I would like to enable Google's Location History on my iPhone so I can see my location history at https://www.google.com/maps/timeline.

I tried enabling this functionality as follows: Open the Google app > Menu > My Account > Personal Info & Privacy > Activity Controls > Location History. Here my iPhone is listed, with a disabled checkbox. A message is displayed that says "Use a location enabled Google app on the iOS device to change the setting". When I click on the checkbox to enable it, nothing happens.

I have Settings > Privacy > Location Services enabled, and Settings > Privacy > Location Services > Google Maps set to "Always".

Is there any way to enable the Location History functionality?

  • Do you have Background App Refresh turned on for Google? See this Google help page and be sure to follow all directions. – fsb Dec 29 '16 at 20:23
  • Are you using a personal Google account, or one provided to you through work or school? – Timothy Mueller-Harder Dec 29 '16 at 23:36
  • Backgtound App Refresh is enabled, both in general and for Google. – Matthijs Melissen Dec 29 '16 at 23:42
  • I'm using a personal Google account, however one registered through Google Apps on a personal domain that I own. – Matthijs Melissen Dec 29 '16 at 23:46
  • Nobody any idea? – Matthijs Melissen Jan 3 '17 at 21:27

I found the answer myself. For some reason, enabling the device through the Google app did not work, however the same screen in Google Maps works fine.

Open the Google Maps app > Menu > Settings > Location history > Enable the device.

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  • Doesn't work for me on iPhone X, iOS 13. Checkbox disabled with Use a location enabled Google app on the iOS device to change the setting form both the Google and Google Maps app (they open the browser to access the setting). Location is always enabled for both apps. Any other ideas? – thisismydesign Aug 17 '19 at 15:18

The self-answer does not work for me. The way to get this working at present is:

  1. Download the Google App. Open.
  2. Go to Setting > Privacy and Security > Location. Ensure Location is set to "Always"
  3. Continue to ... > Location History.
  4. Ensure Location History toggled on. Finally:
  5. Expand "Devices on this account" and check mark "iPhone (this device)"

Here's a screenshot of the last screen with it all done correctly: Screenshot

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  • Not working for me. There is no Location History menu item. – Rade_303 Feb 13 at 22:32

Install and set up Trusted Contacts

This is a hot question and a top Google search result, but the the other answers here are a little outdated. There is a workaround to get location history working, and all it takes is to install and set up Google's "Trusted Contacts" app (you can uninstall it right after).

Despite Google's message: "use a location enabled Google app on the iOS device to change the setting", I have found no logical way to enable Location History in any other Google app.

Yes. It is absolutely ludicrous that this is what you have to do to enable Search History on an iPhone (you would think that Google would make it easier to voluntarily give them your data). But I'm not putting Google down. They make a lot of amazing products. This must just be a small glitch that they'll fix in the future.

Luckily it can be fixed in 2 easy steps:

1. Make sure "Location Services" is on

Make sure you have Google Maps installed, next: as per Google Maps Support, make sure that Location Services is on.

  1. Go to the Settings app.

  2. Go to Privacy.

  3. Make sure the Location Services toggle is on.

    enter image description here

  4. Then, still in Location Services, look for Google Maps and make sure "Always" is selected.

    enter image description here

2. Install and set up Trusted Contacts

  1. Install Trusted Contacts from Google LLC in the App Store.

  2. Open the app and follow all the setup instructions.

  3. When you get to the "Share your location?" screen, tap "TURN ON". This is the most important step.

    enter image description here

  4. Finish setting up the app.

You're done!

Now Location History will be enabled on your iPhone! Verify by going to Location History in your Google Account settings, opening the "Devices on this account" drop-down list and making sure your iPhone has a check next to it. enter image description here

Optionally, you can now uninstall Trusted Contacts.

Important: turning off location services or going into low-power mode will most likely (now and in the foreseeable future) stop Google from saving your location history. Keep location services on and do not go into low-power mode if you want your location history to be saved.

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