a balloon carrying a smartphone.

Google has its tentacles in every pie, and one of those pies just so happens to be your geographical location. This may be fine if you like Google search results tailored to your location. But what if you want your search results to be detached from your coordinates? Time to change it on Google — we have several ideas about how you can do that.

Table of contents

    Why change your location on Google Chrome?

    Statistically speaking, you’re using Google Chrome right now. As your primary browser, it uses your geolocation data to customize your internet experience, making it more suited to your region.

    Trouble is, that’s not always desirable. Here are some legitimate reasons to dive into Google Chrome location settings: 

    • Location masking: commercials and even scams can be targeted to your location. But if you’re supplying inaccurate data, they can’t target you. Also, it’s a lot harder to fall for a scam delivered in a language you don’t understand.
    • Beating price discrimination: businesses realize that they may need (read: want) to adjust prices based on their customer’s country. Sometimes, it means making them higher just because the customer lives in a more prosperous country. Now, as the customer, you would probably like to avoid that. If only there was a way to change your online location…
    • Testing your apps: website and extension creators can be interested in testing location-based settings without becoming globe-trotting adventurers. Swapping the location is a function that serves that specific need.

    Now, to make Google Chrome do our geographic bidding…

    How to change your location on Google Chrome on PC or Mac

    You’re likely using Google Chrome more often than Google itself. So here are some tips for those with Chrome on a PC or Mac.

    Set Google Chrome location manually 

    The only way to change your actual location to a different location by using Google’s own tools involves messing with the developer settings. It’s easier than it sounds!

    1. Open a Chrome tab and press CTRL+Shift+I to enter the inspection mode.
    A screenshot of an open Chrome tab of this blog post in inspection mode
    1. Click on the hamburger menu.
    A screenshot of the previous inspection mode highlighting the hamburger menu button
    1. Choose More tools.
    A screenshot of the previous inspection mode, highlighting the more tools option under the menu
    1. Slide down to Sensors.
    A screenshot of the previous inspection mode, highlighting the sensors option under the more tools option.
    1. Use the Location drop-down menu to choose one of the pre-set locations.
    A screenshot of the previous inspection mode, with the sensor tab open, highlighting the location option and a drop-down menu of locations
    1. That’s it!

    Tip: you can set a custom location by choosing Custom in the Location drop-down menu and entering the latitude and longitude. Since no regular person memorizes such information, you can find the latitude and longitude of a desired location on Google Maps:

    1. Go to Google Maps.
    2. Find a location you want.
    3. Right-click the spot on the map.
    4. Click the coordinates to copy them.
    5. Paste them in the appropriate window. 

    Now, there are some caveats with this one:

    • Custom location only works on the same Chrome tab that you made the changes on.
    • It doesn’t work against more serious geolocation tools, like IP-based tracking. 

    So, what else can you do about the location tracking on Google Chrome? 

    Turn off location tracking on Google Chrome

    Do you want Google to simply not take your location into account instead of changing your location online? If so, there are some settings you can fiddle with. 

    1. Open Google Chrome on your PC (or Mac).
    2. Click the hamburger menu on the top right and choose Settings (or just enter chrome://settings in the address bar).
    A screenshot of an open Chrome tab of this blog post highlighting the settings option under the hamburger menu
    1. Choose Privacy and security on the left-hand menu.
    A screenshot of Chrome’s settings with Privacy and Security tab open
    1. Select Site Settings and click Location.
    A screenshot of Chrome’s settings highlighting Site Settings under the Privacy and Security tab
    A screenshot of Chrome’s settings highlighting the Location option under the Site Settings
    1. Set the toggle next to Sites can ask for your location to Don’t allow sites to see your location.
    A screenshot of Chrome’s settings highlighting the Don’t allow sites to see your location toggle option under the location tab

    This will block websites from accessing your location information — hurray!

    How to change your location settings on Google Chrome on Android

    Chrome on an Android phone doesn’t offer many ways to change location. Actually, you can only disable location tracking.

    1. Open a Chrome browser tab and tap the hamburger menu icon.
    2. Choose Settings and then Site settings.
    3. Toggle Location to Blocked.

    That’s it, your Android device is set!

    How to change your location settings on Google Chrome on iOS

    Much like with Android, changing your location on Chrome on an iPhone or iPad is limited to just blocking it. 

    1. Open the Settings on your iPhone or iPad.
    2. Find the Chrome app and tap it.
    3. Tap Location and then choose Never to block location tracking. 

    Set location on Google with a VPN 

    Google gives you very limited tools to change your present location. Thankfully, you can use a VPN to change your location. It only takes a few seconds and adds an extra layer of security to your connection as well.

    VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. It securely routes your internet data via a server. In the process, your data gets tied to the server’s IP address. 

    Google uses the device’s IP address to determine the location. But as we mentioned earlier, when you’re using a VPN, you’re using the VPN server’s IP. Google (or any service or website you connect to while using a VPN) will consider you to be connecting from the location of the VPN server. This means you will have effectively changed your location online.

    Here’s how you install a VPN for Chrome:

    A screenshot of Surfshark’s pricing and order page
    1. Subscribe to Surfshark.
    A screenshot of the Chrome web store with Surfshark VPN extension open
    1. Download the Surfshark VPN extension for Chrome.
    A screenshot of a Chrome tab with an open Surfshark extension asking to log in
    1. Log into the extension.
    A screenshot of a Chrome tab with an open Surfshark extension showing the VPN connection status and a list of locations
    1. Connect to a server in the location you want Google to see.
    2. Done!

    Of course, a Google Chrome VPN extension will only encrypt and route data that’s sent and received through Google Chrome. You can alternatively install a full VPN on your device to secure all the data.

    Change your location with a VPN
    Connect to a server in another country.

    Pros and cons of using a VPN to change location

    While VPN is the best tool for changing location, it has its pros and cons:

    VPN pros
    VPN cons
    Easy to use
    Good VPNs aren’t free
    Reliably protects your real location details
    You need to install an app
    Secures your data in transit
    Some drop in internet speed
    Keeps your activities private from the ISP (Internet Service Provider)
    A wide choice of locations

    In conclusion: change your location on Google with a VPN

    Google doesn’t offer many options of changing your location when using its services. After all, knowing the geographical location allows for more precise advertising, and there’s money in that. That’s why you need a VPN to reliably protect your location information. Whether you’re using an extension for Chrome or a full VPN app, there is no better way to change your location on Google.

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    How do I change my current location on Google?

    You can change your current location on Google in three ways:

    1. By blocking location tracking on Chrome.
    2. By using developer tools to set a custom location.
    3. By using a VPN.

    Of the three, the VPN is the most effective tool as it covers most of the location detection methods, allows you to change your location quickly, and provides many server options. And you get to enjoy other VPN benefits as well! 

    Why is my location wrong on Google?

    Google uses the IP address of your device to detect your location. So there may be several reasons why the location is wrong: 

    1. Roughly speaking, the IP address of your device depends on where it’s connecting from. However, the official address of the connection point (router, Wi-Fi router) may not match the exact location of where you are.
    2. If you’re connected via a VPN or proxy, Google will see the IP address of the VPN or proxy server. 
    3. Lastly, you may have disabled location tracking on Chrome, and Google has nothing to go by. 

    Does changing the location in Chrome affect other apps?

    No, changing the location in Chrome doesn’t affect other apps (unless you use a VPN to do it). If you’re using a full VPN and not the browser extension, the location change affects all the apps on your device.  

    Are there any risks in changing my Chrome location?

    No, unless you see a risk in not getting content tailored to your location.

    Do all websites recognize my new location?

    Mostly, yes. A lot of websites will act as if you’re at the new location. However, websites may have saved your previous location data on a cookie on your PC. In this case, your location will be set based on the data in the cookie. 

    Can a new location bypass internet throttling?

    Changing your online location doesn’t help against internet throttling since your ISP (Internet Service Provider) doesn’t rely on those location detection tools to throttle your connection. Changing the actual physical location can help as long as you get a new ISP. 

    Can I set a default location in Chrome?

    You can’t! You can only set whether you’ll allow websites to ask for your location data. You can also try setting different locations via the developer mode, but you have to do it every time you visit a new website. 

    What is the difference between Chrome and device location change?

    Chrome location change only affects websites and services that you access via Chrome, while the device location change can affect any app on the device. 

    Does Incognito mode affect changed location settings?

    Incognito mode doesn’t affect location settings since its purpose is to prevent your browsing from being recorded on your device. It does nothing to external websites and services.