You’d be surprised how many apps check where you are every day. But it is even more astonishing that only a few need your location data. One quickly feels that almost every app would like to know your current location.
Yes, you’re right to be worried about how safe your private data is in the hands of these location-based services. But that’s a topic for another day. The question for today is, do location services drain battery on iPhones and Androids?
Do Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones?
Although Apple and Google are designing their operating systems to minimize access to location services, turning ON your phone location services will drain the battery quite faster. If you agree that leaving your WiFi or WiFi hotspot turned ON drains your battery, then we should all agree that all location services drain battery power.
Yes, the battery draining isn’t supposed to be significant. But if you have apps that use location services running in the background, your battery pays heavily for it!
And take note, when I mean apps “running in the background,” it doesn’t necessarily mean apps you had open. So, for example, have you ever gone out one day, and when you returned, Google Maps sent you notifications to review that place you visited without having the app opened?
Note: Location services are not limited to your GPS (Location feature). These include your WLAN, NFC, Bluetooth, Internet access, and mobile data networks. But your GPS or Location on your phone is a feature that directly handles your phone location.
How Much Battery Does Location Services Use?
Location services or apps that use your phone’s GPS can reduce your battery life by 13% when they’re actively used and you’re in a place with good signal strength. However, your location services can drain up to 38% of your battery if you’re in an area with weak signal strength.
You can put this to the test by traveling by road with your phone location, internet; WiFi turned ON, and navigation service in use.
Your GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth all work using built-in chips in your phone that are powered by your battery. When you turn OFF your location service, the corresponding chip stops working, increasing phone battery durability. This can mean a battery charge durability of around 10 to 30 percent.
The location and tracking functions consume a lot of battery power. It must, however, be said that GPS and other location services are getting better with new smartphone models. In addition, iOS and Android are improving how apps can update the location in the background.
I recommend turning OFF your Location when GPS-based services are not in use. This is for privacy and battery longevity reasons. So, I’ll explain how you can disable your location services on iPhone and Android devices.
- Go to your iOS Settings and select the menu item Privacy.
- Next, select the Location Services option.
- Select a specific app you want to turn off location service for.
- Finally, turn Precise Location off. You can now determine when it can access your location.
- For iOS 13 and iPadOS 13 users, there’s an option to set Location Services to Always or one-time access, that is, Allow Once. However, few apps need the While Using the App option apart from navigation software or possible transmission of live locations via WhatsApp.
- If you choose the Ask next time option, a dialog box will pop up while using the associated app as soon as it tries to access your location. If you select Allow once, you can grant access permissions on a case-by-case basis.
- Finally, you can look at the location usage of Apple’s system services. You can find this by scrolling down to the bottom of the app list and selecting System Services.
- Some location permissions are very useful here – for example, for the “Find my iPhone” function or for the mobile network search. However, most users can safely do without “location-based Apple Ads.”
Read also: How to Change Voice on Apple Maps
- Swipe down from the top edge of your phone to see your quick settings.
- Tap the pin icon to turn your location off.
- Swipe left and right or scroll up to ensure your Bluetooth, WiFi, and hotspot are not turned on when not in use.
- You can also tap and hold the Location icon to see which apps have recently accessed your location.
You can block location access for individual apps from here. You’d need location turned on to block location access for individual apps. Then tap and hold on location, tap on the app you want to restrict, select Permissions, and tap Deny.
- If you can’t find the location icon, as shown above, go to your Settings and tap location. You may find the item under Settings > Data and security > Privacy > Location.
Passionate about technology and communication, I’m more comfortable writing about the key trends in business-to-business software-as-a-service (B2B SaaS). I’m a generalist with interests in journalism, DIY and outdoor. You can always reach me on Twitter and LinkedIn. Learn more about tekpip and the team here on our about us page.