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GPS is Killing my Battery Life!

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by necosino, May 24, 2010.

  1. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    So after getting incredibly frustrated, I decided to post my rant about GPS and battery life....

    The GPS is NOT "always on." This is just a misconception. A better term is "Always Enabled."

    What happens when you have GPS "on" is the Android OS gives applications access to the GPS chip [When they need it]. There is NOT a constant GPS lock, and your GPS chip is NOT always running.

    The only time that the GPS chip will be active and draining battery is when a location-enabled application asks for it (Such as Google Maps, Navigation, Footprints, etc.) You will know when your GPS is actually on when the Location icon shows a white "dish" with green lines.

    The icon with the cross hairs means that your location is shown for 911 operators. (It's always there).

    So, in summary, stop blaiming GPS for your battery issues. Unless you have a rogue app running that is using the GPS, it's not your problem, the app is. :)

    alison03, dibs ODDJOB, Todd M and 5 others like this.

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  2. gorenut

    gorenut Well-Known Member

    If this is the case, thanks. Anyone else who might also know something on this subject matter - please chime in. Saves me the trouble of enabling GPS off and on all the time.
  3. yojoe600

    yojoe600 Android Expert

    he is right... i have read articles about this... i leave mine on all the time and have no impact on battery unless something is using it
  4. Trident

    Trident Android Expert

    If you don't like a thread or you're not going provide a helpful response, don't post in it!
  5. mhardy3

    mhardy3 Newbie

    so if you go indoors doesn't the GPS constantly try to reacquire the satellites and use battery life ?
    batwings1 likes this.
  6. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Only if you open an app that uses GPS, such as Maps. And as soon as you exit that app, the GPS turns back off.
  7. mhardy3

    mhardy3 Newbie

    appreciate the hint. I turned it on indoors and it was active hit the old task killer and boom it nice and quiet. One less thing to turn on and off.
  8. Justin89t

    Justin89t Member

    But don't some apps not exit right away? If you 'close' out of an app but it doesn't get truly closed for several hours would the GPS be active?
  9. quest4JC

    quest4JC Member

    Ok. Sounds good.where do I find Google maps exit or close application? Since I can only seem to get out by backing out or the home key which doesn't seem to "exit" the app
  10. teufeltexan

    teufeltexan Member

    Take a look at your taskbar from time to time and see if the "GPS Active" Icon is present. If so, and you know that you're not actively using an app which should require GPS, then examine your running apps and nail down the offender. If the icon is not up there in the taskbar, then you're golden.

    I've never turned off my GPS since activating my phone, and I've had STELLAR battery life compared to most. I constantly see the GPS Icon present when I'm using it and can't recall ever seeing it at a time when I've thought "Gee, what's causing that?".

    Even when I use it heavily with Nav and Maps (and a ballistics/shooting app I use for hours at a time) it shows a relatively low percentage of battery use under statistics in comparison to other functions. The bright side is that when I do decide to use one of these apps which require GPS functionality, the process is seamless - It just flat works...

    (One other note regarding the GPS in the incredible, it's sensitive enough to work effortlessly in my Jeep and the Ambulance, due to the fiberglass tops. I can use it for hours on end and never worry about positioning it with LOS to a window. I couldn't accomplish that with either of my 3 Garmins or my previous Palm Pro, at least not in the ambulance...)
    necosino likes this.
  11. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Open maps. Look at the taskbar and see the Satelite dish with the green connection lines? Your GPS is on!

    Hit Home, Maps goes away, and that icon will, too; your GPS is now off..
  12. quest4JC

    quest4JC Member

    Cool. Thanks. How do I close the app not gps. Maybe I'm asking in the wrong thread.
  13. azak

    azak Member

    According to ATK, my Maps application opens by itself every couple of hours or so. To my knowledge, I don't have any apps active that might cause this. So I'm hesitant to turn on the GPS.

    Does anyone else have this issue?
  14. jmarias

    jmarias Lurker

    I've noticed some intermittent behaviors.............

    Without a change in configuration, on SOME days it appears that GPS tracking is on relatively constantly (White Dish with lines). On those days, battery drain is very high. Other days, it doesn't seem to be on much and battery drain is very good. It's not a weekday/weekend thing either. Nor is it travel oriented.

    As far as I can tell, the only apps that might be regularly hitting the GPS are Weatherbug with locator and Google Latitude. Neither should be "on" all the time but these are the only ones run in a "widget" mode. Certainly latitude can't be the problem since the updates/refresh are really crappy (editorial comment).

    I do have the regular suite of "localized" apps (Yelp, Where!, etc) but they are not running or even started on most days when I have the drain issue.

    Rebooting the phone may or may not cause a difference which is interesting.

    Using a Droid Incredible.

    No solutions..just observations...sorry!

  15. Spaded21

    Spaded21 Member

    Then why does it say right in the Android software menu (uncheck to conserve battery)?
  16. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    I noticed that when I had signed up for Latitude, my phone was trying to get my GPS position about every hour. When I'm at work, I can't get a GPS lock and it was constantly on. I signed out of Latitude, and that problem went away. Now my GPS never comes on unless I open an app which has permission to access it. Quite frankly, I don't want to tell the world where I am unless I choose to. That's just an open invitation for a "distant kinda friend person" to know "Hey, if he's there, then he's not home!" and voila, my home is robbed..
  17. teufeltexan

    teufeltexan Member

    I don't have ATK, so not sure exactly what it is showing for you - but keep in mind that there is a difference between apps being "active" and consuming resources versus an app being resident in memory but "inactive", simply for the purpose of being available if needed...

    I did a "end all" using System Panel a few hours ago, and GPS does indeed show up in my running processes at the moment, but it does not appear to be consuming any resources... I'm currently at 14 hr and 9 minutes of "up time", with 3 hr and 46 min of "Awake Time". 42 minutes of Voice Calls, 2h37m of "Display On", 1hr11m of "Wi-Fi" surfing and downloading and a crapload of time configuring GDE home apps - all the while I'm at 26% battery remaining (which is low for me at this time of day).

    Check your statistics on battery use... Does GPS/Maps or anything similar even register a % figure for you? If not, then it's a non-issue... If it does show a significant figure, then stress over it.
  18. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Because it's true. If all your apps can only use coarse GPS (a rough estimate based on cell towers), you won't use as much battery when those apps are running. But for the amount of time those apps are used, it's kind of silly not to use fine GPS (using the GPS satellites and chip in the phone)

    Coarse GPS (aGPS, using cell tower triangulation) = ~2500 meters
    Fine GPS (real GPS) = ~2 meters
  19. yojoe600

    yojoe600 Android Expert

    because apps like weather and other location based apps will use it and use battery... so thats why it tells you
  20. contagous

    contagous Android Expert

    Im pretty sure there is a potion in lattitude online (browser) to only share your loction with certain people, (friends you can trust/family) etc... In fact im pretty sure you can decide this for every contact you have... Specificly


    Sharing options
    Share best available location
    Share only city level location
    Hide location from this friend

    Found in the Igoogle Lattitude widget

    You can do this for every contact you have...
  21. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Hmm, I never saw those options.. And when I signed up and saw dozens of people (who I don't know), kinda freaked me out a bit :p

    Plus then today I see on one of my friends' facebook an app (locale I think) auto-posting where she was like every 2 hours! I called her up and she started freaking out (crazy ex bf, lol.. not me, she has one who would stalk her)

    Just something else to be aware of when you add apps that request GPS positon :)

    edit: You're coming from the Omnia too? Were you on Modaco?
  22. contagous

    contagous Android Expert

    I edited past for where those options are, if you ant find them let me know and i'll screen them... Yes im coming from an omnia , and i loved my omnia :) and yes i was on modaco under this same name :)

    *edit* here is the option on Igoogle latitude

  23. yojoe600

    yojoe600 Android Expert

    haha im from modaco too with my omnia
  24. azak

    azak Member

    I just checked, and the Maps app has indeed been on (for no more than 30 minutes) and within the Settings->Battery menu, it shows that it's responsible for 5% of the battery's depletion. The GPS option is off though.

    I'm using Beautiful Widgets, although it's set to retrieve results based on zipcode, NOT geolocation (which uses GPS). Even when I hit "Refresh", this does not turn the Maps app on, so this can't be the issue. The only other possible app that's always open is "News and Weather", but that's set to update every 6 hours. I've previously used the stock HTC weather widget instead of Beautiful Widgets, and I still had this same issue.

    In short, I have no idea what the source of this issue is.
  25. necosino

    necosino Android Expert
    Thread Starter

    Nice to see other peeps from Modaco here. I was Necosino there too, guided dozens through their first Rom flashes and released a few custom roms for the omnia, too. I'm just starting to get into android app development so hopefully once rooted I'll be making Incredible roms, too.

    Sent from my ADR6300 using Tapatalk

HTC Droid Incredible Forum

The HTC Droid Incredible release date was April 2010. Features and Specs include a 3.7" inch screen, 8MP camera, Snapdragon S1 processor, and 1300mAh battery.

April 2010
Release Date

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