Another question is, does it need to locate you as accurately as it does? The answer is, probably not. Your phone could be working hard to determine where in the world you are down to the nearest few meters, but is this just a waste of processing power and battery life? Most of the time, yes.
When you want to use the navigation facilities of Google Maps and need turn-by-turn directions to get somewhere, then your phone needs to work out your location to a high degree of accuracy. If it is a few metres out, you could easily miss a turning, for instance.
When you are out running or cycling and using your phone to map the route you take, measure the distance and record the time, you need it to be accurate. Sloppy mapping just won't do.
The rest of the time, which is probably the majority of the time, your phone does not need such accurate location information. Does it really need to know exactly where you are when you are sleeping? When you are sitting at your desk at work all day, does it really need to know which desk you are sat at or is it sufficient to know which building you are in?
By reducing the accuracy of the location information you can reduce the workload on the phone and this extends the battery life. I will use a Samsung Galaxy S4 as an example, but other Android phones should be similar.
Pull down from the top and tap the gear icon to go to Settings. Select the More tab and tap Location.
A list of the apps that have requested your location is displayed, but what we are interested in is the Mode setting at the top. It says High accuracy.
Tap the Mode setting and there are three options: High accuracy, Power saving and GPS only. Select the Power saving option. This does not use GPS, which uses a lot of power, and instead it uses nearby Wi-Fi and mobile phone networks to locate you. This is less accurate, but who cares?
Your battery will now last longer. Don’t forget to switch back to high accuracy when you need turn-by-turn directions or when you are about to set off on a run.
- Written by mike-j
- Created: 04 August 2014