Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?

Nowadays, hardly anyone can find their way around without resorting to services such as Google and Apple Maps. Whether on foot or in the car, the simple navigation services make it easy to find your way around. Social media apps like Instagram and Facebook need your location services turned ON should you want to geotag your posts. What about ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft?

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 are 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?

Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?

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?

That tells you many apps monitor your movements, consuming your battery when your phone location, internet, WLAN, and/or Bluetooth are turned on.

While the GPS chip in your phone can’t send signals, it constantly receives signals to triangulate your exact location.

And being in an area with a weak signal and having your location services enabled can drain your smartphone battery much more than in an area with a strong signal.

The location data is retrieved at the operating system level as often as possible and as much as possible. But if you – for example – have two navigation apps running, just capturing the location needs as much power as a single navigation app.

But there are different intensities of location tracking, from loose radio mast triangulation to rough GPS values ​​to precise GPS values.

If you’re sharing your live location on Whatsapp and it constantly asks for an exact location, it will consume much power. On the other hand, if a route recording app such as My Tracks runs simultaneously, which only queries the approximate location every 1-2 minutes, it “swims along” with the exact queries from WhatsApp.

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.

How to Disable Location Services on iPhones and Androids

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.

How to disable location services on your iPhone

  1. Go to your iOS Settings and select the menu item Privacy.
  2. Next, select the Location Services option.
Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?
  • 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.
Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?


  • 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

How to turn off Android location

  • Swipe down from the top edge of your phone to see your quick settings.
  • Tap the pin icon to turn your location off.
Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?
  • 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.
Does Location Services Drain Battery on iPhones and Androids?

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.

Read also: Why Is My Location Wrong on My Android Phone?

Things to Confirm Before Enabling Location Services for Any App

As I mentioned, not all apps need your location data to perform their functions. So, here are some things to confirm before enabling location services to any app during permission requests.

1.    Does it need your location data?

First, confirm if the app needs location services to function. Also, you should know the kind of services that use location services. These can be online services accessible via your browsers such as Google or Facebook and numerous (mobile) apps for navigation.

Mobile apps often ask for the user’s location, although this is irrelevant for the desired service. So instead, many app operators secretly transmit the location data to third parties without the consent of the person concerned. The data are then used, for example, to tailor advertising to the current location.

Advertisers worldwide invest more than half (51%) of their advertising budgets in location-based marketing. This was revealed in the Global Location Trend Report from the Location Based Marketing Association (LBMA). Also, 89% of marketers are said to boost their sales with location data. However, these are detrimental to users’ privacies and user experience.

2.    Check for compliance with data protection regulation

How can you tell whether providers use location data to comply with data protection regulations and laws? For a user to be able to know whether a provider is processing their location data per data protection regulations or not, they must know the requirements for this. The most important questions are:

  • Is there a legal basis? Does the provider use anonymized data or get informed consent?
  • Does the provider have a privacy policy?
  • Do they clarify the type of data they collect? Do they explain the purpose, possible transfer to third parties, and deletion of the data?
  • After giving consent, is it possible to delete the app or temporarily deactivate it?
  • Does the provider indicate their active location (headquarters or head office)?

A check on the privacy policies and a few Google searches can help answer these questions.

3.    Don’t enable location services for suspicious apps

Don’t enable location services for any app that you didn’t install by yourself. Someone may have installed a location tracker or spy app on your phone to watch your movements and everything you do on the phone.

So, you should have a security app installed on your phone. This can be anti-malware or antivirus software. This could notify you whenever anyone or an online process discretely installs an app on your phone to track you. Finally, I don’t advise enabling location services for apps downloaded outside the Google Play and Apple App stores.

Read also: How to Ping a Phone to Find Its Location