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How to disable personal results in Google Search on Android for more privacy

If you're looking to eke out as much privacy on your Android phone as possible, you might consider disabling personal results in Google searches.
Written by Jack Wallen, Contributing Writer
Person using Google
Anadolu/Contributor/Getty Images

Personal results in Google searches include things that some might consider an invasion of privacy, such as autocomplete predictions from your Search history, recommendations for you based on your Google account activity, and personal information based on things like "my flights" and "directions home" from Google Maps.

The personal results option has been around for some time on your web account but only came to Android in 2021. The one silver lining is that when these personal results are used, they not only appear above web listings in your searches but also appear for you.

Also: How to use Circle to Search on Android (and what models support it)

So, why would you want to disable a feature geared toward personalizing your Google searches? Primarily because you don't want a third party keeping tabs on you. Of course, this is not to say it's necessarily a bad thing that Google is working to offer search results tailored to your wants and needs. 

Let me try to make an analog comparison. Imagine you have two options for a significant other. The first option means the person knows nothing about you, and can't learn things about you, and the interaction you share with that person is very impersonal. In the other option, you have a significant other who does know about you and can learn more. The interaction with that person is based on an understanding of what you like, who you are, and what you need.

Also: How to use Google's AI-powered NotebookLM to organize your research

In your personal, non-digital life, the latter option sounds far more appealing. But we're talking about a person, not a company. And with Google personal results, you have a third-party company tracking your behavior, learning from it, and adjusting the results it shows you. 

If you'd prefer to not allow such behavior on your mobile device, let me show you how.

The caveat to disabling personal results

Before you disable the feature, I thought you might want to know what you'll be losing if you do. By turning off personal results, you will no longer receive personalized auto-complete predictions (based on your trends and history), personal answers (for location, reminders, reservations, meetings, etc.), and recommendations (such as where to watch a movie or nearby restaurants).

If you're okay with losing those options, continue reading.

How to disable personal results

What you'll need: The only thing you'll need is an Android phone with an updated version of the OS. I'll demonstrate this on my Pixel 8 Pro, but the feature is available for non-Pixel phones. The difference is how you access the setting. Fortunately, the Pixel phones have multiple paths to access the feature, so I'll demonstrate the method that should work on most Android phones.

1. Open the Google app

The first thing to do is open the Google app, which can be found in your App Drawer. It should be a launcher with the familiar "G" logo labeled as, you guessed it, Google.

The Android App Drawer showing the Google app launcher.

You can also access the Google app on Pixel phones by swiping right on the home screen.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

2. Open the Google menu

On the resulting page, tap your profile icon in the upper right corner.

The top portion of the Google app on Android 14.

Of course, your profile icon will look different from mine.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

3. Open Settings

From the pop-up menu, tap Settings.

The Settings listing in the Google app menu.

Settings is exactly where you thought it might be.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

4. Open the Personal results page

From the new page, tap Personal results.

The Personal Results listing in the Google app settings page.

You're about to gain access to the personal results on/off switch.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

5. Disable personal results

Finally, tap the On/Off slider for personal results until it's in the Off position. Once you've done this, you can back out of the Google app.

The Google personal results On/off slider.

Keep in mind that if you don't like how this feature changes your searches, you can always re-enable it.

Screenshot by Jack Wallen/ZDNET

At this point, you've disabled personal results in the Google app on your Android phone. It may take some time for you to notice the difference, but you'll eventually see that your Google searches aren't as tailored to your history, location, time of day, and more. 

If you place great importance on your privacy, this feature is one you might want to disable. 

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