be making use of.  

TikTok user @jessicawantsanap has shared a video explaining the genius trick she uses to save both time and data while using Google Maps abroad. 

In response to her video, one TikToker joked: ‘Ma’am please kiss me because this is legit the best most practical travel advice I have come across on this app.’ 

The best (practical) way to plan a trip! #planningatrip #tripplanning #travel #traveltiktok #travelplanner #travelplanning #hotels #airbnb #googlemaps #googlemymaps #maps #wheretostay #travellife #realistic #realtalk #practical #practicalplanner #20s #twenties #mid20s #midtwenties #sf #bayarea #tips #advice #advicetiktok

TikTok user @jessicawantsanap has shared a video explaining the genius trick she uses to save both time and data while using Google Maps abroad

While your first thought when visiting a new city might be to search for accomodation, Jessica recommends turning to Google Maps first.  

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‘Don’t book an Airbnb or hotel yet,’ she explained. ‘You are going to make a Google Map first.’

To do this, open Google Search on your computer and search for Google My Maps, before clicking on the first link. 

Next, click the red button titled ‘Create New Map.’ 

Using the search bar, look up any attractions you want to explore while you’re in the city, whether it’s tourist hotspots, restaurants or bars. 

These will appear in the list on the left of the screen – simply click the + next to them to pin them to your map. 

‘Definitely pin your transportation too, because sometimes you really do want to be next to the train station or airport,’ Jessica advised. 

Once all the key sites are pinned, Jessica suggests doing a quick Google Search for the best areas to stay in the city, before comparing that to your map. 

‘Now you know where the best place for you to stay is based on what you want to do,’ she said. 

To access the map on your smartphone, simply open the Google Maps app, tap the Saved tab and then Maps at the bottom. 

Your bespoke map will make it easier to plan your trip, revealing which of your sites are closest to one another without having to search for them individually.

To access the map on your smartphone, simply open the Google Maps app, tap the Saved tab and then Maps at the bottom

‘Sometimes you just want to wander and deviate from the itinerary, but you can always pull this map up at any time just to see what you’re close to,’ she added. 

Best of all, you can download the map while you’ve got WiFi, meaning you don’t have to waste precious data to use it abroad.  

Several impressed users commented on Jessica’s TikTok to praise her trick. 

‘I feel like my life has just been SAVED, when I went to Japan I literally had 2 sheets full of things to do in areas organised,’ one user wrote. 

‘The way I’ve spent hours googling every address to see how close/far they were away from the hotel or attractions…THANK YOU,’ another added. 

And one joked: ‘Let me just say, this is the first video I have ever added to my favourites lol.’ 


Even if you have ‘Location History’ off, Google often stores your precise location. 

Here’s how to delete those markers and some best-effort practices that keep your location as private as possible.

But there’s no panacea, because simply connecting to the internet on any device flags an IP address that can be geographically mapped.

Smartphones also connect to cell towers, so your carrier knows your general location at all times.

To disable tracking on any device

Fire up your browser and go to You’ll need to be logged into Google.

On the upper left drop-down menu, go to ‘Activity Controls.’ Turn off both ‘Web & App Activity’ and ‘Location History.’ 

That should prevent precise location markers from being stored to your Google account.

Google will warn you that some of its services won’t work as well with these settings off. 

In particular, neither the Google Assistant, a digital concierge, nor the Google Home smart speaker will be particularly useful.

On iOS

If you use Google Maps, adjust your location setting to ‘While Using’ the app. This will prevent the app from accessing your location when it’s not active. 

Go to Settings Privacy Location Services and from there select Google Maps to make the adjustment.

In the Safari web browser, consider using a search engine other than Google. 

Under Settings Safari Search Engine, you can find other options like Bing or DuckDuckGo. 

You can turn location off while browsing by going to Settings Privacy Location Services Safari Websites, and turn this to ‘Never.’ 

This still won’t prevent advertisers from knowing your rough location based on IP address on any website.

You can also turn Location Services off to the device almost completely from Settings Privacy Location Services.

 Both Google Maps and Apple Maps will still work, but they won’t know where you are on the map and won’t be able to give you directions. 

Emergency responders will still be able to find you if the need arises.

On Android

Under the main settings icon click on ‘Security & location.’ Scroll down to the ‘Privacy’ heading. Tap ‘Location.’ You can toggle it off for the entire device.

Use ‘App-level permissions’ to turn off access to various apps. 

Unlike the iPhone, there is no setting for ‘While Using.’ 

You cannot turn off Google Play services, which supplies your location to other apps if you leave that service on.

Sign in as a ‘guest’ on your Android device by swiping down from top and tapping the downward-facing cursor, then again on the torso icon.

 Be aware of which services you sign in on, like Chrome. You can also change search engines even in Chrome.

To delete past location tracking on any device 

On the page, look for any entry that has a location pin icon beside the word ‘details.’ 

Clicking on that pops up a window that includes a link that sometimes says ‘From your current location.’ 

Clicking on it will open Google Maps, which will display where you were at the time.

You can delete it from this popup by clicking on the navigation icon with the three stacked dots and then ‘Delete.’

Some items will be grouped in unexpected places, such as topic names,, Search, or Maps. 

You have to delete them item by item. You can wholesale delete all items in date ranges or by service, but will end up taking out more than just location markers.

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