Manage connections to your Google account and information

Apps and web services have access to information in your Google account. Check what is accessing your data and sever the connection with any you don’t want. Perform a security checkup.

If you sign in with Google on the web or in an app on your computer, tablet or phone, or even just play a game on an Android phone, a connection is created between the web service or app and it is then able to access information in your account. The developer or service provider can see certain information in your Google account.

The amount of information that can be accessed by third-party apps and services varies and some can access more than others. For example, you might have an app that can back up data and store it on Google Drive, so it can read and write to Drive. A third party email app has full read/write access to your Gmail. Sometimes it is necessary in order for an app or service to work, but in some cases it might not be.

At the very least, signing in with Google on the web or in an app, provides access to your public information. Yes, some things in your Google account are public! Before we look at managing apps that can access your Google account, let’s see how to control what information is made public.

Manage personal Google info

Don’t over-share. Control what you share and who you share it with.

1 Personal info in your Google account

The personal section in Google account.
Personal info in Google account

Open your browser and enter into the address box. You might need to log in and authorize access.

Click Personal info in the sidebar. Scroll the page until you get to the section titled Choose what others see, and then click Go to About me.

2 See what information Google makes public

Public and private information in Google account.
See what is public and private in your Google account

On this page is a list of things that Google knows about you, like your name, profile picture, birthday, contact information like telephone number, home or work address and so on.

Next to each item is either a padlock icon, which shows that it is private and only you can see it, or a people icon which shows that the information is public and is shared with others.

When you sign in to apps and web services, including games, using Google, the minimum information that they gain access to is whatever is marked as publicly shared in this list.

3 See what you share in your Google account

View or change information in Google account.
View and change your Google account info

Look down the list of items and make sure that you are only sharing what you want to share and you are not sharing too much. Click the icon to the right of an item and it is displayed, like the profile picture shown here.

There are options to change the item, so you could change your profile picture, change your work email, update your education and so on. You can also choose to make the information public or private. Click the link.

4 Change what you share in your Google account

Make Google account information public or private.
Make Google account information public or private.

Click the visibility setting for the item and then choose who can access it. Select Anyone to make it public, or People that you interact with to make it private. Well, semi-private. No-one can see the information, unless you provide it, such as by sharing a photo, a document, and so on.

Changing an item from public to private does not delete data that was previously shared. For example, if your birthday was public, then apps and services you previously connected to will already have it and making it private will not change this. The public/private setting affects new connections you make.

Manage third-party app connections in your Google account

See who can access your Google account information and remove permissions.

1 Google account security options

Security settings in Google account.
Security settings in Google account

Open your browser and enter into the address box. Click Security in the sidebar, scroll down to the section titled Your connections to third-party apps & services and then click See all connections below or simply click the section title.

2 Browse and filter third-party apps and services

Third party connections with your Google account.
View and filter third party connections

A long list of apps and services that have access to some part of your Google account is displayed. You can filter them by sign-in or access. The Access to menu has subsections that enable you to show apps and services that have access to a specific Google feature, like Calendar, Contacts, Drive, Gmail and so on.

3 View app and service access

View third party app connection details.
Details for a third party app connection

Click one of the apps or services in the list and more information is displayed. In the screenshot is a game that uses Google Play Games to store progress and achievements. It also stores some configuration data in Google Drive.

Click the See details button to see a more detailed description of what it does and when the connection was created, and what might happen if you revoke access.

Click the Delete all connections… link.

4 Delete a connection to your Google account

Disable a third party app connection in Google account.
Delete a third party app connection

When you click Delete all connections you have with… Google prevents access to information in your account. The app developer or service may have already collected information about you and deleting the connection will not delete the data they have, it would prevent it from accessing new data though.

For example, an email app would no longer have access to your Gmail emails, an app or service backing up to Drive would not be able to access backups or create new ones. A game would not be able to access game information stored, and so on.

It is useful to go through all your third-party Google account connections from time to time and delete connections for third party apps and services that you no longer use. Don’t let old apps you used years ago still have access to your Google info.

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