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Leaving GPS on

Discussion in 'Android Devices' started by NJSmoke, Apr 22, 2012.

  1. NJSmoke

    NJSmoke Member
    Thread Starter

    I have a couple of locater apps, Where is My Droid and Lookout. I set these up a long time ago, the thing is I usually have the GPS off to save battery life. But if I leave it off I think there locators lack the ability to turn the GPS back on.

    I have Tasker and on my old phone the Droid 2 I believe i had a Task set up so that when Where is My Droid or Lookout came on it would turn on the GPS. But if i did that Task didn't get move to my Nexus.

    So how much of a drain will leaving my GPS on have on my battery. Or is there a work around. Thanks for the input.

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  2. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert

    The only time there is a battery drain is if a program is using the GPS (the little satellite icon is illuminated). Having it in the off position when there is nothing using the GPS has no affect on battery.
    NJSmoke likes this.
  3. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest


    You should leave GPS on all the time. There is nothing whatsoever to be gained by turning it off. The common recommendation that you turn it off to save battery is a myth.
    NJSmoke and quiklives like this.
  4. Tim K

    Tim K Android Expert


    I never turn my GPS off.
  5. machiz7888

    machiz7888 Newbie

    Leaving your gps on all the time will result in a lower battery... depending on your settings and apps. I've got weather apps(beautiful widget, weather channel, maybe aokp's weather bar) and have google set to track my location. It's my understanding (I could be wrong) that those apps will use GPS if its available to them, otherwise they use cell tower triangulation.

    When you have the gps off, those apps can't access it, when its on they can.
  6. quiklives

    quiklives Android Enthusiast

    If you don't have those apps set to update every 30 seconds, the battery use will be pretty minimal.
  7. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert

    This. You're much better off managing your apps. Most weather apps can be set to rough location. I know on WeatherBug you can turn off background location updates. I never have my GPS turned off.
    quiklives likes this.
  8. quiklives

    quiklives Android Enthusiast

    Yeah, I think I have my weather set to update when I turn the screen on, and never when it's asleep.
  9. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    It depends on the app settings, but there is really no reason for a weather app to need GPS - weather does not need fine-grained location, only your general area via the cell tower.

    Most apps should have control over that; WeatherBug, for instance has two settings: Use Network, or Use GPS. You can check either or both.
  10. machiz7888

    machiz7888 Newbie

    I'm assuming I travel a bit more than you do. setting the weather in a static location would be pretty useless for me :/

    In my experience leaving gps enabled leads to a not insignificant amount of battery loss. I probably should manage my gps-accessing apps a little better, but when the alternative is just tapping the pull-down-gps button, that's the way to go, for me.
  11. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    It's not static. If you enable it to obtain location via the network, it will use the cell tower its connected to for location purposes, which results in virtually no battery drain whatsoever.

    My point isn't that the weather app doesn't need location. It's that it doesn't need GPS, because GPS is used to nail down your location to a few feet, which is not useful when predicting the weather or telling you the temperature. It's just using your location to find your nearest weather station, which is not going to be a few feet from you anyway.

    In fact, the network location is going to be available to you in more places than GPS is, anyway (especially indoors). So when you're walking through the airport, you'll get that temperature update to let you know if you need to dig your coat out of the carry-on. ;)
  12. NJSmoke

    NJSmoke Member
    Thread Starter

    Ok how about leaving WiFi and 3G on all the time. I know that leaving 4g on is a killer. But I don't live in a 4G area.
  13. AntimonyER


    Obviously the problem with this is when you turn them off, you have no updates period. 3G will turn off automatically when you connect to wi-fi, so if you must have a data connection at all times, there is no reason to turn off 3G. Wi-fi will continue to ping for access points, so if you are in an area where there are wi-fi signals but you are unable/unwilling to connect to them, turning off your wi-fi will result in a small battery improvement. But I don't know how much of a difference it is, and if you consistently forget to turn it back on when you are in an area where you CAN connect to wi-fi, you will end up worse off as 3G uses more than wi-fi. Tasker can help you if you are forgetful in this regard.
  14. Deleted User

    Deleted User Guest

    I would never turn 3G off unless you're in a building where you get no service, and in that case I'd just put the phone into airplane mode.

    While theoretically, turning off WiFi when you're not connected to a network will result in better battery life, I find that Wifi is a pretty tiny battery drain and is not worth the effort to shut off. I leave Wifi on all the time.
  15. krouget

    krouget Android Enthusiast

    Agreed. I leave wifi, bluetooth, and GPS on at all times, and combined, they contribute to very little use (so long as no app is constantly activating the latter). I've seen approximately ~6% usage across full drain cycles, which isn't worth the hassle of toggling on and off.
  16. Tim K

    Tim K Android Expert

    Agreed. I never turn Wifi off either because inevitably I forget to turn it back on. I don't think it accounts for any noticeable battery drain at all.
  17. jeeden

    jeeden Newbie

    So all of the sudden two nights ago my GPS started running non stop. I get the GPS target in the top will the white dot inside and the battery is getting killed.

    I have search all over the forums here and on the net and can find a few references to the issue, but no solutions. Anyone have any idea?

    Things to note:

    - I have tried tracking down which app is doing it, but can't seem to. I can get it to turn off when I uncheck location GPS services. I think maybe it is google maps?

    - No new app installs around time of change

    - Multiple reboots, hard and soft, no change

    - Uninstalled google maps and reinstalled, no change

    - Stock phone and no root

    Like I said, I have it off now with GPS services unchecked, but I like to leave the services on so the app can use then without me turning them on. Usually the apps turn them back off when done. I am trying to avoid factory reset here because it is such a pain to remake all the folders, accounts, etc and get the phone back the way I want it.

    Appreciate any help.
  18. LoBatt

    LoBatt Android Enthusiast

    Try removing your widgets one at a time then reboot after each one is removed and see if you can locate a widget which is the culprit.
  19. jeeden

    jeeden Newbie

    Thanks for the help.

    I don't have many widgets. I have google play, beautiful widgets and 3 traffic widgets. I deleted the traffic widgets and rebooted as you said. Now I get the GPS crosshairs/circle at the top without the white dot in the middle and the notification says "searching for GPS"

    Will try dumping beautiful widgets
  20. jeeden

    jeeden Newbie

    So I dumped beautiful widgets off the desktop and still have the hollow gps crosshairs.

    I have read conflicting things so can someone confirm for me that the crosshairs without a dot inside means GPS is off and with the dot is on? If so I guess the traffic widgets went wacky for some reason, I have used them forever with no problem.

    I don't recall (and the same model phone my wife has doesn't show) the GPS crosshairs in the notification bar without an app using gps, but some posts have said it should be there the whole time.
  21. Outatime

    Outatime Android Expert

    The compass without the dot means the GPS is on and is searching for your location. The dot means you're locked on.

    This is just a thought. I had experienced something similar when I DL'd "Where's My Droid" and tested it. I was inside at the time and the GPS couldn't lock, and I couldn't get it to stop searching. So I uninstalled the app and did a battery pull, which fixed it. I don't know if that helps you or not, but just something I thought of.
  22. jeeden

    jeeden Newbie

    I do have where's my droid installed. I'll try dumping that as well and see what it does.

    I know it is kind of stupid when I can just toggle my GPS, but I'm crazy and like it to work the way it should :)
  23. jeeden

    jeeden Newbie

    hmm, yanked out where's my droid and rebooted with a battery pull. Now the GPS indicator is blinking (I'm indoors at work).

    Can't understand what could be using the GPS. I looked in the apps using battery and nothing shows it is using GPS. I wish there was an app that would show you what is accessing the GPS.
  24. Tim K

    Tim K Android Expert

    I would try this. Go into Menu>apps>running. Start 'killing' apps until the gps icon goes away. Then you know your cause.

    Obviously, kill downloaded apps first and try to avoid killing phone services.
  25. NJSmoke

    NJSmoke Member
    Thread Starter

    By the way I have decided to leave everything on even sync and just adjusting the apps that use sync. The only option i am going to leave of is the auto brightener. And so far it hasn't appeared to cause that much of a battery problem.

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The Galaxy Nexus release date was November 2011. Features and Specs include a 4.65" inch screen, 5MP camera, 1GB RAM, TI OMAP 4460 processor, and 1750mAh battery.

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