If the obvious privacy concerns don’t bother you, Google Location History can be quite a nice feature. It records and places in a Timeline all your trips and locations you’ve visited over the years along with photos you took in those locations. Users are usually prompted about it the first time they sign in with their Google Account on Android. There, you can choose to opt-in or don’t allow it. But, it seems that’s not the case for some who enabled the feature. Some users report that Google Location History and by extension Timeline are not working for them even if they enabled it.
If you are among those users, check the steps we listed below.
Why can’t I turn on Location History?
There are a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, make sure that Google Location History is enabled. After that, confirm that the Location service (GPS) is enabled from the Quick Access menu, at least for some time so Google can get your location stored.
If you still can’t see changes in Timeline, try fixing the problem by uninstalling updates from Google Maps or resetting your device to factory settings.
1. Make sure that Google Location History is enabled
The first thing you need to do is to turn on Google Location History. Usually, users are duly notified when they set up their Google Account for the first time. However, there’s a chance that the option is disabled. So, you’ll need to navigate to Google Maps settings and re-enable Google Location History (Timeline).
Here’s how to enable Google Location History on your Android:
- Open Google Maps.
- Tap on your profile picture at the top right corner and select Settings from the context menu.
- Tap on your profile and select Your profile from the menu.
- Now, tap on the 3-dot menu and open Profile settings.
- If Location History is off, tap on the setting and enable Location History in Google Account settings. Also, tap on Devices on this account and check the box next to the devices you want to be assigned to your account.
2. Leave Location enabled at all times
This one is obvious but it’s still often neglected. You need to have location services enabled at all times for Google Location History to work. If that’s too much on your battery, you can disable it while you are stationary, at a single location. An obvious example is when you are home and don’t need location services.
To enable location services, tap on the Location icon tile in the Quick Access menu. To ensure that the location readings are precise, you can tweak Location settings and enable Wi-Fi and Bluetooth scanning.
Android 12 brings an option to choose an approximate location instead of the precise one. Whether you want accurate readings or for Google Maps to narrow your location to a few hundred meters, it’s your choice.
3. Reinstall Google Maps
If Google Location History is still not working, you can reinstall Google Maps. Of course, the app comes as default on the majority of Android skins, so you can only uninstall updates for the app. A temporary glitch in the app might be the reason why you don’t see changes in your Timeline. Resetting the app should address that.
Here’s how to reinstall Google Maps on Android:
- Open Settings.
- Select Apps.
- Expand All apps and select Maps from the list of available apps.
- Tap on the 3-dot menu and choose Uninstall updates.
- Restart your device.
- Open Play Store, look for Maps and update the app.
- Open Google Maps > Profile and select Your Timeline and check if Google Location History is working now.
4. Sign out and sign in again with your Google Account
Finally, if none of the previous steps worked for you, try removing and adding your Google Account again. Since all Google-related services go through your Google Account, removing and adding the account again should address some burning issues.
Here’s how to remove the Google Account on your Android:
- Open Settings.
- Select Accounts. You need to open Manage accounts on some devices.
- Now choose Google.
- Remove the Google account.
- Reboot your device and sign in again.
- Skip restoring apps from the backup, accept terms, and allow Google to store Location History.
5. Test GPS
If the issue persists, you should also test the GPS capabilities of your device. Google Location Services rely on GPS to track your location in the background. And, if there are some GPS issues, you can find out about them by testing GPS.
For this, you can use apps like GPS Test or rely on built-in diagnostic tools. On Samsung devices, you can use Samsung Members Diagnostics. Either way, if the GPS works as intended but Google Location History is not working, continue to the next step.
On the other hand, if GPS is not working as intended and the satellite coverage is having difficulty pinpointing your location, try going outside and repeating the test. If the issue persists, take your device to service since this is most likely a hardware issue.
6. Reset your device to factory settings
Finally, there’s nothing else we can recommend (at least, to our knowledge) except the factory reset. Once you reset your device and restore it via your Google Account, check whether the Google Location History is registered.
Here’s how to reset your device to factory settings:
- Open Settings.
- Choose System or General Management.
- Select Reset options (Reset).
- Tap Erase all (factory data reset).
- Tap Erase all or Reset.
- Confirm when prompted, and wait for the procedure to finish.
If that doesn’t help, make sure to report the issue to Google. Hopefully, they’ll be able to give you a better insight.
If you get the Location history is not available for this device on your iPhone, open the Settings app and select Google Maps. Make sure that Location Services are set to Always. Then open the Google Maps app and tap your Account at the top right corner. Open Settings and choose Personal Content. Select Location History settings and make sure that the feature is enabled. You have to be signed in with your Google Account on your iPhone for all of this to work.
That should do it. Thank you for reading and feel free to tell us about alternative solutions we forgot about or ask anything concerning the ones we posted. You can do that in the comments section below.
Editor’s note: This article was initially published in November 2021. We made sure to revamp it for freshness and accuracy.