How To

Private maps alternative when you don’t want Google or Apple tracking you


When navigation apps first hit the scene, they sent people crashing into rivers or zooming through the wrong side of town. Nowadays, directional apps like Google Maps are much more polished than their predecessors. Since they take the frustration out of exploring unfamiliar cities, it’s hard to imagine driving without them.

Of course, Big Tech loves to track us, and Google follows every click of your mouse button and every step you take down the street. If you use an iPhone, tap or click here to see a hidden map of everywhere you have been. Although you can turn off location tracking, you may want an alternative that doesn’t sell a comprehensive profile of your personal habits to advertisers.

DuckDuckGo has long been a beloved alternative to Google because of its emphasis on privacy. The Apple-powered search engine prioritizes anonymity, and now it’s adding safety to its checklist with mapping and routing functionalities. With this feature, you can focus solely on the road — without worrying that your navigation app keeps tabs on you.

DuckDuckGo doesn’t track you

This Google replacement doesn’t track your IP address or search history. That means you don’t have to worry about targeted ads or the dreaded search filter bubble. In other words, you’ll be completely anonymous while browsing the web and you’ll get more results.

Although you can head to DuckDuckGo and start searching that way, you can also make it an extension of your browser. Activate its privacy settings to protect your search history as much as possible. It even has search shortcuts and many of Google’s features, like a calculator and instant answers.

You may be hesitant to make the switch but remember: When you browse on Google, even incognito browsing isn’t truly private. Sure, Chrome won’t save cookies in incognito mode, but your browsing history isn’t hidden from your employer, your internet service provider, or the websites you visit. Tap or click here for everything you need to know about this reliable search engine focused on privacy.

It’s easy to get directions from your browser, but using DuckDuckGo Maps on your phone requires a few more steps.

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DuckDuckGo Maps is unique in that it doesn’t require a separate app download. Simply open your DuckDuckGo browser and type a full address or a “Near Me” search, which is when you search for a location and add the words near me for local search results. Once you enter this search query, you’ll get the option to enable your location.

Here’s what your screen will look like:

After you’ve given DuckDuckGo permission to use your location, you’ll see a list of locations to choose from. Tap on the address you want directions to, scroll down and tap Directions. From there, you’ll get a list of step-by-step instructions, but you’ll have to memorize them since there isn’t a voice attendant in DuckDuckGo.

If you want to get audible directions so you can drive hands-free, you’ll have to scroll down and select Navigate in Apple Maps. That’s because DuckDuckGo partnered with Apple Maps in 2019, which means your address-related searches throw up results from Apple Maps.

Basically, the map works just like Apple Maps — except your DuckDuckGo searches are anonymous.

Speaking on anonymity, you may not be able to stay private if you’re traveling overseas. Although tons of people want to travel this year, a new proposal by U.S. Customs and Border Protection may throw a wrench into your plans.

The CBP wants to expand facial recognition technology to all American ports. Here’s how that could impact your travel plans — and the future of America.

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