Majority of the smartphones on market come with a GPS feature, and while most of us think the feature is only for navigation, it does quite a lot. From assisting in finding out where your phone is in case of a loss, monitoring tagged property, to making emergency calls in case of network failure.
Many people often cry foul of the GPS on their phones eating up their battery power. Quick thinking dictates that disabling the feature will slow down the drainage, and however right this may be, it is not the exact solution to the problem. Disabling just keeps it from turning on when you want it.
You have to understand that enabling or disabling GPS is just a permission setting, where you are granting permission to or blocking apps from accessing the device’s location respectively. This will guide you to knowing that it is the apps that eat up the battery, not the feature.
How the battery is drained
When you try searching for a location, say on your Maps app, the GPS module will be accessed to pull data and cross reference it with Internet sources. At a high rate of tracking and constant refreshing – without going to sleep, the phone uses more of its power. The eventual result is your battery bar cutting low.
So how can you leave GPS on yet save power? All you need to do is to find out the apps using GPS in the background and disable those that don’t need it. Let’s find out how to do it.
Which apps are requesting your device’s location?
Go to your phone’s Settings, and then to Location.
You should see a list of apps that have accessed your location, ordered by the most recent location requests first. The list should indicate which apps frequently access your GPS, as well as the impact each has on your battery. Any app tagged with High battery use or one in repetition is worth noting.
Cross check with the battery settings
Go to your phone’s Settings, then to Battery.
You will see a list of apps and their battery impact on your phone. Look for the apps you saw on the Location list, especially those tagged with high battery use, and study how they rank compared to the other apps. If the same apps rank highly on the battery list, then they consume your battery most and are worth disabling when GPS is on.
Read More: What to consider when looking out for phone battery
Read More: How Geo-tagged photos give away your location
Disabling the GPS hungry apps
If you have Android 6.0 or later, go to your phone’s system Settings, and then to the App menu. From the list of all installed apps, tap on the app your want to disable location access for, and then tap the Permissions section. Here you have fine grain control over what the app has access to. You can disable the app’s ability to access your location here.
Enabling GPS uses zero extra power except when location services are actually being used. You’ll use more power turning it on and off than just leaving it on all the time. There is no point in keeping your GPS on if you aren’t using any app that utilizes it. But even on the other end, having the GPS turned on won’t drain your battery if no app is actually using it.
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