How to Use Google Maps Timeline for Mileage Tracking

Google Maps is a world-renowned application that billions of people use daily for navigation, street views, looking up stores, restaurants, and addresses, and of course, it is used by many for work-related tasks.

Since Google Maps is able to track your daily trips, one might think that its Timeline extension, which shows these trips in the form of a log, makes adequate mileage logs for taxes, too.

While this latter part is not entirely accurate, it is possible to create an IRS-Proof mileage log from these trips recorded automatically by Google in the background, without you even noticing (or remembering) it.

Do you want to know how you can create a fully IRS-compliant mileage log out of your Google trips?

happy man with mileage app

We’ll show you the ropes in this article, but first things first:

What is Google Maps Timeline and how does it work?

Google Maps Timeline displays all significant locations you’ve visited and driving routes you have taken, thanks to Google’s locations services. As technology is constantly advancing, this service of Google is becoming more and more accurate and precise year by year.

Location History can be enabled or disabled

When you enable Location History, Google stores your location in your Google Account even when the app for Google Maps isn’t open on your phone.

To enable or disable your location in Google services, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your Android phone or tablet
  2. Tap your profile image or the first Account Circle, followed by Your Timeline
  3. Tap More, followed by Settings and Privacy
  4. Tap Location History is turned off or Location History is turned on
  5. Turn on or off Location History

google maps timeline history turn on turn off

You may change your Timeline and erase your Location History at any moment, we’ll discuss it later in this article.

As your Timeline is private, only you have access to it. The timeline is accessible through both mobile and desktop, so you can basically get into it anytime, anywhere in the world.

How to view your location history on Google Maps

When you enable Location History, Google Timelines displays where and how you traveled, such as walking, bicycling, driving, or taking public transportation. For a vehicle mileage log, you’ll only need trips that were taken by car, but MileageWise’s solution solves this issue, too 🙂

Let’s see the steps:

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your device.
  2. Tap your profile image or the first Account Circle, followed by Your Timeline.
  3. Tap Today at the top to find another day or month. Swipe the calendar left or right and press a day.

google maps timeline location history calendar

TIP: You may locate information on places you’ve been to by switching between the tabs at the top of the page, such as Places, Cities, or World.

How Google Maps Timeline helps you track your mileage

As you’re able to track your trips with Google Maps Timeline Location History turned on, it runs completely in the background, if you have your mobile data turned on as well.

NOTE: As this function works on all phones, it doesn’t make a difference whether you’re trying to access Android or iOS location history – it works on both operating systems.

Besides that, Google Maps also records the date, time, location, and number of miles taken for each trip. This data is super important as you’ll need it all for your IRS-Proof mileage log, which we’ll speak about later in this article.

The next step is to export these trips from the software right into your phone or computer via Google Takeout, which is Google’s data export service. We’ve written a detailed step-by-step article about the entire trip export via Google Takeout, follow its steps to get the data you just need out of Google in order to change Google Maps to miles for your mileage tax deduction.

Open Google Takeout To Export Trips

Once the export process is done, it only takes a drag-and-drop to add your JSON file with your Google Maps road trips in MileageWise’s Web Dashboard platform, opened in a browser from your desktop.

This step needs to be done as neither the trip list in Google Timeline nor the exported saved places from Google Maps are sufficient by themselves in the eyes of the IRS for a vehicle mileage tax deduction claim.

We’ve also created a help article that shows you step-by-step how to import your downloaded JSON file into MileageWise’s software in order to get a 100% IRS-approved mileage log.

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Check out our tutorial video on how to create an IRS-proof mileage log from a Google Timeline file in a matter of minutes:

Benefits of using Google Maps Timeline for mileage tracking

While the method mentioned above is great for fixing your mileage log retrospectively, it’s highly recommended that you start using a bulletproof mileage app like MileageWise as soon as possible for your day-to-day mileage logging.

Besides that, enabling Location History in your Google account makes a powerful mileage log backup by Google just in case – this method is also strongly advised, no matter what day-to-day mileage tracking software you’re using.

On top of these, having a mileage app or software means that you don’t need to worry about having a Google Maps mileage calculator as MileageWise does it all for you.

Tips and tricks for getting the most out of Google Maps Timeline

How to view your maps history and export data

  1. Create an Export on Google Maps
  2. Near the bottom, select “Your Data in Maps.”
  3. On the next screen, scroll down and select “Download Your Maps Data.”
  4. For those items offering “Multiple Formats,” click one to view or change the file format for that particular item.

google takeout export data

How to delete location history from Google Maps

Remove specific locations from your history

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your device and sign in
  2. Tap your profile image or the initial Account Circle, then Settings, then Maps history
  3. Tap Remove and then Erase next to the entries you wish to delete.

remove entries from google location history

Delete all locations from your history

  1. Open the Google Maps app on your device and sign in
  2. Tap your profile image or the initial Account Circle, then Settings, then Maps history
  3. Tap More in the top search box, then Delete activity by
  4. To remove by date, select a date range from the “Delete by date” column.

delete all locations from google location history

Frequently asked questions about Google Maps Timeline

“How do I access my Google Maps timeline data?” / “How to check my Location History”

  1. Open the Google Maps app
  2. Tap your profile picture or Your Timeline
  3. Select a place from Timeline
  4. Tap Details
  5. Scroll until you find Timeline. . Next to this icon, you can find information about the last time you visited.

“What can I see on my Google Maps Timeline history? Can I see the places I’ve been to?”

In your Google Timeline history, you can see the places you’ve visited with dates included, as well as the routes you may have taken between those locations.

“How accurate is the data shown on my Google Maps Timeline history?”

Because of its access to our mobile, Google’s chronology becomes incredibly precise. We know the precise location where we are traveling since it has always happened on our cell phone through GPS and added to the interaction we have with the many WiFi antennas and telephone antennas around us.

“Can my Google Timeline history be changed/updated manually if needed?”

If a place or a route is wrong on Timeline, you can edit the location and when you were there. On your computer, go to Timeline. Choose the correct place or search for a place in the search box. To edit when you were there, click the time.

What are some of the uses for Google timeline history that people have come up with so far?

Besides being used as a mileage logging method and a mileage log backup, you may utilize Google Maps Timeline as:

  • a travel diary,
  • a reminder of what places you’ve visited,
  • quick access to your recent locations & trips
  • your Google Maps search history,
  • a source of email updates highlighting recently visited places

As you can see, mileage logging with Google Maps is pretty easy, and with MileageWise it can also be converted into a 100% IRS-approved mileage log.

Enable your Location History as a mileage log backup, but be sure to get your day-to-day mileage logging game straight with an automatic mileage tracker app like MileageWise – available on both Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store.

You can try MileageWise for completely free for 14 days, without any obligations or credit card info needed.

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About the blog

I have been blogging for my readers since 2005, primarily about mileage logs and related subjects: about our software development, customer service, and sales experience. I am happy to share my opinion in a humorous manner on the great things in life - if necessary with a firm stance on the subject -, sharing my own raw thoughts.

"I write original content. I'm not copying others."

Akos Barazsy
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