These days, we expect most fitness apps to demand access to our location as they need it in order to track our walks, runs, bike rides, hikes and so on. Also, you may want to share some of these details with your buddies so that you can encourage each other to be more active.
There’s nothing wrong with this as long as the information on our whereabouts is protected. And that, apparently, was a problem with the hiking app AllTrails — which has reportedly made users’ hiking data public and findable on Google by default. As a result, the location data of a top White House official has been exposed, prompting a small security issue that was resolved later on.
With that in mind, in this article – we want to show you how to make your AllTrails account private or at least more secure.
Changing AllTrails privacy settings
The following steps could be done in the AllTrails app or from the website alltrails.com:
Step #1: In the app, go to the Profile tab, then tap the Settings cog icon in the top right. On the website, hover over the profile icon in the top-right and click Settings.
Step #2: Under Account – find and select Privacy Settings. From the next screen, you can change most of your settings to three set options: Public, Followers only, or Only me. Specifically, you can change this for the following options: your community (who you follow, who follows you), completed trails, custom activities, created or downloaded maps, and lists (activities, trails, and maps you’ve favored).
If you opt for the Followers Only option, you may also want to enable Require to follow requests to ensure someone can’t find you through a mutual friend and start following you without your permission.
Additionally, you should know that when other people search for users – they see their profile photo, name, and location by default. You may want to remove this data so you can’t be easily found. On the downside, this will make the app less social but will keep your data more secure. We think it’s worth it.
Step #3: In the app, tap the three dots and select Edit Profile; or on the website – click on Edit Profile. From here, you can change your First and Last Name.
Also, on this screen, you can set a different city under Location or Member Location. While this will show you different recommended hikes in “your area,” it will also ensure you can’t be traced that easily. Again, it’s a worthy trade-off.
Finally, you may want to use a photo that doesn’t show your face. For instance, you could use some cartoon-ish character to represent you — again, so that it’s harder for the rest of the world to keep up with every move you make.
Extra “Garmin” step: If you own a Garmin wearable device, you should know that AllTrails has a sync option with Garmin Connect, where your Garmin activities appear in AllTrails by default. The imported activities will use the same “default privacy level” as your AllTrails account, even if your Garmin Connect app is set to a different privacy level. It’s worth knowing so that you can ensure there’s no discrepancy between your Garmin and AllTrails accounts.s
Changing privacy settings for specific AllTrails activities and maps
Some folks may be comfortable by letting their data be publicly available in general but would prefer to hide a specific activity that, for example, is close to where they live. This is also an option, and here’s how to do it:
Step #1: In the mobile app, tap the Saved tab. Then, go to Lists -> My Maps or Activities under that header name. Alternatively, if you’re doing this from the web, hover over the Profile picture and click Profile. You’ll see specific tabs for Maps and Activities.
Step #2: Select the map or activity you want to change – in the app, you can find the “Edit Map/Activity” by tapping the three dots button, and on the web – you can select “Edit Map/Activity” from the left sidebar.
Step #3: Now, change the Privacy level option: change it from public to followers only or private.
Removing your AllTrails Google Search result
It is important to note that AllTrails doesn’t let you disable its Google Search results for your AllTrails results. For this reason, we suggest that you change your name and photo in the app.
Alternatively, you can set “Only me” in the privacy settings and AllTrails will add a “no-index” tag to your account so Google won’t find it. This, however, will remove the social elements of the app. You have to decide for yourself whether it’s worth it. We think it is, but you may just want to change your name. It’s up to you.
At the end of the day, if you don’t want to deal with AllTrails’ somewhat messy privacy practices – perhaps it’s best to uninstall the app. Before doing that, make sure first to delete your account from the Account Settings screen. There is no need to leave your data to be used as food for algorithms.